Anushka Jain, with her venture Share At Door Step (SADS), aims to address the gap between donors and the NGO’s. Anushka even after having a degree like B.tech broke the traditional notions of Indian society of opting a mainstream job and started her own venture which gave her flourishing results. SADS currently supports more than 100 NGOs and have spread happiness to more than 1 Lakh people. It has a donor base of more than 40k households till date and have 5 corporate partners.
1. What was the inspiration behind this business idea?
I love to tinker around with things and figuring out new uses for them. Unlike other girls of my age who were keen on getting that Britney Spears dress, I was looking at how to make a business of selling those dresses. Some of the cookies from my idea factory were mitigating Forest fires through efficient production of pine needles briquettes, moving customized theaters and party vans, mobile as a UV protector using technology used in spaceships etc. So it was in my mind forever,I guess!
2. What was the tipping point/inspiration that led you to start SADS?
My mother used to donate clothes and toys to NGOs on my birthday. I used to wonder why we do this once a year only. I thought my mom was either busy or very lazy. But the real reason was that there was no easy way to make Non-Monetary Donations. When we were kids, parents would tell us don’t talk to strangers and never sit in a stranger’s car. 15 years fast forward, today we call strangers and get into their cars to go to the office, shopping, etc and we call it Uber. This transformation was catalyzed by a platform which could match needs of people who wanted a service (NGOs that want donation of specific items), people who could provide the service (donate stuff in our case) and TRUST which guarantees both parties peace of mind and satisfaction.To fill this Gap between the donors and NGOs. Hence, I started SADS.
3. Why did you choose to start SADS as a social enterprise and not as a non-profit or an NGO?
I personally felt that to bring the youth to the Give Back movement, we need to make it more sexy and closer to something they could understand. People remember the “Daag Achhe Hain”, “Jaago Re” and “Buland Bharat ki Buland Tasveer, Hamara Bajaj” because those brands resonated with people’s daily lives. India is a society which has the nature of doing good and sharing in our value system. We wanted to leverage that and give an avenue for people and brands to give back to the society.
4. Are you a first-generation entrepreneur? If yes, was it difficult to convince your family?
I grew up in a family where entrepreneurship is a term new to everyone. It was difficult to convince my parents that following your dreams and starting up a social venture is better than an MBA and marriage route. I don’t think my parents are still convinced with what I do or even understand the business model, but I am sure one day they would. This is one area I want to work on and I hope I am soon able to explain it better to my parents. They only have their good at their heart and sometimes I feel, it’s similar to the case – when as a kid I was be scared to jump into a swimming pool, my dad would tell me to have faith and dive in. I need to gain that level of trust from my parents so that they would be with me in my startup journey.
5. Tell us briefly about what SADS does? What is its working model?
SADS provides doorstep donation pickup for non-monetary donations and partners with brands for marketing initiatives. It works the same way for non-monetary donations as Zomato works for food. The user goes to the site, puts his location, the NGOs (which are SADS’s partners) are listed with their requirements. if the user finds the requirement of donations, he wants to donate in the list, he can schedule a pickup or else he can opt for “SADS fulfilled” option where we take care of delivering the donation items to the right non-profit. SADS messengers ( the prime change makers) also organize collection drives in societies, schools and offices to fulfill the needs of the Non-profits. Each time a donor donates something, he/she receives a gift from a socially inclined brand as a ‘gesture of thanks’ for making a difference. This not only motivates the donor but also creates an emotional bond between the brand and the donor.
6. Can you share a few real-life examples?
An old fridge from a hostel is now used at Mobility India to store chemicals used to make walking aids for differently abled people, a treadmill that was barely used by the donor is now used for therapy of kids and the old story books are now being used in a library for special kids bringing smiles on so many faces daily.
7. What kind of challenges did you face in the initial days and how have the challenges evolved?
Since SADS is a venture first of its kind, it was difficult to prove to – the first NGO partners, the initial donors, the first corporate – that this can really work. I believed that Action speaks louder than words. When Non-Profits saw a spike in their donations, donors fell in love with us and corporate saw value in our business proposition, we knew we have hit our first milestone. As we scaled up, the equation of demand and supply became more complex. The challenge was to create a seamless and easy to understand on boarding process for NGOs. Since most of the NGOs still rely on manual processes for their day-to- day work, a technological shift was required to make the dealings automated and smooth.
8. What are some of the immediate future plans for SADS?
Our target is to expand in 4-6 cities in next one year. In terms of offering, we plan to start SADS fulfilled donation pickups and Express pickups in next few months. On logistics side, we want to add third party market place such as GrabIn and Blowhorn for an easy management and on technology side we plan to build a better prediction and matching algorithm.
Anushka Jain’s Story by Yourstory.