Manan Khanna, Student & Co-Founder of DEasyy Donation Platform – An Artificial Intelligence and Video-based Mobile Application for the social cause.
Manan, a student of DPS, RK Puram, Delhi has been working on this initiative with his team for last 1 and a half years now and at present few pilot deployments are being done in some Gurgaon locations with reference NGOs.
As part of a social service initiative, Manan has ideated and implemented one “DEasyy Donation Platform.
DEasyy is an AI/ML based donation platform, created with a vision to help millions of underprivileged people by making donating a comfortable experience for interested donors with a Media(video/audio) based trust proof system and door-step pickups.
One of the other key features is SOS (emergency alert). If any poor person or family needs urgent help in terms of expensive medicines, blood, etc., this platform can be used by recipient PoCs to trigger SOS which will be received by all the people registered to this platform and hence can offer help immediately.
The DEasyy App is launched in April 2022 and now available on Playstore and Appstore for donors and NGOs to use
Ongoing Pilot deployments and efforts:
- Few pilot developments are already done using DEasyy through drives (in association with some NGOs) in reference to Slum clusters of Gurgaon to help underprivileged people. Future drives are also planned.
- This initiative is now being launched at the society and school levels. Few drives are planned for this month.
At Sugermint Media, our aim is to bring to our entrepreneurs community some of the inspiring and motivational stories from the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
As part of this endeavour, we invited yet another entrepreneur Interview with Manan Khanna, Student & Co-Founder of DEassy, an AI Based Donation Platform for Social Causes for an exclusive interview with us.
Tell us a little about yourself
Manan Khanna: I am Manan Khanna and I am 17 years old, turning 18 in February 2023. I am currently studying in grade 12 at Delhi Public School RK Puram and I am due to go to college in the fall of 2023.
My father and mother both are IIT passed out and from Engineering backgrounds. My Father is an Assistant vice president in one of the MNCs and my mother is Associate Professor at a reputed university.
Over the years, I have been deeply involved in sports, music, trekking, debates (MUNs), blogs, etc. but one thing that touched me most and ultimately became my passion is to contribute part of my time to helping underprivileged people and give something back to society.
For this passion, my main influences have been my family values, the school motto “service before self”, a few NGOs selfless work, with whom I have worked on the ground for so many years now.
Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey
Manan Khanna: Through my experience as a member of a couple of NGOs over the years, I was exposed to ground challenges and real pain points and concluded that some of these ongoing social initiatives have very limited coverage because of a lack of trust and transparency among donors, time-consuming ecosystems, and lack of awareness about social needs.
I multiple times thought of doing something to help mitigate these challenges, but this all needed one trigger.
The trigger occurred in the form of a small incident when on one fine day I saw some stuff, including old clothes, toys, shoes, etc., lying in the common dustbin area of our campus which had probably been thrown out by someone as a waste.
This stuff looked reusable to me, and I thought why can’t this be donated to some needy people? Then I realized that maybe due to lack of time and absence of an easy-to-use trustworthy platform, people just throw such stuff rather than give it to someone who really needs it and can use it.
This incident triggered my prior understanding of current system limitations and my computer science background led to the idea of “DEasyy” – a trustworthy and easy-to-use donation platform for everyone involved in the ecosystem.
The main idea is to connect mass donors to end beneficiaries through NGOs and social associations to enable donations anytime from anywhere under multiple categories.
This is when the real journey started in December 2020. It has been a very interesting journey full of challenges, ups, and downs, exploration, research, time-to-time on-field feedback, creation of a team, funding, and launching of the product.
This has not been easy at all but in the end a successful one and more importantly well received by everyone around. Below is the brief snapshot of this one-and-a-half-year DEasyy journey (Refer to www.deasyy.com for details):
Worked on the conceptualization and brainstormed end-to-end idea feasibility with mentors (from Industry, school, and social service organizations)
- Research & Publication:
Did research/PoC on this idea/concept and wrote one research paper which got selected and published in IEEEXplore in 2022 6th International Conference on Computing Methodologies and Communication (ICCMC). I presented this at the same conference as well and got excellent feedback and interest.
Link to research paper: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9753693
- Requirement analysis and Roadmap creation
Presented the idea and research to a few organizations through contacts and got small funding from one MNC for setting up a team for product development
- Team built-up:
Considering the varied skill experience required to develop the DEasyy platform, Team was set up in a couple of months including the hiring of 3-4 contractors (using MNC funding) and like-minded schoolmates on a voluntary basis.
- DEasyy development and testing:
The product was developed in small feature set buckets (as per roadmap definition) and continuously tested through sample test drives. It included both frontend and backend development both for donors and NGOs/associates contexts.
- Product Launch (Feb 2022):
Product Publishing of DEasyy App on Play Store and App Store
DEasyy App is available on Play Store and App Store for your reference.
