Alia invests in waste-flower recycling startup

Kanpur: Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt has invested in Phool.co, a start-up backed by IIT-Kanpur that converts floral waste into charcoal-free luxury incense products.

Founded in 2017 by engineering graduate Ankit Agarwal, Phool.co has also received Fair for Life – Fairtrade and Ecocert Organic & Natural certificates.

Using its ‘flowercycling’ technology, the start-up has also launched a product that it calls ‘Fleather’ — an alternative to animal leather made with flowers.

In the media release announcing the investment, Alia is quoted as saying: “I admire the founder’s vision of making incense and bio-leather from recycled flowers, thereby contributing to keeping our rivers clean, creating a humane alternative to leather and providing employment to women in India’s heartland.”

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Previously, Phool.co had raised $2 million in seed funding from the IAN Fund (New Delhi), Social Alpha FISE (Bangalore), Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (San Francisco) and IIT-Kanpur.

Speaking on the investment by Alia, the IIT-Kanpur Director, Abhay Karandikar, commented: “The innovative ‘flower cycling technology by PHOOL’ has enabled sustainable and eco-friendly waste flower management, and the uplift of hundreds of women along the way.”

Phool.co has received the prestigious UN Young Leaders Award for Sustainable Development Goals, UN Momentum of Change Award, Asia Sustainability Award Hong Kong, Alquity Transforming Lives Awards, London, and Breaking the Wall of Science, Berlin.