Anshula Kapoor, daughter of Boney Kapoor and sister of actor Arjun Kapoor, has launched her entrepreneurial venture Fankind. She talks to Smitha Verma about her fundraising platform, business plans and challenges ahead of her.
What was the idea behind launching Fankind?
The long-term dream was always to be my own boss, but it took me a long time to have the courage to actually figure out what makes me happy. The core of Fankind is to spread happiness and that was the original seed of the idea. It is a one of a kind, unique online fundraising platform which aims at bringing together celebrities, fans and charity. The idea sprouted from two basic observations: one being the enormous amounts of love and admiration fans have for celebrities and second, the urge to help the community.
Did you always want to do something related to Bollywood? Or is Fankind just the beginning?
Yes, we're starting our journey with Bollywood personalities and a YouTube sensation, but the goal is to offer experiences with sportspeople, fashion designers, chefs, artists, entrepreneurs... We have a feature on the website where our users and friends of the brand have been suggesting experiences with celebrities they want to meet. The submissions are a great insight into how our users identify with and define celebrities, and how varied the definition of being a fan can be. I am exploring opportunities to expand further and be able to offer an even larger variety of experiences that may not be limited to celebrities. And to support more NGOs.
How does Fankind work?
We work with the celebrity to offer an experience they are happy to share with a fan and attach that to a charity of their choosing. Once the experience is live on our website, all the fans have to do is transact and buy an entry for Rs.300 (the majority of the proceeds from each transaction will go to charity). At the end of the campaign, a third party randomisor selects the winner and we begin the process of making his/her dream come true. 70 per cent of the proceeds from each experience are directly donated to charity and our philanthropy partner Give India shares an 80G receipt with the user.
Does being part of Bollywood make your work easier?
I've taken the same route almost all brands have to take reaching out to the agencies, getting the first conversation to pitch to the celebrity, etc. At the end of the day if you want a celebrity's time, there is a process in place and everyone must follow the same rules. My early conversations with celebrities actually didn't work out, and that is completely acceptable.
What are the challenges of being a woman entrepreneur?
I see myself as a first time entrepreneur, and not a female entrepreneur. I was always second-guessing my every decision and it took me a while to recognise it, see how counterproductive it can be, and then follow my gut. But that can only be learned with experience and a few fumbles.
How many celebs have you collaborated with so far?
The first few campaigns will be with Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Sonakshi Sinha and YouTuber Prajakta Koli.
Would you also be looking at roping in international celebs?
Our current focus remains on trying to bring role models, celebrities and influencers form across India onto the platform, but yes I would absolutely love to have international celebrities come on board too.