[Startup Bharat] From a water-saving polymer to an innovation lab, 5 inspiring stories from Rajasthan
Think Rajasthan and it brings many visions - of bandhani dupattas, intricate jewellery, folk dances, music, camel rides in the desert, and historical forts and palaces. Now, add one more – that of a startup hub.
The Rajasthan State Startup Policy was launched in 2015 and the government has, since then, taken several measures to improve the ease of doing business for startups. In fact, there are many notable instances of startups from the state making it big. CarDhekho and Voylla being two of them.
Then there are startups that started here but moved on to other cities. Fintech startup Razorpay is one such. It was started in Jaipur in 2014, but later moved to Bengaluru. Jaipur-based online jewellery and accessories company Voylla today has more than 100 stores with a repertoire of over 13,000 designs on its site. CarDekho, also based in Jaipur, is an automobile classifieds platform that works with financial institutions to facilitate used car financing and provide a seamless experience for both buyers and sellers. It recently raised Series C funding of $110 million from Sequoia India, Hillhouse, CapitalG and Axis Bank.
But beyond these big names, there are dozens of startups that are working with technology to create innovative solutions. In this edition of StartupBharat, we bring to you a handful of such innovative startups based in Rajasthan.
Protein rich milk from Ajmer’s Matratva Dairy
If you are looking for pure A2 milk, Ajmer-based Matratva Dairy is the one to get it from. Started in 2016, Matratva Dairy produces A2 milk and products-ghee, butter, sweets and buttermilk.
IIM-Calcutta alumnus Ankita Kumwat left a corporate job in the US to start dairy farming. Back from the US, she started work with Derewala Industries in Jaipur, but also helped her father at his farm,breeding exotic cowbreeds.
Keen to start up, Ankita soon left her job in Jaipur and shifted to Alwarto focus on dairy farming. She teamed up with Lokesh Gupta, a biotechnology graduate, who she met through a common friend.
"Our prime objective is to develop and promote indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Tharaparkar, and Rathi. At Matratva, we only produce A2 milk and its related value-added products," says Ankita.
Matratva Dairy products is marketed through online digital platforms. The company also conducts awareness camps and displays its products at the Haat Bazaar in Ajmer. Their products are also available at retail outlets in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai, Kerala, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
Jodhpur’s Open Innovations Lab to spur innovation in small towns
Founded by IIT-Kharagpur alumnus Sanjay Jangid, Open Innovations Lab is a platform that brings together technical experts, co-creators, product developers, mentors and strategists to craft innovative tech-enabled solutions for businesses that are largely based in Tier II and Tier III cities.
While working for Syntel in Mumbai, Sanjay saw there were several developer and startup events every week, and it was easy to network. That, however, was not the case in Rajasthan, and many other smaller cities. He, along with his classmate from BTech Neha Maheshwari co-founded Open Innovations Labin March 2016.
Open Innovations Lab develops prototypes using technologies like AI, Machine Learning, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), cloud computing, and big data. It provides engineers and product developers access to resources to help validate their ideas, build a minimum viable product, test, research, and interact with co-innovators and mentors from the industry.
20-year-old’s eco-friendly water retention polymer startup from Udaipur
Hailing from a small village in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district, Narayan Lal Gurjar grew up seeing farmers struggling with water scarcity. The crisis escalated to such an extent that there was a sharpfall in crop production, particularly in 2013 and 2015.
Concerned with the situation, Narayan hence started Eco-Friendly Water Retention Polymer in 2014, when he was 17years old. This Udaipur-based startup makes a super absorbent polymer designed to absorb water in the soil, retain it for a long time, and supply it to the crops as required.
“We made the product out of biowaste, which not only prevents soil and water pollution, but also gives high nutrition to plants as it slowly disintegrates in the soil. What we do is maximum production with minimum use of water and fertilisers,” says Narayan.
Narayan, who is the CEO of the startup, is studying at College of Technology and Engineering, Udaipur, where he met two members of his team members. A team of five, the company operates out of small rooms it has hired, and is looking to expand because of the increased demand for the product.
The startupsupplies its product to nurseries, farmers, vertical agriculturists and horticulturists near Udaipur and Rajsamand.
Kota-based MedCords allows you to securely store medical reports
Shreyans Mehta, Nikhil Baheti and SaidaDhanavath set out to disrupt the healthcare space in India. Focussing on rural areas, the MedCords platform claims to securely store medical records and provides users easy access anytime and anywhere.
“We wanted to build an entire ecosystem and use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data to solve the healthcare problems in our country. However, when we started our research, we realised there was no single place where all the historical health records of an individual were available,” says Shreyans.
The cloud-based platform can cater to any citizen who has a phone connection. People who do not have a smartphone can avail the services through local pharmacies who use the MedCords for Pharmacy App, where they get their health profile digitised and can also take consultations.
The platform basically has a web application for doctors and hospitals, wherein they can instantly see one’s health records, and the patient does not need to carry older records or files. The doctor needs to be given access to the records from a patient’s phone.
Since inception in 2017, it has over than 3.5 lakh patients across 1,800 villages from four districts in Rajasthan and claims to be serving 30,000 patients every month.
Jaipur-based Hexpressions is building affordable, eco-friendly homes
Started in 2018 by architects and designers Abhimanyu Singh and Shilpi Dua, Hexpressions targets those who cannot afford a home, and can get subsidies under the Pradhan ManthriAwaz Yojana.
Hexpressions deploys a complete panel - where it designs a home, comes with the package, and assembles it in two weeks - be it on a terrace or a farmland. This technique saves time and reduces the carbon footprint.
The Jaipur-based company provides ready-to-assemble green homes using new-age building material, which comprises composite paper honey comb. The semi-permanent material is made up of paper honeycomb sandwiched between two concrete face panels.
“Our USP includes saving time and providing sustainable material which is 100 percent eco-friendly. The houses can be built in a matter of weeks as against the traditional housing methods, which takes three-to-six months,” explains Abhimanyu.
The duo had previously worked with honeycomb and were experimenting it with furniture, lamps etc, but they were not sure if they could use it as a building material. The idea materialised after they used the technique to construct a 30 ft high and 106 ft long building in Hosur road, Bengaluru.
Currently, focusing on the B2B model, they sell the idea, and send the team to organisations who are working with the model of housing and re-housing projects.