IIT Madras incubated firm bags $18 mn investment
The Dollar Business Bureau
IIT Madras’s incubated water technology company InnoNano Research (INR), has bagged an investment of $18 million from US based NanoHoldings (NH). Encouraged with this investment, the Indian start-up may soon expand its presence in the international market.
Using nano technology, INR provides clean drinking water, free from arsenic and fluoride to rural areas affected by heavy metals. This technology was already implemented in more than 700 villages across Punjab, West Bengal and Karnataka. The company plans to cover over 1,500 villages by 2017.
“The presence of arsenic and iron in drinking water affects the health of rural people. We are using latest water technology to remove the contaminants at affordable cost,” said H Anshup, Co-Founder and Managing Director of INR. There is a huge demand for this technology in countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Africa, where water is highly contaminated with arsenic, he said.
The other co-founders of the eight-year-old start-up are Udhaya Shankar and Amrita Chaudhary. They worked on this project with Professor Thalappil Pradeep who is also the head of the research group at IIT-M.
Pradeep said that the investment will be used in the coming five years for various purposes. Out of the $18 million funding, $5 million will be spent on R&D for bettering the water purifying technologies. The company has already received $3.25 million, of which $1.2 million will be used to protect their international patent. It will be spending another $6 million in the next three years.
INR has registered a business entity in Singapore, though operations are yet to commence. Currently the start-up is focussing on global expansion of available technologies and development of new technologies such as trying biological methods. Currently, the company is in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu to remove fluoride contamination, Pradeep said.
He further said, “We can neutralise any contaminant with our ‘All Inclusive Water Purifier’ using nano technology. It costs only 0.80 paise to clean one litre of water. The arsenic contamination can be reduced from 250 ppm (parts per million) to 3 ppm. According to the WHO standards, water is considered to be safe if the contamination is below 10 ppm.”
The Union government’s Department of Science of Technology (DST) has been a driving force behind the start-up. Till now, INR has worked on over 720 installations in the country. The company has achieved a turnover of Rs.2.5 crore last year, and expecting to reach Rs.30 crore this year, he added.