This woman entrepreneur has developed a product to help prevent UTI infections from public toilets
Hapito is a range of innovative products from Silvery Nanos, a startup founded by Divya Mahendra Rathod. The nano-alloy spray on application creates a thin film inside as well as outside the toilet, offering bacteriostatic action with antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antibiofilm properties.
In 2014, Divya Mahendra Rathod was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and couldn’t attend her first year of microbiology classes at Bhavan’s College.
The same year, this led to her collaborating with her professor, on creating a paint that could be applied to toilets to provide an infection-free surface.
They presented it at the Science Congress 2015, when it did not pass muster because of the incomplete nature of the innovation.
“While doing my master’s in biological sciences at NMIMS, I continued my research on the product-market fit and use of new technology to solve the problem of urinary tract infections. I won Rs 5 lakh in the Chancellors Challenge for the spray that I innovated.
“Once sprayed on any toilet, Hapito, registered under Silvery Nanos Innovations LLP, makes it an anti-bacterial, anti-algal, and anti-biofilm surface. It prevents the growth of germs on toilet itself rather than killing it as other cleaners work,” she explains.
Divya points out that every year 150 million people suffer from UTIs, and one of the reasons for these are public toilets.
She used her Rs 5 lakh award to develop the product further.
“Our go-to strategy started with Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation applying Hapito Silverynanos at the Vashi Bus Depot and other public toilets. We have been on mission of Nari Saaf Toilet Ki Sawari by using Hapito at all Mumbai stations, from Churchgate to Borivali, with the help of ASBB NGO and Mukkti Foundation Smita Thackeray Foundation. Our mission is to prevent UTIs through public toilets,” Divya says.
Hapito, a nano-alloy spray, on application creates a thin film inside as well as outside the toilet, offering bacteriostatic action with antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antibiofilm properties. It saves water up to 55 percent and also protects the environment from harmful chemicals like phenyl, acids etc that cause harm to marine lives. It also has anti-scratch properties with resistance to pH 2-11. The coating stays on the toilets for more than one month. The product helps meet United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3, 6 and 9.
The manufacturing process uses nanoparticles and mixes them with different chemistry for different surfaces.
has a team of seven working at its Mumbai unit, and its co-founders include Jeenal Rathod and Mamta Rathod.
It target clients are government agencies handling public toilets, railways, airports, corporates, schools, colleges, shopping malls and facility management companies. One 100 ml spray covers three toilets for three months and costs Rs 299.
Currently, Silverynanos’ nano-alloy chemistry aspect of the product is its own composition.
Divya believes there are competitors who follow the same marketing strategy but its unique composition is its differentiator.
The founder received a total of Rs 15 lakh in prize money from BIRAC, IIT Eureka, NMIMS Chancellors Challenge, and the RB INGEN Challenge. She also won the second prize at the Reckitt InGen Challenge - where TiE Delhi-NCR & Reckitt recently partnered together, for identifying Indian innovators, with solutions for targeted hygiene needs.
During the pandemic, the Silverynanos’ manufacturing unit had to be shut down twice due to cases reported in nearby factories.
“We managed to do well and also launched more products such as HAPITO++ and HAPISHIELD to cater to the needs of the pandemic. We were also commended by UNDP for our work during this period,” she says.
Divya declined to disclose sales numbers.
She admits that being a woman entrepreneur, especially one hailing from a traditional Marwari family, has been difficult.
However, she believes if you are firm in your decision as to what to do and how to go about your life, you can achieve your dreams.
“Get into the sea, you will see both sharks and boats - choose your boat and set sail. Every experience is a new learning. There are mentors and people to help you along the way,” she says.
Silverynanos’ plan for the future is to scale the marketing of its products in B2C and B2G segments, and also “grow on digital platforms”.
Edited by Teja Lele