- Pilot deployments and Drives
Multiple deployments were done in Gurgaon (Haryana) area through multiple drives in association with a couple of NGOs.
What service(s) or product(s) do you offer at DEasyy?
Manan Khanna: DEasyy is an end-to-end donation platform that connects mass donors and the representatives of NGOs (PoCs) seamlessly to help underprivileged people.
The DEasyy mobile application platform, which is available in both Appstore and Playstore, allows the donors to easily schedule their donations under multiple categories from their house directly and NGO’s representatives pick those donations as per scheduled time and deliver the same to end beneficiaries.
The end-to-end tracking of donations is done through video capture right from the time donors post-donation on the App to when NGO representatives finally deliver it to end beneficiaries.
The following features are offered as part of the DEasyy App platform:
- Individual registration context for Donors and NGO representatives
- Authentication of Agency Representatives/Point-of-Contacts
- Support of multiple donation categories including Food/Ration, Clothes, Footwear, Books/Stationery, Sports, Toys, Furniture, Phone/Computer, Birthday celebrations, etc.
- Birthday celebrations’ cake/snacks donation: allow donors to enable birthday party celebration of an underprivileged child/family
- Video-based capture at the time of posting and delivering
- Quality verification through the checklist
- Group/Bulk donations
- In-App donation calendar management
- Push Notifications
- Emergency alerts (SOS) for immediate medical needs (Blood/medicines)
What is unique about DEasyy?
Manan Khanna: DEasyy is the only platform that seamlessly and efficiently connects mass donors to end beneficiaries through intermediary associations/NGOs while establishing trust between all parties involved.
Here are some of the key and unique features of DEasyy which puts this platform way above the rest
- Establishing mutual trust between donors and NGOs/associations while providing donations to end beneficiaries (underprivileged people):
The donors were skeptical about the donations they used to make. They had no way of knowing whether their donations are reaching the right people.
Tracking the donation through DEasyy App using the “picture/video” capture feature at the time of posting and at the time of donation delivery to the end beneficiary eliminates that problem. This reassures the donors that their donations are reaching the right people where they intended them to go.
- Enables donors to donate under multiple categories on one platform only including Food/Ration, Clothes, Footwear, Books/Stationery, Sports, Toys, Furniture, Phone/Computer, etc.
- Support of scheduling a one-time or future periodic donations as per the availability calendar:
Such a friendly platform for donors where they can book the dates beforehand for periodic donations (e.g. monthly donations) and NGO associates plan to pick and distribute the same on that day itself.
- Quality check/verification of the scheduled donation
Donors need to tick the quality check-list before posting a donation which then can be verified by NGO/associate through that check-list and/or the picture taken
- SOS (Emergency Alerts) as per emergency needs of underprivileged people for e.g. NGO associate post an emergency need of Blood (of a specific blood group) on the App, and notification is received by all the donors who have the DEasyy App installed. The donors can then respond by showing their interest to donate blood which can save the life of these poor people as well.
- One beautiful feature of the DEasyy App is to celebrate underprivileged kids or family members’ birthdays virtually and bring smiles to their faces. NGO associates can mark future dates in the calendar as per underprivileged kids’ birthdays.
- The notifications will be received by all the registered donors and also birthday calendar can be seen by donors anytime. Based on the interest, donors can schedule birthday cake, snacks, gifts, etc. for that particular kid’s birthday.
- NGO will pick that birthday cake/snacks packet from the donor’s house and deliver it to the birthday kid’s family and will celebrate with them while capturing the video on the App. Donors can then see that video to virtually celebrating the same.
What made you choose this type of social service?
Manan Khanna: I have always been highly motivated to help the needy and underprivileged. The inequality prevalent in the world looks pretty unfair to me and thus I consider it my own duty to help those in need with whatever resources I can.
Following this, I became a member of a couple of NGOs, and through the groundwork and experience, I was able to pinpoint some problems that existed with the donation ecosystem.
I had developed an interest in coding in the computer science subject, since the start of high school. Having recognized the problem with the donation system, I could not help but think of a solution with respect to computer science itself. This made me realize that a problem like this would be best solved by a mobile application platform.
Thus, I chose this type of social service where my team could provide a platform for easy and trustable donation because it best solves the problem at a very large scale, and it interested me as well.
This initiative aided my interest in computer science and gave me a chance to collaborate with the NGOs in an efficient manner without causing a dynamic shift in the ecosystem of donations themselves.
What was your mission at the outset?
Manan Khanna: When I saw that due to a lack of trustable and easy platform, there were resources being wasted that could be easily reused, I just had one goal in mind, i.e. to minimalize the wastage and provide as much of the discarded resources to the needy.
For them, even these discarded things were like a blessing. My mission was to help these needy people so that they are made available the resources that they can reuse.
