Chakr Innovation and their retrofitted emissions scrubber for diesel generators has raised ₹19 crore (USD $2.7 million) in series A funding. The bulk of the investment comes from Indian Angel Network (IAN) Fund, a seed venture capital fund that invests in technologies for agriculture, health, finance, education and others. The startup plans to use the investment to expand into at least a dozen cities in the next year and a half.
Newest edition to #IANPortfolio in sustainable development: Chakr Innovation.
Leading the Series-A funding round for the startup, #IANFund underscores its commitment of supporting innovative technology in Cleantech sector. #ICanWithIAN #IANPortfolio pic.twitter.com/R3rXpO2LMW
— Indian Angel Network (@ianetwork) June 6, 2019
Chakr’s innovation may be a first, a soot scrubber that can retrofit onto the exhaust manifold of huge diesel generators. Many of the generators that the startup is targeting are used to keep mobile phone towers operating during frequent blackouts. These backup generators are among the worst polluters in the country. In 2011, Delhi’s diesel generators spewed 382 tons of carbon dioxide and 2123 tons of particulate matter into the air, one study found.
Chakr’s scrubbers capture about 70 percent of the particulate matter, trapping it in a liquid solution for safe removal and transport. Rather than simply disposing of the liquid soot, Chakr converts the waste byproduct into ink for graffiti and t-shirts, and it may have a future in industrial pigmentation. The idea has captured imaginations and proven to be a smart marketing tactic. One shirt design, for example, reads “This shirt is printed with pollution.”
Chakr has been involved with Engineering for Change since shortly after its launch in 2016. Co-founder Arpit Dhupar consulted with members of E4C to improve his pitch for the emissions control devices, then went on to win a spot as a finalist in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Innovation Showcase in Bengaluru, India. From previous reporting:
Two months after his success at iShow, Arpit made his pitch to the India Innovation Growth Programme. IIGP is an innovation accelerator headed by the Indian government, Lockheed Martin, Stanford Graduate School of Business and others.
“I am delighted to tell you guys that our startup was ranked at 3rd position all across the nation,” Arpit says. He was gracious to attribute some of that success to E4C.
“One of the judges said that they had placed us among the bottom 10 startups by reading our concept note, and it was the presentation that made them reconsider our case and shift us to the third spot. After hearing this, all I could think of was you guys! It was your valuable feedback that made the pitch deck presentable,” Arpit says.