This Shark Tank India S2 winner bowls judges over with its for-profit approach to social impact

This Shark Tank India S2 winner bowls judges over with its for-profit approach to social impact

  • Founded in 2016, Haqdarshak is a mobile and web platform connecting citizens to eligible government welfare schemes.
  • In six years, Haqdarshak claims to have aided the disbursal of over ₹5,000 crore, serving nearly 25 lakh customers and 50,000 micro-businesses.
  • Haqdarshak received a joint offer of ₹1 crore for 2% equity from judges Namita Thapar, Aman Gupta and Peyush Bansal.
The Indian government has many social benefit schemes for the underprivileged. However, a vast section of the intended beneficiaries are unaware of such schemes, and a majority of those who are aware are unable to access them due to roadblocks like lack of documentation and an inability to submit the documents.

Moreover, many such beneficiaries of pension schemes, scholarship schemes, health insurance and others reside in remote areas of this vast country. Bringing them into the fold by aiding people with Aadhar cards; micro SMEs with Udyog Aadhar; easing access to widow pension and more are the pain points that a startup, Haqdarshak, wants to solve. It made its pitch on Shark Tank India Season 2 this week.

In 2016, Aniket Doegar, who has ample exposure to rural India via his work and interests, started Haqdarshak in Pune. It has positioned itself as a “next-gen, for-profit startup focused on social impact” and has a mobile and web platform. It claims to have served over 25 lakh customers and 50,000 micro-businesses and trained 25,000 agents.

Commission-based revenue model

Haqdarshak trains its agents to provide what it calls ‘last-mile’ assistance. Agents organise community gatherings or go door-to-door to educate people about the available schemes. They also assist them in availing the schemes.


An agent registers a family or individual on the Haqdarshak app and gathers information regarding their housing conditions, income, religion, caste, etc. Once the questions (40-45) are answered, the app shares the number of eligible welfare schemes.

As per Doegar, the average number of schemes available to beneficiaries in rural India are between 50-55, while in urban India that number falls to 35-40. A customer is charged a nominal amount of ₹50 rupees (without GST) as a service charge, which is split between the agent and the company. An agent earns anywhere between ₹20,000 to ₹25,000 per month.

“In 2020-2021, multiple investors told us to turn the company into a fintech or edtech company, offering educational schemes or loans. But our goal is to become India’s biggest social security company in the next 10 years. Today, if Jyoti (one of the agents) goes to the community, they know she’s providing them with something. This will change if she starts asking for money (for loans, etc.),” shared Doegar on the show.

In six years, Doegar claimed that Haqdarshak aided the disbursal of ₹5,000 crore to the beneficiaries via social schemes. In May 2016, the startup raised ₹1.25 crore from angel investors at a valuation of ₹10 crore, and in May 2021, it raised ₹6.65 crore in a pre-Series A round.

‘Social impact and sales is a rare feat’

Impressed by his clarity, product, and vision, Lenskart co-founder Peyush Bansal made the first offer — ₹1 crore for 2% equity, which valued the company at ₹50 crore. Emcure Pharmaceuticals’ ED Namita Thapar and boAt’s co-founder Aman Gupta made a joint offer of ₹50 lakh for 1% equity; and ₹50 lakh debt at an interest rate of 10%, at the same valuation.

The founder sought a collective investment of ₹1 crore from all three sharks for 0.5% equity, each. The sharks clarified that they wouldn’t budge from the equity share of 2%.

Ultimately, the deal was finalised for ₹1 crore, from the three sharks, for a total of 2% equity. While congratulating him, Thapar commented that it was rare for (social) impact and sales to come together like it has for Haqdarshak.

The startup generated revenue of ₹15.5 crore in FY22 but suffered a loss for the first time ever since inception as Covid forced them to shut operations for four months. It believes that it will close FY23 with annual revenue of ₹30 crore.

‘When a poor person visits a pension office’

Born and raised in Shimla, 33-year-old Doegar completed his undergraduate studies from Shri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi. After completing graduation in 2010, he worked at the grassroots level for nearly five years at various government schools in rural Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan and other states. He was also a Teach for India fellow from June 2010 to April 2012.

He soon realised that there was a lack of awareness about government welfare schemes. “When people like you and me go to passport or visa centres, we’re greeted with folded hands, with people saying, ‘Sir, your appointment is next.’ When a poor person visits the pension officer, he has to beg for the pension he is entitled to. Can we change this user behaviour?” remarked Doegar on the show.

The startup claims to have digitised close to 7,500 government schemes on its platform. It provides assistance across multiple schemes, including the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana – which provides clean cooking alternatives like Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) connections to BPL households; and Vishwakarma Shram Samman Yojana – UP government’s scheme to encourage self-employment among the state’s artisans.

Apart from people, it also works with corporates to enroll their factory employees into government schemes. As of 2022, the startup has worked with 110 corporates representing nearly 10 million of their employees – and corporates are charged higher than individuals.

The latest offering by Haqdarshak is a QR-code-based “Yojana Card” that allows customers to check various government schemes and ask for application support from Haqdarshak, if needed. A customer can scan the QR code through a smartphone. In the absence of a smartphone, the customer can reach any Hadardshak centre and scan the card.

Intel unveils 4th Gen Xeon Scalable processors with better performance
Hyundai launched the all-electric SUV IONIQ 5 starting at ₹4,49,500 in India