Founded in 2018 by Suket Amin and his father, Dipak Amin, Ahmedabad-based Sunbots Innovations LLP is an iCreate-backed startup that uses automation, mobility, sensor technology, and artificial intelligence to develop outdoor security and surveillance robotic systems.
In the time of coronavirus, the startup took on a personal pain point and pivoted to launch a UV-based disinfection device. Sterilite is a UV-C tower that can be used to disinfect hospitals, clinics, offices, hotels, and homes.
“My wife is a dentist; she needed to visit her clinic and attend to her patients even amidst the lockdown. However, it was a concern as she would come in contact with patients. UV-C-based Sterilite was initially developed for her to keep her clinic disinfected. But it then led to the development of a new product line as we started receiving queries for the product,” Suket tells YourStory.
The disinfection solution
Suket says the product – the first launched by Sunbots – was officially launched on July 5. Sterilite is a mobile and vertical disinfection tower that uses ultraviolet light (UVC) of 254 nm wavelength to disinfect surfaces such as tables, medical instruments, chairs, doors, and also the entire room. The device was developed and launched by Sunbots in three weeks.
“The device has a foldable arm, which can be bent to 90, 145, and 180 degrees, covering a larger area for disinfection. Sterilite is designed with motion detection; it stops on detecting human presence. It can be operated by a mobile app; users need to place the machine in a room, leave the room, and switch it on and off from outside,” he adds.
According to the co-founder, the device – with its arm at 0 or 180 degrees – can be used to disinfect specific and focused surfaces such as a table or chair in 10 minutes. With the arm at 45 degrees, it can disinfect multiple objects in 15 minutes. When the device is placed in the room in 90 degrees, it can disinfect the entire room in five to 30 minutes.
Suket says prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the startup was developing an autonomous ground vehicle platform integrated with sensor technology and computer vision for security and surveillance. The device is being designed to include multiple AI-powered cameras and provide 360-degree video surveillance and ensure continuous patrolling in a large area.
Business and more
Suket explains that the device was initially developed as a B2B product; the idea was to help hospitals, independent clinics, and offices use it for disinfection. However, the team noticed that several people were also purchasing the unit for their offices and homes.
The device can be purchased by placing orders with the company through their WhatsApp number and Facebook page. Sterilite is priced at Rs 15,000, inclusive of GST and shipping charges. Till date, the company has sold 10 units to clinics and homes.
The co-founder reveals that the startup raised two rounds of funding from iCreate, an Ahmedabad-based incubation centre, and the Gujarat government as a part of the startup policy when Sunbots was launched. He adds that Sterilite was developed in the iCreate lab facilities. The co-founders also invested Rs 10 lakh to manufacture of the product.
According to a report by 6W Research, a New Delhi-based market research company, the Indian surface disinfectant market is expected to register high growth during 2020-26 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased the demand for surface disinfection.
In a bid to fight the pandemic, several startups such as Invento Robotics, TRU-V, Padcare, and Log 9 Materials, among others, have developed UV-C based devices for disinfection purposes.
Speaking about the competition, Suket says Sterilite has an edge over other solutions due to its extendable arm, which can help it reach larger areas.
Speaking about its future plans, Suket says the company is currently developing an autonomous ground vehicle surveillance product and aims to launch it by the end of this quarter. He added that the company is in the process of appointing distributors across the country for sale of Sterilite.
“Our short-term vision is to deploy about 1,000 units of Sterilite by the end of this quarter. In the future, we would like to integrate UV-C technology with our robotic platform for medical applications,” Suket says.