During the lockdown, the company ensured its supply chain by sourcing flower waste directly from the distressed horticulture farmers, bringing them critical income in the toughest of times.
HYDERABAD, Sep 17 (BNC Network) AIC-IIITH supported waste recycling startup Phool.co has raised Rs 10.5 Cr in a pre-series A round of funding through IAN Fund and San Francisco-based Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation. Founded in July 2017 by engineering graduates, Ankit Agarwal and Prateek Kumar, Phool.co is an innovative startup focused on the circular economy which converts the floral waste into Charcoal free Luxury incense products.
With deep-tech research, the startup has developed Fleather - a viable alternative to animal leather which was recently awarded PETA’s best innovation the Vegan World. Phool.co has rapidly expanded its operations to Tirupati. During the lockdown, the company ensured its supply chain by sourcing flower waste directly from the distressed horticulture farmers, bringing them critical income in the toughest of times. Phool.co’s vision is based on Sustainable Development Goals focused on creating a circular economy.
Ankit Agarwal said, “Phool.co is a sustainable solution to the monumental temple-waste problem in India. Through our efforts, we aim to build natural alternatives to synthetic chemical-based products by using deep-tech & Research. We are perhaps India’s first natural incense brand taking a digital-first approach and have a first-mover advantage as bio-leathers are barely available in India. We are delighted to get IAN on board as an investor and the funds raised will be used to advance the research and scale the operations of the company.”
In its early growth stage, Phool.co was supported by AIC-IIITH Foundation through its PRIF Incubation Programme with a seed grant of INR 30 lakhs. PRIF Incubation program is an initiative by Pernod Ricard India Foundation to support social impact organizations. The program offered INR 30 Lakhs seed fund to each of the selected Social Impact organisations.
Congratulating Ankit, Prof. Ramesh Loganathan, Director, AIC-IIITH said, “Ankit Agarwal’s Phool.co is a prime example of how with a little support, tech-based social innovation can have massive and sustainable impact in areas like waste management and employment generation. This is what we aimed to achieve through our PRIF Incubation Program and are delighted that Phool.co has reached this milestone.”
AIC-IIITH FOUNDATION is an Atal Incubation Center set up exclusively for incubating and supporting tech-based social enterprises. It seeks to deploy entrepreneurial energy and technological innovation for social impact to help India achieve the SDGs. Supported by the Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, Government of India, AIC-IIITH FOUNDATION also seeks to nurture the social enterprise ecosystem by acting as a platform for sharing ideas and insights. With over 10,000 sq. ft space consisting of co-working spaces, conference room, meeting space and other facilities, AIC-IIITH FOUNDATION aims to provide collaborative space to entrepreneurs. These benefits are further enhanced by the multiplying effect of agglomeration effects and network effects of being situated in the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), IIIT-Hyderabad, which is a cluster of incubation centers, research labs and resources.