Alia Bhatt invests in IIT Kanpur incubated bio-leather start-up
Phool.co, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) wellness start-up incubated by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, has announced that Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt is now an investor in the company. However, the company has not disclosed the value of the investment. Earlier this year, Bhatt had also invested in omnichannel lifestyle retailer Nykaa.
Phool.co, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) wellness start-up incubated by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, has announced that Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt is now an investor in the company.
However, the company has not disclosed the value of the investment. Earlier this year, Bhatt had also invested in omnichannel lifestyle retailer Nykaa.
Phool.co also manufactured bio-leather by the name of ‘fleather’ through its floral waste cycling technology. Earlier, Phool.co had raised US$ 2 million in a seed round from IAN Fund, Social Alpha (FISE), Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (San Francisco) and IIT Kanpur.
Founded by engineering graduate Ankit Agarwal in July 2017, Phool.co is primarily focused on the circular economy which converts floral waste into charcoal-free luxury incense and other wellness products.
“Phool incense stands out for its fine natural fragrances and packaging. I admire its vision of making incense and bio-leather from recycled flowers that contribute to keeping our rivers clean, creating a humane alternative to leather and providing employment to women… I’m thrilled to join the investors who are backing the company,” said Bhatt, who has been espousing environmental causes.
Interestingly, Phool.co is also India’s first wellness brand to have ‘Fair for Life-Fairtrade’ and ‘Ecocert Organic & Natural’ certifications. The start-up developed ‘fleather’ by leveraging its flower cycling technology. Fleather is a viable alternative to animal leather, which was recently awarded PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) best innovation in the vegan world.
Phool.co has rapidly expanded its operations and has achieved 130 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth for the past two years.
“The innovative ‘flower cycling technology’ by Phool has brought revolutionary changes. In addition to sustainable and eco-friendly waste flower management, it is helping the uplift of hundreds of women. The Institute is proud to be the incubation partner for Phool,” IIT Kanpur director Dr Abhay Karandikar said.
“Alia's investment is a validation of our efforts and firmly sets us on a path to build a global success story from a tier-3 city. The investment and support will help us expand our footprint globally and also step up the pace of R&D. I can proudly say Phool.co is a business built, led and now even invested in by women,” company founder Ankit Agarwal said.
Phool.co has received several international recognitions including United Nations Young Leaders Award for Sustainable Development Goals; United Nations Momentum of Change Award at COP; Asia Sustainability Award, Hong Kong; Alquity Transforming Lives Awards, London; and Breaking the Wall of Science, Berlin.