I and in fact, anyone in society cannot have enough capitals to help all the needy of this world, thus I decided to create a platform through which as many people could come together to aid the cause.
More donations will lead to more resources for the underprivileged which would increase their quality of living and make their lives easier than before.
That was my main mission at the outset; to give the underprivileged what they can use and help them better their lives.
How many employees in your organization?
Manan Khanna: I am currently leading a team of 10+ members which includes both on-ground and technical team members. I am also aided by 4 mentors including my father with a variety of industrial and social expertise.
What’s your NGO’s goals?
Manan Khanna: We are not an NGO, but a team contributing a transparent donation platform in the form of the DEasyy mobile app which connects mass donors to the underprivileged through NGOs.
The main goal of DEasyy is to provide the underprivileged with resources they can use. Instead of throwing away reusable stuff by people due to lack of time, they can be used by the needy.
For that goal, DEasyy provides a seamless platform for its users to use and easily donate while maintaining the trust factor.
Currently, the DEasyy platform is being used in Gurgaon (Haryana) region across multiple village clusters through targeted drives.
Considering excellent response, we have a roadmap in place to extend this first at the Delhi-NCR level and then at the pan-India level.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Manan Khanna: Throughout my DEasyy journey, I have faced several challenges and hurdles. Some of these were technical and some were operational.
- Initially, I tried to build this DEasyy system all by myself with the help of mentors but failed to complete even 10% of it in 2 months with my normal school studies. It is then I realized that to create this kind of professional system, I will need a varied skilled people team as I cannot learn everything by myself.
- At that time, I brought together a team of like-minded school friends who started working on this. But then I again failed to speed this up as my school friends were also facing the same challenge as I did earlier.
- Then I changed the strategy and contacted some known senior people in 3-4 MNCs to provide small funding to us so that we can hire a small team of contractors to develop the Deasyy App system. After a bit of hard work and luck, we got the funding we wanted and put together the required team to create a successful Application.
- Once, the video upload feature was not working properly and the video was not uploading to the cloud properly because of size and lag. The whole technical team, including me, tried to find a reason for that problem for about two weeks and still did not fix the problem.
- Eventually, we realized that the package we were using was not compatible with the other code. We had to accept our failure and then had to use a completely different package along with AI/ML features to repair the video upload feature.
- Initially, we tried to convince NGO partners and restaurant/hotel partners to talk about the DEasyy concept in theory only but failed to associate them with us.
- Then we realized that we would need to show them the real demo of the DEasyy App once it’s implemented which will give them a much better idea about its benefits and value add.
- Exactly that is what happened, in 6 months’ time when we showed them our first demo with a limited feature set, they immediately got interested and got associated.
What was the inspiration behind turning an entrepreneur?
Manan Khanna: The main inspiration for me is the feeling of gratification that I receive by the happy faces of the underprivileged.
Inequality is another thing that drives me to create and maintain a platform like DEasyy. The unfair distribution of resources motivates me to fulfill an undeclared duty to help those with fewer assets.
Computer science and coding as a whole have inspired me to practically apply the knowledge that I have, to deal with the problems in my immediate surroundings.
Being the first bystander to see the wastage of easily reusable stuff due to lack of convenience also inspired me. Waste for one is gold for another. I wanted to make the gold available to those who needed it.
A team full of technical experts has pushed me forward to look towards the final goal in mind irrespective of the hurdles needed to be overcome.
Key things to consider before starting DEasyy?
Manan Khanna: Following things were considered before starting DEasyy or during the course of the journey
- Idea vetting by discussing with senior mentors/experts, users on the ground, and other relevant stakeholders
- A like-minded and passionate team
- Technical expertise required
- Ease of adoption by the users
- Use cases and features
What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Manan Khanna: Mentioned earlier as part of failures.
Your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs
Manan Khanna: Look around your surroundings and you will find something you are passionate about.
Always trust your instincts and be confident/transparent in your idea and thoughts. Always be fair in your own assessment and keep challenging yourself as a critic.
Believe always in teamwork, the team can do wonders together which individual cannot even imagine. But as a leader never ever get insecure but establish yourself as a team man.
Go early into the market with small PoCs. Always test yourself and your idea from time to time by taking it to the ground and relevant audience. No harm in getting negative feedback and taking corrective measures then and there only.
- Operate in a planned manner by creating proper roadmaps and mini milestones.
- Plan early for budget/funding right after the conceptualization phase.
- Never put any success boundaries for yourself.
- Last but not least Do not stop, till you achieve your ultimate goal!
|Are you an
Entrepreneur or Startup?
Do you have a Success Story to Share?
SugerMint would like to share your success story.
We cover entrepreneur Stories, Startup News, Women entrepreneur stories, and Startup stories