IAN Fund backs biomaterial startup Phool.co in $1.4 mn bridge funding round

IAN Fund backs biomaterial startup Phool.co in $1.4 mn bridge funding round
(From left) Phool.co founders Prateek Kumar and Ankit Agarwal  |  Photo Credit: Phool.co
28 Aug, 2020

Kanpur Flowercycling, which owns and operates biomaterial startup Phool.co, has raised $1.4 million in a bridge funding round, dubbed a pre-series A round.

The round was led by Indian Angel Network (IAN) and San Francisco, California-based venture capital firm Draper Richard’s philanthropic unit, the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a statement said. It did not mention the other participants in the round.

The Kanpur headquartered firm said it will use the fresh funds to advance its research capabilities and scale operations.

Founded in 2017 by engineering graduates Ankit Agarwal and Prateek Kumar, Phool.co recycles spent flowers to manufacture and supply products such as charcoal-free incense sticks and plant nutrition. The digital-first brand retails online on its own website as well as ecommerce platforms, and sells in physical shops in select cities as well. 

“Phool.co is a sustainable solution to the monumental temple waste problem in India. Through our efforts, we aim to build natural alternatives to synthetic chemical-based products by using deep-tech and research. We are perhaps India’s first natural incense brand taking a digital-first approach and have a first-mover advantage as bio-leathers are barely available in India,” founder Agarwal said.

The startup, which recently expanded operations to Tirupati, has also leveraged its flower cycling technology to produce animal leather alternative Fleather.

During Covid-19, the company said it sourced flower waste directly from distressed horticulture farmers to aid them financially amid the pandemic. 

“Innovative solutions for the sustainable development of community is the need of the hour. Phool.co‘s circular economy model brings triple bottom benefits of environmental, social and financial sustainability. Ankit and Prateek are passionate entrepreneurs with an innovative product for a sustainable world,” Padmaja Ruparel, founding partner of investor IAN Fund, said.

Set up in 2006, IAN has a portfolio of over 120 companies across seven countries. It has backed firms such as early-stage technology startup Data Sutram, augmented reality company for fashion StyleDotMe and energy analytics startup MinionLabs

Listen: IAN Fund’s Padmaja Ruparel on virtual dealmaking and backing the right founders during the Covid-19 crisis

Phool.co earlier raised Rs 3.38 crore in a seed funding round from Tata Trusts-backed Social Alpha and DRK Foundation, along with IIT Kanpur and Balmer Lawrie.