As India moves towards a sustainable future on the back of recent government initiatives, many innovative start-ups have stepped forth to make this vision of a tangible reality. Underscoring its commitment to help such disruptive ventures realise their unbridled potential, IAN Fund – a uniquely differentiated seed/early-stage fund – has led an investment worth INR 12.4 crore in Pune-based Nocca Robotics. The investment also saw participation from prominent angel investors from Indian Angel Network.
Founded in April 2017, Nocca Robotics is the brainchild of IIT Kanpur graduates and robotics experts Harshit Rathore and Nikhil Kurele. Soon Ajeet Chansuriya, Mayur Chate and Samar Ahmed joined the Nocca team, to build the technology and scale the business. The venture leverages leading-edge technologies such as AI, Machine Learning, deep learning and robotics to provide automated, waterless and shareable solar panel cleaning solution for utility-scale solar parks. Through this unique solution, Nocca is aiming to address the less-discussed sustainability challenge of solar energy operations: the high financial and environmental costs of keeping solar panels clean. And brings the added benefit of water conservation.
The current manual cleaning process uses billions of litres of water. This becomes a major challenge for sustainable energy generation, especially with many parts of India fast approaching a day-zero water crisis. Indian solar plants spend close to INR 500 crore annually to clean solar plants multiple times a month, plant owners also reportedly incur production losses due to dust accumulation.
Nocca Robotics addresses these burning issues by providing waterless robotic cleaning solution to utility solar park developers and large rooftop installation companies in India. In addition to offering easy operability, the product’s shareable feature makes it extremely cost-efficient. IAN Fund’s investment into the start-up is aimed at driving growth for the innovative start-up, which is well-poised to transform the Indian as well as global solar energy market.
Harshit Rathore, CTO & Co-founder – Nocca Robotics, said, “Our waterless and shareable robotic solar panel cleaning solution enables plant owners to operate at peak efficiency while generating attractive ROIs by curbing unnecessary spends on manual cleaning and increasing the power generation. Moreover, the impact that the switch to waterless cleaning option can drive on the ecological level is immense. Water is a precious resource without which we cannot survive. Coming up with innovative alternatives to all water-based industrial processes should be the top priority of our age.”
“During our entrepreneurial journey, we have had the privilege of receiving regular mentorship and guidance from Dr Saurabh Srivastava, Mr Neil Bhaskar, SIIC IIT Kanpur, Invent IIT Kanpur and Villgro which led to the development of the product and the business. We are thankful for the support we have received from IAN Fund. The fact that they have shown confidence in our vision further bolsters our resolve to create innovative, eco-friendly industrial solutions,” he added.
Speaking on the investment, Saurabh Srivastava, Controlling & Designated Partner – IAN Fund, said, “Nocca Robotics, born in IIT Kanpur has with its unique IP for waterless robotic cleaning of solar panels and other surfaces, is well poised to leverage the government’s focus on scaling the country’s solar power generation capacity to 100 GW by 2020. Its innovative, tech-based, unique solution will address the auxiliary challenges associated with solar energy operations. IAN Fund is confident of the venture’s potential to achieve exponential growth and scale, and is committed to helping it drive unparalleled disruption in India and abroad in its chosen market segment.”
Nocca Robotics will leverage the capital infusion to set up a robust manufacturing facility to create these robots with improved quality control. This establishment will cater to 1GW of solar power per year. The company will also use the funding to bolster its R&D and strengthen the production team to deliver best-in-class products. Moreover, the team will work towards realizing its concepts and rolling out products for industrial utility in the market with renewed vigour. Moving ahead, the company is geared to launch a robot dedicated to clean rooftop solar panel installations which differ from industry-implants in both size and scale.
About IAN Fund:
The IAN Fund, an INR 375 crores fund, is a uniquely differentiated seed/early stage Fund which aims to transform India’s entrepreneurial landscape. The fund invests in innovative companies in sectors including healthcare and medical devices, agritech, fintech, cybersecurity, edutech, hardware products, consumer focused, leveraging VR, AI, Big Data, and deep tech. The Fund leverages and builds upon the strengths and success of IAN, the world’s largest angel investor group, to breed and grow innovative companies. The Fund brings to play the deep and wide ecosystem of IAN for its portfolio companies.
The fund has Institutional investors like SIDBI’s Fund of Funds for Startups, IIFL, Yes Bank, Max Group, Gray Matters Capital, Hyundai along with marquee individuals like Kris Gopalakrishnan, Sunil Munjal, Rajan Anandan, Kanwal Rekhi, Vikram Gandhi, Jerry Rao amongst many others. This is the first in a series of Funds so that over the next 10 years, the IAN Platform would invest Rs 5000 Cr in ~500 companies, making it the single largest platform for early stage investing, enabling companies to raise from Rs 25 lakhs to Rs. 50 crores from a single platform, along with co investors, providing startups funding through the most challenging stages of its growth. The IAN fund plays a critical role, not just in plugging the gap in funding, but also in providing strategic mentorship to young entrepreneurs.