Alumni News

These 5 New Startups Are Turning Heads And Changing Minds

Another household necessity that no one wants to talk about are sanitary pads. Periods are pretty much taboo conversation in most cultures, but Saathi Pads are hoping to change the “yucky” into the “yes!”. Saathi Pads are made from banana fiber, so they’re fully compostable and biodegradable. They also are free from bleaches and perfumes so you can easily say bye bye to that nasty pad rash.
https://feminisminindia.com/2019/04/17/these-5-new-startups-are-turning-heads-and-changing-minds/

Biosense: Low-cost medical diagnostic devices, for rural doctors

While volunteering in rural India 10 years ago with several NGOs, Abhishek Sen, a doctor, saw a large number of people suffering from non-communicable diseases but few ways to diagnose them. “There were several families suffering from serious non-communicable diseases. The male would be hypertensive, the female would be anaemic and the kids would be underweight,” recounts Sen, who along with Yogesh Patil, a classmate from TN Medical College and BYL Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai, and a doctor, decided to come up with technology to deal with the problem.
http://www.forbesindia.com/article/innovation-factories/biosense-lowcost-medical-diagnostic-devices-for-rural-doctors/53083/1

Affordable water disinfecting nano-silver paper filters

Folia Water has also just received a $400k contract from Unilever Global Innovation to prove the consumer sales recipe in partnership with the Unilever Bangladesh PureIt team.
https://makingprosperity.com/solutions-details/affordable-water-disinfecting-nano-silver-paper-filters

Smog-busters: Dell uses ink made from pollution

Dell “discovered” Chakr during its 2018 Innovation Olympics competition. Explains Oliver Campbell, Dell Technologies Director of Worldwide Procurement & Packaging, Dell is constantly on the lookout for small companies with innovative new sustainable packaging technologies that it can nurture and support through its supply chain expertise.
https://www.greenerpackage.com/adhesives_coating_inks/smog-busters_dell_uses_ink_made_pollution

Customers Applaud 9mobile’s Iska Weather Service

Customer-focused telecommunications company, 9mobile, has said that its Iska Weather (forecast) service launched recently in partnership with weather forecasting portal, Ignitia, has gained impressive traction among the target users over the short period since its introduction.
https://businesspost.ng/2019/04/10/customers-applaud-9mobiles-iska-weather-service/

Heard About The ‘Smart Kiosk’ That Is Empowering Disabled Women & Improving Lives In Rwanda?

Electricity was unavailable, or perhaps epileptic at best, in parts of Burundi, and his folks lived in an area that was particularly notorious for week-long blackouts. Thus, the locals had to make long trips to neighboring communities that were not as badly hit. And such journeys were not always fruitful – there were days that culminated in futility.
https://weetracker.com/2019/04/03/rwandan-entrepreneur-henri-nyakarundi/

Keurig Dr Pepper to distribute Runa Clean Energy drink

Runa hopes to build itself into the country’s top natural energy drink — and this partnership could help expedite that goal. Runa immediately gains access to Keurig Dr Pepper’s extensive distribution network. For AMI, working with Keurig Dr Pepper is a familiar one: the soda, water, tea and coffee giant already is a distributor of its Vita Coco coconut water beverage.
https://www.fooddive.com/news/keurig-dr-pepper-to-distribute-runa-clean-energy-drink/551772/

TerViva Raises $20 Million

TerViva, an agriculture technology firm commercializing resilient pongamia trees that produce as much as ten times the beans per acre as soy for the supply of plant protein, vegetable oil, and biofuel raised an additional $20 million in its first close of its Series D funding and current commitments.
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/terviva-raises-20-million-in-series-d-to-drive-product-development-and-market-expansion-300818243.html

Jim Sarbh Puts Spotlight On Planet Healers In India

The series Planet Healers on Discovery Channel will deep dive into the journey of how these start-ups are working out innovative technology led solutions to environmental hazards faced in India. One of the first featured companies will be Chakr Innovation, who has created world’s first retro-fit emission control device for diesel generators which can capture over 90% of particulate matter emissions.
https://thecsrjournal.in/jim-sarbh-puts-spotlight-planet-healers-india/

