Origins of Quadrobay

I had been skeptical of social entrepreneurism. A typical business tries to maximize return on the capital invested. Isn’t this the premises of capitalism? Where does greater good for the society come into picture? That was then, now I am in middle of the startup saga of Quadrobay and my perspective has changed.

It was another hot summer day in Chennai. I was sitting in the shades of the mango tree at my home and was reading a magazine when I saw a man in his mid to late 50s walking towards my home. He looked lean and tired. There were gray facial hair reminding us of very many battles he has seen his life. I was relieved to see him wearing sandals and my immediate concern about Chennai’s heat subsidized considerably. He came to our home and asked my mom for some work in our garden. My mom sent him away saying that there was no work.

I thought that we should give him some work, just because he took the effort to walk in the scorching sun to get some work. My mom brushed me off and we argued about this for 30 minutes or so. Few days passed by and I could hear my mom complaining about how old she was and she needs help to clean the home and nobody was available to give her a helping hand. I thought of the man from other day who was much younger and fitter than my mom and could have done this easy. I was ready to employ him for a day or so but we had no clue where to find him. My mom was still arguing that she can’t let stranger inside the house. They might kill her and rob the house.

What bothered me was that
• Why should a person walk in the scorching sun looking for some work
• Why should a lady staying alone be so fearful of getting help even though the fear is very much valid
• What is the point in being the leaders in technology and billions and billions of $$ in foreign reserve when we can’t make a fast substantive positive difference in the lives of masses.

I looked at the whole situation as an in efficiency in supply meeting the demand or inefficiency in the supply chain. I soon realized from discussions with my friends that mine was not an outlier and many of them had experienced/observed variations of similar story. There is definitely an opportunity to make a difference without becoming parasite kind of an agent.

When we discussed the idea of helping the situation with technology, the biggest question asked was where would profits come from? These are $10- $30 txn, why would they come to us or use technology. Even if they come where are the margins? It was really frustrating for me.

I really do not care. There is an urge within me to help and I feel a social responsibility for the same. Me along with couple of my friends discussed this and agreed that, “ It does not matter if we do not make money as long as we can cover our costs or in the worst case these loses are bearable for us.” We make enough money between us that we can afford to try and help. The satisfaction of trying to make a difference in the lives of many people is worth the risk we are taking.

Today Quadrobay is attempting to help and make a difference. It is a saga, it a venture. Wait a minute, am I saying that, I am part of a start up that does not really care about maximizing profit but is driven by a higher goal. Yes, I am and you are reading it correctly. If this is not social entrepreneurism then what else is? Please help me to understand

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