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The Tech Panda takes a look at seven startups that are doing their best to make a difference in the environment.

Yesterday was World Environment Day. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and held annually since 1973, this is one of the most significant days for the environment. Celebrated by millions of people across the world, this year, Sweden hosted the day with the campaign slogan ‘Only One Earth’ that focuses on ‘Living Sustainably in Harmony with Nature’.


Read more: CII webinar counters concerns about Indian govt’s push for 20% ethanol blending


In June, research by the job site Indeed showed that jobs in the Environmental, Social, And Governance (ESG) sector have grown over 468% in India in the past three years, between April 2019 to April 2022. The number of job posts grew 154% compared to the previous year when the expansion of these roles was 97%.

The positions advertised varied from engineers and research analysts to consultants. Healthcare and pharmaceuticals, BFSI and consulting sectors indicate hiring the most when it comes to ESG roles, while sectors like mining, FMCG and manufacturing are yet to catch up.

Companies have now also started looking at specific qualifications in jobseekers for such roles, including degrees in fields like energy, environmental science, sustainable business management, environmental studies etc.

This rise in demand for ESG jobs indicates that the idea of letting values guide a company has been growing over the last decade and has really taken off during the pandemic

This rise in demand for ESG jobs indicates that the idea of letting values guide a company has been growing over the last decade and has really taken off during the pandemic. Demand for ESG roles grew over sevenfold in 2020-2021 as compared to 2019-2020, the year COVID-19 started spreading across the globe.

This demand might continue to rise as more sectors incorporate the functions into their organisations and make sustainability and community relations a key part of their actions.

While companies are prioritising sustainability initiatives, several startups have cropped up with the intention of sustaining and protecting the environment.

The Tech Panda takes a look at seven startups that are doing their best to make a difference in the environment.

BRIGHTBLU

BRIGHTBLU is a young and dynamic company with a team of different nationalities and diverse backgrounds that wants to create impact at scale in transitioning the world to electric mobility. It offers a suite of integrated intelligent charging solutions consisting of hardware, cloud enabled services and support for drivers of electric vehicles and charging station owners.

Wybren van der Vaart, Co-founder and CEO, BRIGHTBLU, says, “We focus on the Indian market, which is an enormous market where urban air pollution is a massive problem, and on exports to the European market. We need to transition to a clean energy future and enable the adoption of sustainable transportation through the use of electric vehicles.

We need to transition to a clean energy future and enable the adoption of sustainable transportation through the use of electric vehicles

“Our products are a part of the solution. Our current strategy with onboarding a strong and focused new shareholder creates momentum for our vision to become a global supplier of high quality intelligent charging solutions that accelerate the global adoption of electric vehicles.”

Philosophy

The company’s mission is to enable everyone to drive an electric vehicle by making charging easy, accessible and affordable.

Growth Story

The startup has developed and designed the entire intelligent charging technology stack in-house and the investment will help fund further in-house research and development of both plug-and-charge and vehicle-to-grid solutions.

The team is also in the process of setting up new high-tech research and development centre in Pune where the funds will be used to hire talent and create new cutting-edge charging technologies.

Cercle X

Cercle X is focussing on creating a B2B marketplace that connects key players (brands, consumers, MRFs, aggregators, recyclers, logistics partners, manufacturers) across the waste value chain, thereby improving access to quality waste, enhanced traceability, and transparency.

Their vision is to create a world without ‘waste’

The startup is a tech enabled waste management firm which enables the industries to sell to authentic recyclers and also collect waste from the public through EPR and process it efficiently to achieve zero waste to landfill goal. Their vision is to create a world without ‘waste’.

Stats

Solid waste generated in India daily is 2.76 lakh MT. 58k MT of solid waste that could have been recycled (paper, plastic, metal) is dumped daily without processing. Even with thousands of kabadiwalas, recyclers, aggregators across India, the waste management sector is largely unorganized. Movement of waste is untraceable, and commercially unviable to collect and reprocess materials.

Philosophy

Treating waste through sustainable solutions is the need of the hour in India and across the globe. The startup with its deep experience, knowledge and passion in the waste management space promises zero waste to landfill by optimising the current waste/resources in hand.

Their vision is to create a unified ecosystem for management and transformation of waste into valuable products, thereby enabling a circular economy. This platform aims to conserve the planet and at the same time empower thousands of waste warriors associated with the company.

Origin

The startup was co-founded by Vishnu Vardhaan and Divya Shetty in Jan 2020.

