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Ecovative Design – A Startup Providing Sustainable Alternatives To Plastic

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Ecovative Design,Startup Providing Sustainable Alternatives To Plastic,Startup Stories,Replacing Plastic Packaging,13 Plastic Packaging Alternatives,Ecovative Design Founder,Alternatives Plastic,Startup India News


The world is becoming energy conscious and is constantly looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions and carbon footprints and shift to sustainable and renewable energy practices.  Plastic is a bane to the environment, owing to its ability to adversely affect ecosystems and inability to decompose once it reaches a landfill or the environment. Single use plastics are a major contributor to this problem.  A company called Ecovative Design is slowly trying to develop an alternative to plastics by making packaging material and various other products from mushrooms, which are a type of fungus.  Ecovative Design was founded by Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre and is based out of Green Island, New York.

The beginning

Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre worked on their idea as a part of their university project during an Inventor’s Studio course at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  They initially developed and created an insulation material using this mycelium technology and named it Greensulate. They followed this up by founding Ecovative Design.  After winning $ 700,000 at an event called the Picnic Green Challenge, they went commercial by making a protective packaging called EcoCradle.

Raw materials

The founders claim they were inspired by observing how the fungal mycelium strongly bonded with wood chips.  They realised they could use this resinous property to create a product which essentially left zero carbon footprint and is totally safe since it is organic.  They chose a special strain of fungus which they left at a place for about five days, where the fungal mycelium bonded with non food agricultural materials and created organic compostable material.  They finally heated the product to make the fungus inert. This material was then placed in moulds so it could be shaped into the requirements of the product. The founders developed products which can be used in insulation, protective packaging and structural biocomposites.

It is the aim of the founders that once the use of mycelium grown products gain household acceptance, they can replace the use of plastic and polystyrene.  This technology is being studied by other companies who rely on mycelium technology and can incorporate it into their product design. Ecovative Design has a revenue model wherein they license their technology and offer it to interested vendors.  Companies like Ikea and Dell use their protective packaging when they ship their products.

With Ecovative Design currently researching and creating products which cater to the apparel, food, textile and skincare industries, it will be interesting to see how these products replace non biodegradable products in the future.

 

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Emerging Startup Stories

TruCup: This Startup Is Fighting The Taboo Of Menstruation With Sustainable Sanitary Products

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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.  

ALSO READ: How One Indian Startup Is Tackling The Problem Of Floral Waste

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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Emerging Startup Stories

Three Fourth Solutions- How This Digital Media Agency Grew From 3 People To Working With The Biggest Brand Names In The Country

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Three Fourth Solutions- How This Digital Media Agency Grew From 3 People To Working With The Biggest Brand Names In The Country

Digital media has forever changed how marketing works since the advent of the internet and the social media platforms that followed.  When corporations realised they were sitting on a gold mine of ‘virtual real estate’ which in simple terms is just free space on a webpage, they realised they could use the space to run advertisements.  This began a new era for marketing which grew so big that digital marketing spending is forecasted to reach $146 billion by 2023.

There are many agencies which focus on digital marketing to provide branding solutions and services and one such agency which made a name for itself is Three Fourth Solutions (TFS,) based out of Kolkata.  Three Fourth Solutions was founded by three people with an aim to create everything related to  brand planning and consultancy, digital media campaign delivery and execution, to experiential marketing campaigns and many more under one roof.  The idea was based on the principle that a business could provide multiple solutions under one roof thereby streamlining the coordination of ideas.

There is also an interesting background behind the name of the organisation.  Every business realizes the need for a firm foundation in 4 key spheres – research, planning, execution and finance.  This organization executes three of the four spheres excluding the financial element and hence the name Three Fourth Solutions was found.

Three Fourth Solutions currently offer the following services:

  1. Communication Design
  2. Social Media Management
  3. Public Relations
  4. Website and App Development
  5. ATL/BTL Activations
  6. Prints

The most recent launching is a Public Relations wing which focused on bridging the communication gap and aimed at providing complete communication solutions to its clients. With over 40+ brands serviced in just over a year (in sectors such as FMCG, Hospitality, Food and Beverage and retail) – their aim is to bring change with key communication initiatives and drive a long lasting impact on the minds of the consumer. Their most recent influencer campaign for CODE had a reach of over 11M+ on social media. 

