Pune Inc: A startup on a mission to make people ‘climate smart’
Pune-based Ecozen, a climate-smart deep tech startup, announced earlier this month that it had raised Rs 54 crore and is in talks for the remaining amount of its planned Rs 200 crore funding. Founded by IIT Kharagpur alumni Devendra Gupta, Prateek Singhal and Vivek Pandey, Ecozen’s technologies are deployed in the agricultural sector for irrigation and cooling. The products are solar pump controllers called Ecotron, which occupy almost 20 per cent of the Indian market, and solar cold storage rooms called Ecofrost, which make up 50 per cent.
“For farmers, who do not have access to power, we provide the Ecotron, which uses a controller and motor that belongs to us, to do more production. Currently, a lot of farmers are dependent on grid-connected electrical and diesel pump sets, among others. We help them to reduce the cost of diesel and increase their yields. Because of efficient irrigation, they can get to three or four harvests,” says Gupta in a telephonic interview. The cold storage room enables farmers to keep their commodities fresh for longer as they determine where and to whom they want to sell their produce to.
As the Indian market grows, Ecozen estimates that their business will scale more than twice from last year. “The investment we have raised will enable us to increase our capacity and features to deliver on the domestic demand, even as we try to enter other markets in Africa and south east Asia. We are also trying to build a team to look after exports,” says Gupta. In a major shift, the company is exploring the use of their core technology in areas outside agriculture, such as electric vehicles. “A part of the capital we have raised will go to build innovative products for these sectors,” says Gupta.
A National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture project of 2019, which studied the effect of climate change on agriculture, found that yields of crops such as rice, wheat and maize were particularly vulnerable. Ecozen’s answer to unseasonal rains and groundwater depletion is to bring in controls and methods to conserve water, “where a farmer is able to schedule and manage it better”. “They can use powered irrigation to do their farming and save their harvest. Through these mechanisms, we are trying to help farmers manage climate change a bit better,” he says.
Ecozen is present in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Odisha and Jharkhand and is targeting UP, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and the southern belt. “The products are capital intensive so we are targeting progressive customers across India. We are on a mission to make people climate smart and enable them to handle the vagaries of climate change better,” he says.
Lottery Box-India’s most professional lottery interactive community.