- Fuel A Dream is a Bangalore-based crowdfunding platform.
- Ranganath Thota spearheads the platform offering help with funding and mentorship.
Startups or tech innovations in India usually follow the successful US model. And, we could say the same about crowdfunding. Though crowdfunding is at a nascent stage in India, the evolution of scale and size in the US is massive. Fuel A Dream has already raised roughly 3 crores for 80 projects in the past 11 months, and has tried to strike a balance between innovations and charity.
Thota comes with over 20 years of corporate experience and has worked with some of the biggest names including Pepsico, WhirlPool, Hindustan Times, among others. Prior to Fuel a Dream, he had also founded Golfgaga. "We fund ideas and innovations, and charity causes. It is a new journey every day. We meet people doing some brilliant work each day," Thota said.
However, crowdfunding is still at nascent stage in India, and clearly lacks awareness. There are many innovators who are unaware about the existence of crowdfunding. There are other key factors, according to Thota, such as transparency and accountability. At Fuel A Dream, the team has to gauge if the innovators can deliver the product as promised to consumers and utilise the funds efficiently, while maintaining transparency and accountability.
One of its notable projects is the Tiffy Template, a device to help visually impaired distinguish between a genuine and a fake note. Paul D'souza, a resident of Bengaluru has invented the device to help his visually impaired friend, and later started building it in limited quantities. Fuel A Dream helped him build it on a larger scale, reducing the cost to merely ₹2 per unit.
Another project is the Spero electric bike. It is said to be India’s first crowdfunded bike. Built by S Manikandan, who worked on it for about 3 years, it is described as an ‘urban commute vehicle with zero carbon footprints, saving fuel costs and easing the congestion on the roads.’
On the other hand, Sygnal, an innovative smart t-shirt is also being crowdfunded. The T-shirt teams up with an app serving as a pedometer, and offering fitness info like the calories you’ve burnt. It also helps you navigate and instructs direction with vibrations on the shoulder.
Talking about social causes, Fuel A Dream has helped farmers from Maharashtra built an 8km canal. For instance, people could come with great tech perspective, but may not necessarily understand marketing, building a brand, pricing and logistics. So, the platform serves as a mentor.
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Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:50 PM IST