A dropout from Rutgers University who is solving world’s blood crisis.
Posted: Dec 03, 2015
Karthik Naralasetty always had an entrepreneurial spark in him. "If you are not making someone else’s life better then you’re wasting your time." This quote by Will Smith is mentioned on Karthik’s website called Socialblood which is a platform that connects blood banks and blood donors via social media. And isn’t it a befitting quote for an entrepreneur, an entrepreneur’s real purpose is to make a difference in people’s life.
Karthik Naralasetty in 2009 dropped out of Rutgers University, U.S to do his own thing. Back then he did not fathom that he would ever end up creating a platform that could have the ability to make a positive and potential difference to its consumers. It was in 2011 when he came across an article in a newspaper about a young girl from Karnataka, who was suffering from a disease called ‘Thalassemia.’ She needed 30 units of blood every month, just to survive and lead a normal life. This was the moment when the entrepreneur in Karthik was awakened and immediately he decided to solve this global problem.
His first step when he created Socialblood was to leverage the reach that social media has created. So he created eight Facebook groups for each blood type and invited his friends to join each group. And within a months time staggering 10,000 people started using these groups. Soon Socialblood moved out from Facebook groups and became a single platform where blood donors and blood seekers could transact.
It was November 2011 when he was invited by the Staples and Asoka Foundation to present the business model to the likes of Sean Parker, the Napster fame. He advised him that if he wanted to create a sustainable impact he can’t work on it as a part time gig. That’s the time when Karthik jumped into it with both feet. He launched Socialblood first in India but sooner realised that there was stronger revenue model in the U.S for this platform. In his own words Karthik says, "The fundamental difference between India and the U.S. is that in the U.S., by law, the hospitals should not ask the patient’s family to identify blood donors. They partner with blood banks, which always have a stock of blood, and through a software process, source it when needed, Whereas, in India, when a patient is in need of blood, it is the family’s responsibility to source it."
Socialblood focuses on connecting blood donors to blood seekers in India and for U.S they are developing tools to connect blood banks to Hospitals. They are also in the process of developing Facebook tools, to improve connectivity between Hospitals, donors and blood banks. The company has till date raised two rounds of funding from lead investor Rajan Anandan of Google, who brought some distinguished mentors and investors on the advisory panel of Socialblood like Ravi Gururaj – VP Citrix, Karthik Reddy – Blume Ventures, and Ramesh Kumar Shah of Harvard Angels.
Karthik wants to develop these essential tools via Sociablood so that he can capitalise on the African and Asia-Pacific Market. His ultimate aim is to make Socialblood a Global one-stop platform by creating the largest database of blood banks, hospitals, donors and blood seekers. We wish him all the best in his journey.