An IIT Kanpur-backed biomaterial startup, Phool.co on Thursday announced that it has raised $1.4 million in pre-Series A funding round. The round was led by IAN Fund and San Francisco-based Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation.
The fresh funding will be used to advance the research and scale the operations of the company.
Founded in July 2017 by engineering graduates Ankit Agarwal and Prateek Kumar, Phool.co is focused on the circular economy of converting floral waste into charcoal-free luxury incense products.
Speaking on the latest development, Ankit Agarwal, Co-founder and CEO, 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 and 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.”
With deep-tech research, the startup has developed “Fleather,” leveraging their circular flower economy. A viable alternative to animal leather, Fleather was recently awarded PETA’s Best Innovation in the Vegan 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.
Speaking on its efforts to create a new-circular economy, 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.”
Earlier, the startup 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.