Phool.co, India’s first biomaterial company and fragrance-focused wellness brand, has secured $8 million (Rs60.5 crore) in a Series A round from consumer-centric venture fund Sixth Sense Ventures. Existing investors Alia Bhatt and the IAN fund also participated in the round.
Phool.co is a flower recycling technology firm founded in 2017 by engineering graduates Ankit Agarwal and Prateek Kumar. It makes patented organic fertiliser and charcoal-free premium incense items from flower waste collected from temple garbage dumped in rivers.
The Kanpur-based firm collects floral trash from three Indian cities, including one of the country’s largest temples (Kashi Vishwanath), preventing 13 tonnes of discarded flowers and harmful chemicals from entering the river each day. The garbage is handcrafted into trademarked charcoal-free incense by self-help women’s groups.
Trell was in talks for a new round of funding last year, but it was halted after a whistleblower raised concerns about financial mismanagement at the Bengaluru-based business with Sequoia Capital.
According to sources, Sequoia, a common investor in both Trell and AppsForBharat, launched an investigation into Trell after the business got a term sheet from BestsellerIndia, which owns brands including as Vero Moda, Jack & Jones, and Only, valued at $750 million, up from $120 million.
By bringing innovation and a digital-first strategy, Phool.co was able to get into the centuries-old incense industry. It is the first direct-to-consumer wellness brand in India to receive the prestigious Fair for Life-Fairtrade and Ecocert Organic & Natural certifications.
Aside from that, the IIT-backed firm invented Fleather, which is “leather manufactured from flowers.” The business hopes to disrupt the $550 billion global leather goods sector by making animal leather obsolete with its economically viable vegan replacement.
Phool intends to use the funds raised to expand operations, investigate untapped local and worldwide growth prospects, and establish itself as India’s leading fragrance brand. It also wants to quickly scale up its R&D efforts to replace animal leather with Fleather, a vegan equivalent.
The startup has previously secured $2.5 million (Rs19 crore) in a pre-Series A financing from IAN Fund, Tata’s Social Alpha (FISE), Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, IIT-Kanpur, and Alia Bhatt. Phool has expanded 130 percent year over year and established the unexplored online incense category by focusing on white spaces in India’s unorganised, unbranded fragrance market.
Published By : Revathy G Sanal
Edited By : Subbuthai Padma