TFS has completed almost 6 years in the industry and has worked with some established brand names in the market.  Some of their clients include WildStone CODE, UBER, OYO, Novotel, DLF, Manyavar, HoiChoi, Tarun Tahiliani, Hard Rock Cafe, Pernod Ricard, Mumuso India, Simba Beer, AB InBev, Hyatt, Haldirams, Future Group, SVF Entertainment, Faabiiana, Pretty Secrets, Anmol industries.  

As TFS successfully completes 6 years in the industry, they continue to look forward for exploring more exciting opportunities and generating meaningful content and branding strategies for brands to grow in the marketplace.

 

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Emerging Startup Stories

Namhya Foods:  How This Superfood Startup Is Making Healthy Living Fun With Their Products

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Namhya Foods:  How This Superfood Startup Is Making Healthy Living Fun With Their Products

In the olden days, people used to get plenty of physical exercise on a daily basis.  There were no elevators to go up buildings, most people used to own a bicycle as owning a moped was considered a luxury  and some of the daily chores which have been replaced by mechanical devices.  In this day of technology and science, everything is at a fingertip and convenience and people are becoming devoid of exercise.  Being healthy is increasingly becoming hard because of the different varieties of foods that are available for ordering online and even then the food we are consuming might not be nutritious. 

Given that our food is being replaced from eating tasty home cooked meals, to ordering online or grabbing a ‘quick’ bite outside, the need for healthy eating is now more than ever.  This was what prompted Ridhima Arora, the founder of Namhya Foods to make healthy food that is fun to eat and incorporates Ayurveda.  Namhya Foods aims to create interesting combinations of Ayurvedic foods (Superfoods ) that can blend well with modern day living like for example their Sattu based breakfast cereal which is an instant mix but healthy or the Ayurvedic tea with herbs like Brahmi , Ashwagandha that replaces the regular chai.  Namhya Foods is making an effort to bring back the golden heritage of long forgotten basic indian foods that blend with your today’s lifestyle and this is their philosophy.

The journey of Namhya Foods began when the founder Ridhima Arora  began her journey towards a healthy lifestyle when she lost 30 kgs in 2 years in 2014 (86kgs-56kgs) in the effort to become fit.  It was then that Ridhima realised that there was a market gap for real healthy foods.  After researching the healthy foods which were available in the market, Ridhima realised that healthy oats biscuits contain maida and sugars and the dangers of ‘sugar free’ are hardly known and that brown bread is just a colored version of white bread in most cases.  But the real change began when her father was seriously ill due to liver cirrhosis.  In fact she realized the gap between the food industry and the healthcare industry and how there is no role of food in the treatment.  While her father recovered with precautions on food and going #BackTotheRoots with all her self research on food, she decided to take this up full time after quitting her corporate job which led to the birth of Namhya Foods in August 2019.

Namhya Foods position themselves as an Alternative Health Category and their product line is created based on the same.  The product line is based on the following :-

Local ingredients- Foods of our Naanis and Daadis like sattu, Tragacanth Gum(Commonly called Gond Katira), Arjun Chhal.

No preservatives: Namhya Foods does not use any vegetable oils, Hidden sugars, preservatives not even the considered the ‘safe ones’ like sodium benzoate, sulfur dioxide or any sorbates. 

Ayurveda Based foods: Namhya Foods use traditional herbs like saffron, arjun chhal, cardamom, star anise etc., in their products which have natural healing properties and help revive the prana (yogic breath) in the body and helps rejuvenate.

Namhya Foods also established an online presence in the leading e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Ebay, Etsy(international.)  Following the success of their pilot retail store based in Jammu and Kashmir, Namhya Foods is currently available in 186+ countries worldwide through ebay and etsy and in UAE through Amazon.  Namhya Foods is also able to sell 40% of their inventory through their website. (www. Namhyafoods.com)

Namhya Foods aims to clock sales of 1 crore rupees in the next one year and are already in talks with Urbanplatter, Qtrove, Milkbasket and Grofers to expand their online presence.  Namhya Foods also gives free nutritional coaching via personal chats, online events and regular updates through their social media channels on Instagram and Facebook.

About the founder:

Ridhima Arora has a B.Tech in electronics and communication and has a MBA(Marketing) from Great lakes institute of management, Chennai (2015.)  Ridhima began her career as a young leader with Lava international and after working in the industry for about 4.5 years in branding and marketing, she decided to quit her corporate job and start Namhya Foods.

Ridhima is also a certified and practicing nutritionist from ISSA (International sports science association) and a Yoga trainer (Certified from Yoga Alliance.)

 

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