Growth Story

The startup aims to provide differentiated offerings in the B2B waste management space via its waste management services platform Think Trash that would connect various players in the existing value chain for easy pickup-delivery of waste, supply of recycled raw materials and supply of recycled/waste transformed products.

It has tie-ups with 700+ vendors and channelizes 500+ MT of recyclables each month.

It also executes EPR mandates for 20+ large corporates/brands and works directly with 50+ governmental agencies and ULBs. Since its inception in 2020, they have delivered successful EPR mandates, supply contracts to aggregators, recyclers, and major industrial manufacturers.

Some of its achievements include being declared as the Impactful Cleantech Startup of the Year, 2021 by FICCI, Emerging Startup of the year, 2021, by Government of India (MeiTy), NASSCOM & United Nations and being a partner of the United Nations Global Partnership for Marine Litter (GPML).

GPS Renewables

GPS Renewables is a Bangalore based cleantech that focuses on biomethanation technologies to solve the organic waste management challenge, accelerate substitution of fossil fuel with bioenergy and play a key role in mitigating climate change.

Untreated organic waste streams, ranging from urban waste to paddy straw, are one of the biggest contributors to global warming and it poses serious health concerns for the current and future generations alike

Mainak Chakraborty, Co-founder and CEO of GPS Renewables, says, “Untreated organic waste streams, ranging from urban waste to paddy straw, are one of the biggest contributors to global warming and it poses serious health concerns for the current and future generations alike. Climate positive solutions to these problems are the need of the hour, and that’s where GPS’ bioenergy solutions suite comes in.”

Origin

The company started off with a captive biogas product called the ‘BioUrja’. The firm was founded in 2012 by IIM-B graduates Mainak Chakraborty and Sreekrishna Sankar.

Growth Story 

Today, the company has 100+ BioUrja installations across South Asia, with Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Bosch, Cummins, Saint Gobain, Reliance, and several other leading hospitality chains such as Oberoi, Taj, ITC, Marriott, Hyatt and Accor Groups as clients.

The startup has successfully expanded its capacity by over 5000x over the last couple of years, thereby positioning itself as the go-to project integrator in the bioenergy space, covering BioCNG, Bioethanol and Green Hydrogen.

Recently, it commissioned Asia’s largest BioCNG plant based on SSO (Source Separated Organics) in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, which was inaugurated by Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Setup over 15 acres of land, this biogas plant is expected to produce 17 tonnes of BioCNG everyday from 550 tonnes of organic household waste.

Nearly 400 city buses in Indore will soon run on the BioCNG generated from this biogas plant. The company is in the process of setting up the world’s largest BioCNG plant in Hyderabad in association with project development partners from Japan.

Edgegrid

EdgeGrid is building a fully-integrated technology platform to enable the energy transition for last-mile customers, namely household, small businesses, commercial building owners and electric vehicle charging networks. Its platform enables last-mile customers to consume energy efficiently and generate energy locally. Further, it works closely with energy distribution companies and distributed energy generators to reduce their costs and expand renewable energy penetration for the entire ecosystem.

The Hyderabad based startup is building a digitally connected energy network that delivers on-demand clean energy at a fraction. It is a marketplace platform re-shaping the last-mile delivery of energy which rewards consumers for supporting climate-friendly power and responsible energy usage.

We believe that a consumer-centric-model instead of a centralized-model is the only viable solution to make this energy transition more sustainable and profitable

It is on a mission to create one energy cloud platform, “The Energy Cloud of India”, where everyone can connect, transact and create value. EdgeGrid is changing the way energy is produced and consumed.

Sunil Talla, Founder and CEO, EdgeGrid says, “Having been in the energy space, it has become apparent that a shift in the way we produce and consume energy is essential. We believe that a consumer-centric-model instead of a centralized-model is the only viable solution to make this energy transition more sustainable and profitable. To have a material impact, you need to be willing to go where the emissions and losses are and hence focus on the last mile.”

Philosophy

India’s energy sector is at a crossroads as it ambitiously targets transitioning towards net zero without compromising the long-term sustainability of its grid. To achieve this transition, India will have to reimagine the way it generates, distributes and consumes electricity at both the grid and local level.

Further, this transition must be financially viable for its incumbent utility companies that are currently facing over $60 billion in accumulated losses – a majority of which come from serving last-mile customers.

Origin

The startup was founded in 2020 by Sunil Talla and Prasad Yerneni, second-time entrepreneurs in the energy space in India. Sunil was later joined by co-founders Mushtaq Ahmed, Neeraj Sansanwal and Vamsi TP.

Pi Beam Electric

Pi Beam Electric, a vertically integrated EV as a service platform for logistics and commute applications provides green micro-mobility EV solutions for logistics and commute with data driven insights which ensures reliability to any company which requires last mile delivery.

