Zamrooda Khanday, the CEO of aidbees joined the company around three years ago. She comes from a social work background, and kindness is a quality that she has always grown up with. She was immediately attracted to joining aidbees when she saw that, through the company, she could encourage people to make kindness a habit.
Team Sociobits connected with the CEO of aidbees to learn more about the company and how it is making kindness a daily habit.
Team Sociobits: Could you tell us a little about aidbees?
Zamrooda Khanday: Firstly, I would like to clarify two things: we are not COVID babies, and we are also not an NGO. We are a Pvt. Ltd. company and the very reason that I clarified this is because it distinguishes us from our competitors.
Around three years ago, our founders Rashmie and Ashwini Kumar, got to thinking about whether there is a space or community that talks about or shares the good things or good deeds that people do. Facebook and Instagram come close, but the problem is that Facebook often displays too many results and options, which jumbles everything and hence removes the “goodness factor” from things. On the other hand, Instagram was primarily for pictures. So, the idea was to do something similar that would promote acts of kindness.
If you are wondering why we want to promote a site dedicated to sharing acts of kindness, then you must have realized that the common belief is that when we actually talk about any good thing, it loses its value. We at aidbees don’t believe this. We believe that the more you talk about something good that you have done, seen, or heard, the more you have the capability to inspire other people around you, and that is what we are trying to amplify through aidbees.
We believe that the more you talk about something good that you have done, seen, or heard, the more you have the capability to inspire other people around you, and that is what we are trying to amplify through aidbees.
Team Sociobits: Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your startup?
CEO: Ashwini, Rashmi, and I (the founders) got together in January 2019, and I wasn’t sure where our conversation would go, but shortly after, in March 2019, we started out with aidbees. Unfortunately, soon after we started, the pandemic hit us. Luckily we had already started working towards our initiative, and now, two years down the line we are ready with our product. I am happy to say that aidbees has been functional and available in the market for one and a half years.
It took some time to organize everything, get the website live, create our social media pages, etc., but today we are ready, and now you can find anything and everything related to social kindness at aidbees.
Team Sociobits: What exactly do you mean by “social kindness”?
CEO: When I say “social kindness,” it could be any good work that you do on a daily basis. This could be as simple as smiling at someone who may need a smile that day. Often when we talk about charity work, we assume that it takes a lot of effort, and it does, but that effort is in our minds and not in our hands. For us, social kindness is simple acts like sharing a coffee or sending a positive WhatsApp message, and it doesn’t necessarily have to involve spending lakhs of dollars. If we start doing small acts of kindness on a regular basis, we can make a lot more of a difference in the world as compared to spending tonnes of money once in our lifetime. I am sure not everyone would agree with this, but I feel kindness is something that has to be a habit. It has to come naturally to people.
Team Sociobits: What exactly are you offering at aidbees?
CEO: When you visit the aidbees website, you will come across four different aspects: sharing, donations, volunteering, and the marketplace. Sharing is simply sharing stories or acts of kindness and inspiring other people on the platform. We also have the live pages of 50+ NGOs on the platform. You can see and explore their work, and if you feel like you want to contribute to it, you can donate both cash and in kind. We do not hold an account for the cash to come in; it goes directly to the NGOs’ account.
We have another feature that allows you to volunteer your time or your skills. We do look at promoting skills more than time because a lot of NGOs need skills more than they need time. Often, when NGOs allocate resources or make projects, they don’t have allocations for photographers, content writers, or lawyers, and they usually need them. So, if people from these professions can devote even an hour a week to it, it is a great help to them.
Lastly, we are trying to create a marketplace where NGOs can sell their products through our website. We are still building it, and we have six NGOs showcasing their products, but soon we will incorporate more products and advertise them freely.
Team Sociobits: Who are the competitors of aidbees?
CEO: If you look at each aspect or feature that we offer, there is Better India, Humans of Bombay, etc., who share stories on social kindness and are doing a wonderful job. Sometimes we do share our stories with each other. Similarly, there is Volunteer for volunteering, Keto and GiveIndia for raising funds, and I would say Amazon for the marketplace (I’d love to be their competitor!). But you won’t get all of this in one place, and that’s where aidbees comes in.
Team Sociobits: Could you point out any of the major challenges that you have faced and how has your journey been with the company?
CEO: So far, we have been lucky that we have not faced a lot of major challenges apart from the usual challenges that every startup faces. Yes, we are facing certain challenges with respect to the revenue because, in the end, it’s important.
Talking about my journey, I have to say that my founders took a big punt with me! As I mentioned, I come from a social work background, and I have worked as a researcher for most of my career. I headed a couple of NGOs too, and later, when I spoke to my founders, we clicked on ideologies, beliefs, and ideas. Apart from this, this was a new job for me because social media to me was Facebook and email! You cannot imagine the kind of challenges I faced in setting up a tech-based company, but it has been a learning curve. I still won’t say that I have learned everything. I learn something new every day, and this has been challenging as well as joyful for me. At the age of 50, I have learned something, and I think my personal growth has been amazing.
Team Sociobits: What are the future plans of aidbees?
CEO: As I mentioned, we want to make kindness a daily habit, and we want to reach a place where nobody is hesitant to do something good and share it. I can say from personal experience that it is hard for people to do something good and talk about it. Often, I end up saying, “Why are you talking about it?” even though I want to change this. If we can manage to change this, I think that we will have achieved a lot. I know it will take time since it’s a behavioral change, but I would be looking to make it happen.
I can say from personal experience that it is hard for people to do something good and talk about it. Often, I end up saying, “Why are you talking about it?” even though I want to change this. If we can manage to change this, I think that we will have achieved a lot.
aidbees is striving every day to see a kinder world. On their platform, the company is offering a one-stop solution for “kindness,” which is definitely the need of the hour. Beginning to do one kind act every day will inculcate kindness within our hearts naturally, and we can be looking to do that through aidbees.