Kupwara boy pens book on crowd funding

Irfan Bashir Shah from Lolab area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district has written his debut book on crowd funding.

According to the author, the 304-pages book ‘Crowdfunding: The Story of People’ is a data-driven storytelling approach to capture the impact and potential of crowd funding in a world governed by inequality.

“It does so while maintaining a constant grip on both micro and macro perspectives of collective giving, social collaboration and financial inclusion,” he said.

Irfan was born in Lolab valley of Kupwara district but completed his schooling up to class 10th from Burn Hall Higher Secondary School after his family shifted to Srinagar. He did his 10+2 from Delhi Public School, Athwajan.

“After completing my schooling in 2013, I took a year off and opted for a few internships. The year I took off made me realise my love for writing. I interned for Kashmir Scan news magazine. The assignments and stories I covered there helped me familiarise myself with the ground realities of Kashmir,” he said.

During his internship period, Irfan got selected in the University of Rochester on full scholarship to pursue Bachelor’s degree in Financial Economics under the programme ‘Quantitative Economics and Econometric Analysis’. About his idea of selecting the topic, Irfan said the idea was born while he was working at Ketto when he developed curiosity to know and understand about online crowd funding.

“To my surprise, I couldn’t find a single book from India that covered the social impact of online crowd funding,” he said. “I reached out to Ravnia Banze, my colleague at Ketto and both of us began working on the book.”

During COVID19 pandemic, Irfan decided to return to Kashmir and started to invest more time for writing the book.

“We decided to experiment with a new style of writing, using data-driven stories to measure the micro and macro level impact of crowd funding in India and across the world,” he said. “We analysed hundreds of research papers, consulted industry experts, scanned through countless newspaper articles, talked to NGOs and crowd funding platforms and crunched data as well.”

Irfan said that they contacted both the national and international crowd funding platforms to get data from them. “It took us three months of research and planning plus eight months of writing and data analysis to bring the book to life,” he said.

Irfan said his book ‘Crowdfunding: The Story of People’ is an achievement and a path-breaking book that envisions the crowd as future change makers who can positively impact the world through their collective efforts.

“The book is about finding strength in numbers and the belief that change is driven by the collective determination of the people,” he said.

Irfan said his book had got positive reviews from industry leaders across India.

“The foreword of the book is written by VarunSheth, the CEO and co-founder of Ketto,” he said.

Besides writing his book, Irfan has received various scholarship grants which include Joseph C Wilson Change Scholarship, Rochester National Grant and Rochester International Grant.

“I also bagged the first prize in the university’s anti-racism video contest and also received Student Life Award for Creative Co-Sponsorship for conducting a panel on Islamophobia,” he said. Irfan also served as the member of the Debate Union at the University of Rochester and has competed in universities like Cornell University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, University of Vermont and Yale University.

“After graduating from the University of Rochester, I came back to Kashmir and decided to travel for a few weeks to learn more about Indian culture,” he said.

Irfan got a job at Ketto, one of South Asia’s largest crowd funding companies as an executive for content and strategy. “Within three months of joining, I received the ‘Rising Star’ of the company award for my efforts and dedication,” he said.