Visakh Sasikumar, Founder and CEO, Pi Beam says, “We are disrupting EV as a service business model with an integrated EV ecosystem platform, which connects the dots to provide reliable and scalable services. With control over the EV products, their financing and their O&M, and our deep EV know-how we can seamlessly deploy EV-as-a-service for various applications.

With control over the EV products, their financing and their O&M, and our deep EV know-how we can seamlessly deploy EV-as-a-service for various applications

“Currently we provide services to leading E-commerce companies, food delivery unicorns and last mile supply chain companies. We are really excited about the huge opportunity that lies in front of us thanks to the exponential growth in the EV market.”

Origin

The startup was founded by Visakh Sasikumar and Manu Iyer. The startup had pivoted to build India’s leading V ecosystem platform with deep EV knowledge, gained by selling more than 1000+ EVs in the B2B market.

Growth Story

Pi Beam is currently present in Bangalore and Chennai with 100+ EVs in the fleet. Expanding rapidly to Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi, they plan to increase the fleet to 2000 by next financial year. The startup has collaborated with IIT Madras for continuously integrating cutting edge EV technologies. By collaborating and partnering with all the major OEMs, new age EV technology companies, charging infra companies, Pi Beam is accelerating its vision of making “Everything Electric” in the true sense.

Zypp Electric

Zypp Electric is an Indian tech-enabled EV-as-a-Service platform, which delivers groceries, medicines, food, and e-commerce packages from point A to point B through their fully automated IoT and AI-enabled scooters which are low on maintenance and high on performance.

The startup’s business model is to make carbon-free last-mile delivery for local merchants to e-commerce giants to delivery executives and thereby reduce delivery cost and pollution on an asset-light model

The technology tracks batteries that can be replaced at Zypp swapping stations which are installed at key touchpoints. Eco-friendly EV services also reduce the cost per delivery and help to make the city pollution-free. Currently, it has over 5000 and increasing Zypp EVs and Pilots (delivery executives) working towards this mission.

Origin

The startup was founded in 2017 with a mission zero-emission and to make India carbon-free by using an ecosystem of Electric Vehicles and EV-based technology to make last-mile logistics sustainable and emission-free.

Philosophy

The startup’s business model is to make carbon-free last-mile delivery for local merchants to e-commerce giants to delivery executives and thereby reduce delivery cost and pollution on an asset-light model.

Growth Story

The startup is growing its user base on Zypp rentals at 300% month on month with the plans of expansion and investment on more scooters under its fleet. The company is not just the leader in the last mile delivery EV model but with 5000+ active EVs, it has provided a sustainable solution to the gig workers in the country.

It has already partnered with all industry leaders in the e-commerce segment across logistics, grocery, food, and pharma sectors – like Z?omato, Swiggy, BigBasket, Amazon, Myntra, PharmEasy, Jiomart, Delhivery and Spencers to ensure sustainable last-mile delivery for the country.

Being EBITDA positive is also a crucial parameter to foresee Zypp’s growth. As a growing startup, the company has planned its cash-flow very tightly to meet the investor’s expectations and gain users’ trust.

BGAUSS

BGAUSS, an electric two-wheeler company promoted by the promoters of RR Global,

provides scooters that are a combination of trailblazing design and intuitive/ AI- enabled technology also offering comfort, low maintenance, great power, quick charging, IOT and more features that make everyday life easier and more convenient.

We are committed to our mission of providing high-performance, safe and intelligent electric scooters

Hemant Kabra, Director, RR Global and Founder and Managing Director, BGAUSS Auto Pvt. Ltd. said, “BGAUSS has seen tremendous growth and success from our existing products, in the last two years, which gives us confidence to expand our business and product offerings. We are committed to our mission of providing high-performance, safe and intelligent electric scooters.”

Philosophy

EVs are the future and like any new technology-based products, there will be a learning curve for all players. BGAUSS has a long-term orientation towards all aspects of the business ranging from product development, vendor ecosystem or its dealership network and this thought process is different as compared to many other players we have come across in the industry.

Origin

Launched in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, the startup develops all the components like the motor, battery, vehicle control unit etc. in-house, keeping long term business interests, safety and consumer requirements in consideration.

Growth Story

The startup has a range of dynamic, stylish, premium-yet affordable electric scooters, which have been well-received by satisfied consumers across the country. Its first product, D15, will be launched soon and another exciting product later during this year. The brand is also strategically expanding its dealer network PAN India, actively scaling up operations and looking to target the export market.

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