Socialblood.Org, an India based Startup is on a mission to connect the entire Facebook population of over 800 million users to their blood types. They are organizing Facebook users into 8 blood groups (one for each blood type) for instance people having blood type A+ will be in one group while B+ in another and so forth, they are doing this so that in case of an emergency people can quickly reach out to the blood group of their need.
Karthik Naralasetty, Founder of SocialBlood.org, came up with the idea after he read a story in India’s national newspaper about a young girl suffering from Thalassemia and her struggle to find blood donors every month. Karthik decided to do something about it, making it easy for her and others in urgent need of blood to quickly locate donors. Realizing that more than 50% of India’s population is on Facebook, he decided to make use of the power of social network for connecting people who need blood with potential donors.
SocialBlood opened their first blood groups for India on July 2011, and just couple of days ago they’ve added 16 more countries. Each of these 16 countries now have their own 8 blood groups so that it’s easier and also makes sense for people within a country to connect on blood requests. The way it works is really simple – Go to Social Blood website, select your blood group, select your country and register by clicking on Facebook Connect button and add yourself to the group. Once you are registered, if ever you are in need of blood donation you can post a message in the group and vice versa others requests will be shown to you on your feed so you could promptly respond.
While only 6 months in operation the Facebook blood groups model is really working: it has already saved lives of many in India due to people’s ability to quickly share and find donors. One Facebook user, whose friends seven-year-old daughter was in dire need of blood, says, “I got someone to post on socialblood.org and within 24 hours he got 70 calls”. For coming up with this innovative idea, Karthik Naralasetty recently won the 2011 Staples/Ashoka Youth Entrepreneurs Award. As part of winning this award, Karthik was selected to present their social enterprises at the Techonomy conference in Arizona last month and a PBS documentary is in the making about his work.
It was at this conference that Karthik got the rare opportunity to meet with Sean Parker, the founding President of Facebook. In the Forbes video below Sean Parker shares some valuable insights with Karthik on how to think strategically about his business model and what VCs are looking for in an entrepreneur.
Note: Karthik is currently looking for funding, as he’ll like to move out from Facebook Groups and build their own location based platform (powered by Facebook) which will give them far more flexibility in improvising the model. After talking to Sean Parker he has some interesting ideas on how to monetize the platform. If you are interested in investing or know someone who may be, drop an email to Karthik.