India is home to the largest Hindu population in the world. In a country which does not shy away from showing devotion, religion plays a very important role in the lives of people. The Ganges river is venerated as a goddess and people living along its banks never fail to offer their prayers to her. The River is dotted with innumerable temples as well. Almost every person visiting the temple or the Ganga, to perform any religious activity, offers flowers during the process. With the amount of flowers which just go into waste after a single use, it contributes heavily to pollution. Phool, a Kanpur based startup founded by Ankit Agarwal, aims to address this problem and turn it into a sustainable business model.
The flowers used in temples and mosques are often for just one time use and people do not have an idea about how to dispose them off since the flowers acquire a devotional aspect to them. They cannot discard them in the trash as it seems like an affront to the deity, so they either leave them under trees or throw them in the River. This is where Phool comes in with a solution.
Phool solved this problem by collecting the floral waste, recycling it and converting it into incense sticks, incense cones and vermicompost. They made the whole process sustainable and a zero emission activity. This is not all they do. Phool also identifies and empowers women manual scavengers by providing them with a job and access to a bank account, health insurance, toilets and clean drinking water.
Floral petals are dried and used as raw materials for making incense sticks, soaps and vegan leather. They also created compostable packaging made from tulsi, seeds and ink made from vegetable dyes. Customers can dispose off the packaging and it will grow into a sapling. They can upload a picture of it by scanning a QR code on the packaging, which will let them avail a discount on their next purchase.
Phool aims to provide jobs to 5,100 women and recycle 51 tonnes of floral waste daily by 2021.
Phool currently recycles 8.4 tonnes of floral waste from temples in Uttar Pradesh on a daily basis. This is a startup which aims at making a meaningful impact while empowering the lives of their people. While the world is slowly realizing the importance of sustainable development goals, this startup has already started practising them.
Pickkup – This Hyper-Local On Demand Service Startup Delivers Anything Anytime Anywhere
India has witnessed a shift in consumer dynamics with the introduction of startups which provide hyper local and on demand services. These startups are able to provide users with the option to purchase anything and everything, except for prohibited items in and around their homes. This eliminated the need for the user to venture out of their homes and instead get whatever they need delivered to their doorstep.
Hyper local delivery startups have seen a huge surge in demand in the last few months with most of the demand coming from tier 1 metropolitan cities. Pickkup is one such hyper local delivery startup which operates in Hyderabad. Pickkup takes pride in their motto that they can deliver anything, anytime and anywhere in the city. The unique selling proposition (USP) of Pickkup is they are the only hyper local service providers to offer long range delivery services in Hyderabad which can range up to 40 kilometers.
Pickkup offers a host of services all under one roof which can be accessed on their mobile application. A user can choose to get groceries delivered to their home, or order meat, or send packages across the city from one location to another and also access pet stores. All these services are taken care of by a fleet of reliable delivery partners. Pickkup assures all orders are treated with utmost priority and safety and their delivery partners will move the orders quickly. The simple user interface on the Pickkup mobile application ensures a hassle free order placing process.
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However one of the most appealing features Pickkup provides is the facility to book a personal assistant. The personal assistant feature allows a user to book an assistant who would help you assist in doing chores. For example,if you are moving to a new home, a personal assistant will assist you with rearranging your furniture and goods. If you need to send out 3 couriers to different locations in the city, the personal assistant will deliver them for you instead of you placing three different orders for each courier delivery with a logistic service provider. Other features include using the assistant to drive you around in their vehicle, or using them for banking works. The personal assistant feature cannot however be used to do manual labour. The billing is done according to the number of hours the personal assistant service used.
Pickkup has already managed to satisfy their clients and has an average delivery time of 45 minutes. With many companies declaring work from home for the foreseeable future, Pickkup will no doubt see a surge in demand in the coming days.
BoAt – An Audio Device Startup Wooing The Indian Millennial
With the advent of smartphones, people all over the world prefer to consume information on their devices. Music, news, movies, series, sports—anything and everything is being customised for the smartphone user. This makes the use of audio devices like earphones, headphones and portable speakers an essential lifestyle choice to go with the smartphone.
An Indian audio electronics startup, boAt, forced international players like JBL, Apple and Sennheiser to rethink their prices and products by offering highly competitive, durable and high quality products at prices which are a steal. The brand achieved this over the years by building themselves a reputation as sticklers for quality.
boAt was founded by Aman Gupta and Sameer Mehta in the year 2016. While working as a Director of Sales at Harman International, a company which makes speakers, Aman Gupta met Sameer Mehta, with whom he shared a passion for music. Aman Gupta realised the Indian millennial is increasingly oriented towards affordable high quality products which can also be used as lifestyle accessories or make a fashion statement.
