• Phool.co is perhaps India’s first new-circular economy startup to raise a US$1.4 Million round
  • IAN fund invests US$1.4 Million in IIT Kanpur backed startup Phool.co, that has pioneered the flowercycling technology to upcycle cellulose waste and specializes in manufacturing charcoal-free luxury incense sticks from temple flowers
  • With Deep-tech research, the startup has successfully developed a commercially viable alternative to Animal leather called “Fleather” 

Phool.co, an IIT Kanpur backed biomaterial startup, today 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.

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.” 

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

IIT Kanpur has been Phool’s backbone for technical research 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”

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 “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. 

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, VR, AI, software as a service, marketplaces, fin-tech, big data, artificial intelligence, agritech and hardware. 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 has Institutional investors like SIDBI’s Fund of Funds for Startups, BIRAC’s ACE Fund, Kerala Startup Mission, IIFL, Wadhwani Foundation, Max Group, 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 their growth. The IAN fund plays a critical role, not just in plugging the gap in funding, but also in using its vast network to provide strategic mentorship and market access.

About IIT Kanpur & its ecosystem for Startups: IIT Kanpur’s TBI, Foundation for Innovation in Research, Science and Technology (FIRST), is one of the best academic TBIs in the country. It is primarily engaged in hardware-based product development, a rare trait amongst the incubators of India.


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