The walk for water

The household consumer brand Nilkamal has launched the innovative “Water Wheel” in partnership with an American firm, Wello. The revolutionary (literally!) design allows women to easily transport the water in a rolling drum eliminating the need for head loading. It has a carrying capacity of 45 litres (more than 2X of traditional methods) and made of durable plastic to withstand long, uneven surfaces while keeping the water hygienic and uncontaminated. The product has been tested for over 2000 kilometres and is leak-proof.
https://www.firstpost.com/india/the-walk-for-water-6307081.html

Making a Difference — and Making Profits

While Tala has a strong mission, Siroya also wants to build a successful, for-profit company. She wants to transform lives and tap into the 3 billion potential customers in the emerging global middle class.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/marissaperetz/2019/03/21/making-a-difference-and-making-profits/#36db3865529b

From Commander to Student to Fellow to CEO

“Prakash’s leadership role at Maternova evolved swiftly based upon his combination of strategic leadership skills and ability to execute tasks and decisions at all levels,” shared Wirth. “We have worked with many, many students, recent graduates, consultants, and colleagues, but Prakash’s immediate understanding of the mission and vision of the company and his business acumen stood out.”
http://entrepreneurship.babson.edu/from-commander-to-student-to-fellow-to-ceo/

A CCAFS-informed public-private partnership reaches 300,000 farmers with climate information

As a result of the trials, Esoko adopted a public-private partnership (PPP) business model proposed by CCAFS to allow the sustainable and equitable dissemination of CIS. The PPP is targeting farmers subscribing to the “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ) initiative introduced by the Government of Ghana as part of its measures to improve food security and employment in the agricultural sector.
https://reliefweb.int/report/ghana/ccafs-informed-public-private-partnership-reaches-300000-farmers-climate-information

Celebrating women innovators

Today, Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate the International Women’s Day. The local theme for this year’s celebrations is Empowering Women Through Innovative Approaches to Social Protection; a Pre-requisite for Inclusive and Sustainable Development. Owen Wagabaza brings you profiles of some Ugandan women whose innovations are changing the world for the betterNatalie Bitature, Musana Carts

https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1495630/celebrating-women-innovators

Confessions of a ‘Shark Tank’ loser

“I lost on ‘Shark Tank,’ and it’s one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Polon says.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/confessions-of-a-shark-tank-loser-210445470.html

Generating electricity for millions: Husk Power bolsters Modi’s dream of power to all

Opportunity, they say, lies in adversity. Manoj Sinha, CEO of Husk Power Systems, could well vouch for this adage when he recalls how he abruptly had to quit his plush job in New York to take over the reins of the company he co-founded in 2008.
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/entrepreneurship/generating-electricity-for-millions-husk-power-bolsters-modis-dream-of-power-to-all/articleshow/68213635.cms

Here’re Top 10 Innovative Indian Companies by Fast Company

Delhi-based Chakr Innovation has secured the 6th position. The innovative startup has developed the world’s first retro-fit emission control device for diesel generators. It uses technology to reduce emissions from diesel generators and bring down air pollution levels.
https://www.indianweb2.com/2019/02/27/herere-top-10-innovative-indian-companies-by-fast-company/

Currently in Kenya about 8 million people lack hygienic sanitation, particularly where community members don’t have access to clean toilets. In Nairobi, a company is tackling the waste problem:

Fresh life toilets are a hygienic, clean facility and Sanergy are also creating a useable by-product from the waste. “Everyday we collect about 10 tonnes of waste from the community which we take to a central processing facility and convert into valuable by-product; such as pure protein which is very good animal feed used by farmers who have livestock.” – Edith Karimi.
https://www.kbc.co.ke/turning-waste-into-organic-fertiliser/

Suntap

Suntap

Suntap was awarded 2nd place for the 2018 Richard Heinberg Sustainability Prizes sponsored by the Foundation for a Sustainable Future. They are currently fabricating the first pilot units of our low …

On the Record: Nicole Van Der Tuin ’07

Financial institutions are trying to reach those people as quickly and efficiently as possible and to offer them credit to be able to grow businesses, [and] basically it’s like a $5 trillion credit gap across emerging markets for small businesses. And so these financial institutions where I was working were struggling to scale and meet the huge amount of demand for credit from customers because they have really manual processes.
https://kenyoncollegian.com/news/2019/02/on-the-record-nicole-van-der-tuin-07/