Establishing itself as a serious market player
Prior to the introduction of boAt products, the market was flooded with highly priced products by JBL, Sennheiser and their likes and extremely low priced but average quality products by Mivi, iBall and Intex, apart from Chinese products. The startup focused itself on branding itself to the millenial youth of India. They made products which were trendy, durable, had a metal finish and came at a cost which was at least half of what the international players were offering.
Initially, sales by boAt were limited to e commerce platforms like Flipkart and Amazon and the sales were slow. However, this changed over time with glowing positive reviews from users, which prompted others to buy these products as well. The earphones and Bluetooth speakers, especially, are a huge hit amongst their customers. The term ‘boAthead’ was given to a person who makes a product purchase, adding them to a fraternity of boAt users.
The popularity of cricket and films was used as an advantage when boAt partnered with sports and film stars to endorse their products as brand ambassadors. Jacqueline Fernandez, Kiara Advani, Kartik Aaryan and Neha Kakkar are Bollywood stars who endorse boAt products. From the cricketing fraternity, there is Shikhar Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishab Pant, K.L. Rahul and Hardik Pandya. These partnerships helped boAt in establishing themselves as a key market player in India.
The startup is also partnering with fashion events like those held by Lakmé, where the models only have boAt products as their accessories when they walk down the ramp. This is to establish boAt products can be a part of everyday fashion.
Bluetooth speakers which are waterproof and shockproof and earphones which are sweat resistant are some of the unique innovations which are a part of the brand. The popularity of boAt is surging, thanks to their marketing and product quality. The startup will try to shift its manufacturing to India to cut down on import duties, which would make their products even cheaper.
Read about Shuttl is trying to decongest traffic in cities: Shuttl : A Startup Providing Comfortable Mass Commute Options
TruCup: This Startup Is Fighting The Taboo Of Menstruation With Sustainable Sanitary Products
A country like India which is influenced by diverse cultures and religions over the ages, there are multiple belief systems which also come with their own share of taboos and stigmas. Most of these taboos are based in deep rooted ignorance and also the lack of proper educational awareness among the Indian population. One such taboo, is the stigma surrounding menstruation, because it is treated like a societal evil. The problem is due to the old school thinking which associates menstruation with impurity. While the stigma is one problem, another problem is the lack of means for a large number of women to purchase the necessary sanitary products because of their high price.
This is where a startup named TruCup comes into the picture. TruCup was founded by two women entrepreneurs Shivangi Bagri and Alakshi Tomar. Shivangi Bagri used to have to endure excruciatingly painful periods before purchasing a menstrual cup from Singapore and realised the product made her life better by easing her periods. Being a Yoga teacher and a dive enthusiast, Shivangi’s life changed for the better after using a menstrual cup. It was then she realised how the current market products are misleading women by convincing them to buy products which contain synthetic fabrics, fragrances and chemicals. This motivated Shivangi to come up with the perfect menstrual cup.
Alakshi Tomar on the other hand used to work with schools in the slums of Mumbai and it was there she saw the neglect of menstrual hygiene. The problems she saw while working in the slums coupled with her own sedentary lifestyle during her periods made her switch to a menstrual cup.
The two (Shivangi and Alakshi) became friends in school, and remained so even when they moved to different cities for higher education. A chance WhatsApp conversation between Shivangi and Alakshi led to them realising they are the only two women using cups in a group of 15 friends from school. The two figured there was an urgent need to create the perfect cup for all menstruating women. After months of research and constant design feedback from women who used cups, they came up with a comfortable design.
According to TruCup, one billion pads and tampons are disposed of in India each month. Another 64% of women use cloth for sanitary purposes in India and another 95% of women do not use menstrual products due to taboo/myths surrounding insertion, virginity and hygiene.
Shivangi and Alakshi set out to create demand in a market dominated by sanitary napkins and were able to expand organically to 56 cities through online and offline sales. Women who used their products are their best promoters as they are vocal about the quality of their products and recommend it to other women. TruCup trained more than 1600 women on menstrual hygiene, established partnerships through governmental and non governmental agencies and impacted more than 60,000 women through different projects. Shivangi and Alakshi however have a long term goal to destigmatize the taboo surrounding menstruation and to make the public have conversations on menstrual health and hygiene. TruCup plans to train people of gender roles and how gender roles shape the way people think, organise and know the world. TruCup also provides training on sexual and reproductive health as well as menstruation. Furthermore, TruCup also aims to create awareness about the environmental impacts due to unsafe disposal practices of sanitary napkins and the importance of sustainable menstrual products.
TruCup is bringing a revolution to women’s health with their community awareness programs and their top quality TruCup!
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