It was while working for an analytics lab that Dr Swetha Sandesh noticed that most of the customers who came to get their products tested didn't know the purpose of the test. The observation sparked an idea for a solution that not only informed customers about why they needed to get their product tested, but also recommend tests to them. Years later, Swetha is doing just that with her company Niranthara Scientific Solutions Pvt. Ltd in Bengaluru.
The firm is an independent research, development and consulting company that focuses on agriculture, animal care, and human healthcare. Founded in 2012, Niranthara Scientific Solutions excels in developing innovative solutions through a scientific approach with the help of a team of dedicated scientists. It has collaborated with state-of-the-art laboratories and research organisations to offer advanced R&D services and provide turnkey solutions to clients across diverse segments.
Leading with innovation
Swetha, who has a PhD in chemistry, says that one of her aims of to start such a business was to providing employment to others and giving back to the nation. She and her husband Sandesh are directors at the company. "We started the company with the aim to have our own research lab, but due to a lack of financial investment we started with consulting as both of us have expertise in this scientific field," says the 37-year-old entrepreneur.
Apart from consulting firms, Niranthara Scientific Solutions has also come up with products like soil conditioner, compost and pest control solutions. The couple went on to start a production facility for tender coconut and its value added products in 2018. "We get tender cocunut of different qualities from farmers. The A grade ones are supplied immediately, but the B and C grade ones usually go to waste. We . process and sanitise these cocunts, extract the cocunut water from them. It is then packed into bulk volumes," says Swetha. "Niranthara Scientific Solutions also turns the waste generated from tender coconut into compost and then supplies it to farmers. We then buy coconuts from them. We have captured the tender coconut market and are supplying to several hotels and restaurants," Swetha adds. By December 2020, the company was clocking an annual revenue of Rs 48 lakhs.
Talking about the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent Lockdowns had on her business, Swetha says, "While our business wasn't affected much, but after the lockdowns the number of orders declined. We faced lot of financial crisis from October to December. From January, orders started picking up gradually."
Swetha and her 12-member team have worked with their clients to control outbreaks of foot and mouth disease among cattle. They have also worked with coffee crops infested with white stem borer and controlled the menace.
She wants to work on women hygiene and other eco-friendly products in the future. "All the products we design are environment and customer-friendly, so we use lot of natural and chemical-free ingredients in them," explains Swetha. The company plans to establish plant clinics in major crop growing areas to increase sales of its agricultural products. "However, this plan requires more funds," says Swetha, who adds that her desire to learn more about financial management that led her to participate in the GAME Xcelerator Bangalore programme. The GAME Xcelerator Bangalore programme is an intiative to support women-led businesses in fields other than technology by way of mentorship sessions and, opportunities to connect with investors and other stakeholders. Swetha is among the 24 women who are participating in the programme and has expressed her interest in knowing more about how she could expand her business and explore the B2C segment for her products.
Xcelerator Bangalore aims at accelerating the growth of women-owned, non-IT businesses in Bengaluru. It provides support to the women entrepreneurs to learn, collaborate and network with various stakeholders through a multitude of workshops, learning and mentoring sessions. This series highlights the work of 24 women entrepreneurs who will be participating in the first cohort of the Xcelerator Bangalore programme.