This startup is in the business of urban innovation. Their goal is to ensure clean, hygienic sanitary facilities. Their solution is an app.
What is the first word that comes to your mind when you think ‘public toilets’? If ‘horror story’ is what you think, then team Wowlet feels for you in this trailer for their app.
According to Wowlet, 98 percent women travellers in India say they require more toilets on highways, 56 percent need disabled-friendly toilets, and 37 percent ask for feeding rooms for women. In one’s own experience, public sanitation is not exactly a strength in the Indian system of things.
Co-Founder Komal Goyal says,
Our idea is to create the best of sanitation facilities for all types of users and business enterprises. I am a passionate traveller and finding good toilets has always been a major concern in India and abroad. There are many toilet locator apps, but none actually provide real-time information.
The problem, then, is not so much the dearth of toilets, but poor maintenance and no information about the actual conditions of these toilets.
Founders Akshay Punjabi and Komal Goyal thought of creating a difference by changing the horror story to a pleasing one. They worked to provide standard service and information facilities to assist people in knowing the condition of toilets before opting to use them. Wowlet provides maintenance service for restaurants and office complexes, and their app lets the users know whether a toilet is clean at a given time.
The team has five cleaning staff, and is looking to hire more. “We provide them with adequate training, respect and support to conduct the job,” says Komal.
Issues regarding washrooms on highways, residential areas and market places are first identified by the team. The Wowlet customer representatives meet with clients to determine the right maintenance plan. The client takes a test of Wowlet’s services and provides feedback. Clean toilets eventually increase the number of customers at restaurants. Apart from maintenance, Wowlet aids establishments in marketing through sign boards, social media, and Google discoverability.
Komal recalls how the team had a janitor who called them at night, haggling for higher remuneration, and threatening to discontinue service with clients. The solution to such situations, she feels, is love and respect for staff, and reasonable salaries. In the end, the goal is to not to compromise on client service, or on the mobility of the average Indian.
Sanitation facilities still have not been upgraded to suit the needs of all diverse people. We work for toilets to promote inclusivity and diversity in our country, says Komal.
The vision is indeed inclusive. Wowlet dreams of creating a society where people can step out of their homes comfortably despite any physical impediment. In effect, the Wowlet team wants to make toilets accessible to the differently abled, pregnant women, feeding mothers, and aged travellers. Besides, restaurant owners will have the burden of a task taken off them. They will be rest assured that sanitation is well taken care of, and this will ultimately provide them with a happier client base.
The Wowlet team that believes in taking time to change minds is currently funding the business from their own savings. They are also running a crowdfunding campaign to further their cause for a cleaner, more comfortable India.