Kanpur: Phool.co, an IIT Kanpur backed biomaterial startup, on Thursday announced that it has raised US$1.4 Million in a pre-Series A funding round.
The funding round was led by IAN Fund and San Francisco based, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation.
Founded by engineering graduates, Ankit Agarwal & Prateek Kumar in July 2017, 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” leveraging their flower cycling technology. Fleather is a viable alternative to Animal leather which was recently awarded PETA’s best innovation the Vegan World, said an IIT Kanpur press statement here.
Phool.co has rapidly expanded its operations to Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. 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 vision is based on sustainable development goals focused on creating a circular economy, promoting sustainable consumption, and bringing dignified livelihoods.
Speaking on the latest development, Padmaja Ruparel, Founding Partner, IAN Fund said, “Innovative solutions for the sustainable development of community is the need of the hour. Phool.co‘s circular economy model brings triple bottom benefits of environmental, social, and financial sustainability. Ankit and Prateek are passionate entrepreneurs with an innovative product for a sustainable world.”
IIT Kanpur has been Phool’s backbone for technical research and speaking on the latest development, Dr. Abhay Karandikar, Director IIT Kanpur said “Innovation in product development aside, I am a huge fan of Phool.co because it is deeply committed to upliftment of marginal women in our society. Phool.co has given a life of dignity to dozens of women and they did this despite having an option of automating the process. For a young entrepreneur, this is remarkable commitment towards nation building”
For its endeavors to make innovative and sustainable products, Phool.co has received several international recognitions including the prestigious United Nations Young Leaders Award for Sustainable Development Goals , United Nations Momentum of Change Award at COP 2018, Asia Sustainability Award 2020, Hong Kong, Alquity Transforming Lives Awards, London and Breaking the Wall of Science, Berlin
Ankit Agarwal, Founder Phool.co 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.”
Speaking on its efforts to create a new-circular economy, Manoj Kumar, Chairperson & Founder of Social Alpha & Senior Advisor at Tata Trusts said “We love to back founders who are relentless in their pursuit of a better future for humanity and are willing to take on big and tough challenges. I am extremely proud of what Ankit and team have achieved by pioneering new-circular economy solutions with temple-flowers. The resilience and courage with which Ankit has faced the challenges have been incredible as this sector has not witnessed entrepreneurial or investment risk taking in past. Phool has set up a new benchmark and I hope this success story motivates more people from Tier 2 cities to pursue entrepreneurial missions with their market-creating innovations.”
Earlier, Phool.co had raised Rs 3.38 crore in a seed round from Social Alpha (FISE) and DRK Foundation, and a few others such as IIT Kanpur and Balmer Lawrie.