Back To The Roots Expands With New Funding And Retail Growth

Back to the Roots, the fastest growing organic food & gardening company innovating the way families are connecting with food, announces today its $3M series C led by Central Garden & Pet (NASDAQ: CENT), the country’s leading lawn, garden and pet company. Central was joined by new investor Blue Scorpion Investments, a NYC-based consumer-facing venture capital fund. Back to the Roots will be using the capital to fuel its growth as leaders in the indoor gardening market with over a dozen new products in que to launch in 2019 and thousands of new retail partners including Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Bloomingdale’s, Petco and Costco.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/back-to-the-roots-expands-with-new-funding-and-retail-growth-300799593.html

Back to the Roots has been named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019

The company first became known for its simple and popular grow-your-own-mushroom kits. Now it also has a line of organic cereal, but it’s who eats that cereal that’s most interesting. In 2018, the company finished its first full year as the cereal supplier for New York’s public schools, becoming the first organic cereal ever offered in a U.S. public school system. Now it’s working with Nature’s Path & the Urban School Food Alliance to bring organic cereals to 1 in 5 kids by 2020.
https://www.fastcompany.com/company/back-to-the-roots

8 Mission-Driven Companies Reinventing The Packaged Food Industry

Annie Ryu was inspired to create The Jackfruit Company in the summer of 2011. She was 21 years old and working in India to implement a maternal and child healthcare program that she and her brother had developed. Upon discovering jackfruit, Ryu saw an incredible opportunity to convert an underutilized crop into nutritious, delicious food, while also providing an income opportunity to local farming families.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/meimeifox/2019/02/19/8-mission-driven-companies-reinventing-the-packaged-food-industry/#2ab737751d57

RUR Greenlife

Goregaon residents convert waste-to-wealth, develop fruit-vegetable garden

Monisha Narke, founder and chief executive officer, RUR Greenlife said, “This form of circular economy is highly sustainable and is a holistic solution to waste management. It not just results in waste management but also aids in remediation by replenishing nutrients back to soil, mitigates greenhouse gases generated due to transportation of waste from source to landfills.”
https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/goregaon-residents-convert-waste-to-wealth-develop-fruit-vegetable-garden/story-ypvmMswj4rdk6zvwaQ9DQI.html

Sproutel May Be RI’s Most Innovative Company

Providence-based Sproutel has now developed two remarkable — and successful — interactive, smart stuffed toys to assist children with complex health challenges.
https://www.golocalprov.com/business/Sproutel-May-Be-RIs-Most-Innovative-Company-See-What-CEO-Horowitz-Says-t

CleanChoice Energy Launches Clean Furnace Program

CleanChoice Energy, a renewable energy company that empowers people and businesses to cut emissions and live cleaner lives, has launched CleanChoice Energy Clean Furnace. The new service allows people to offset the harmful carbon pollution created from their home heating and take an important step towards a carbon neutral home.
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cleanchoice-energy-launches-clean-furnace-program-300790835.html

Turning diesel to ink in India

Diesel generators are extensively used in India for power back-up, emitting unburned diesel or soot. In areas where there is no connection to electrical grids, diesel generators are the primary source of energy, and are used on average for eight hours a day.
https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/turning-diesel-ink-india

Soupergirl raising funds to fuel post-‘Shark Tank’ growth

After appearing on the program In October, Sara Polon, founder of Washington, D.C.-based soup company Soupergirl, is riding a wave and prepping to raise somewhere between $500,000 and $1.5 million in seed funding to sustain the momentum, the Washington Business Journal reports.
https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2019/01/soupergirl-raising-funds-to-fuel-post-shark-tank.html?page=all

Tonlé brings zero-waste women’s fashion to SF

This is a process known as zero waste, a radical notion that forward-thinking fashion-industry types are finally waking up to. Faller cuts large scraps down to make clothing like tea-length wrap dresses, coats and tops, while smaller scraps are spun into yarn-like material to be woven into other new clothing. Whatever’s left, even the smallest scraps, is made into gift cards, notebooks and hang tags.
https://www.sfchronicle.com/style/article/Tonle-brings-zero-waste-women-s-fashion-to-13550039.php