Uravu Labs is a Bangalore-based startup on a mission to build sustainable water solutions for the climate adaptation era. Using the potential of technology and design, the company aims to deliver measurable environmental and social impact by transforming how humanity sources and distributes high-quality drinking water that is accessible to all.
Incepted in 2019 by Pardeep Garg, Swapnil Shrivastav, Venkatesh R, and Govinda Balaji, Uravu Labs is dedicated to building a new type of atmospheric water generator that is 100% renewable. Some of the investors of the startups are Speciale Invest, Peter Yolles (EchoRiver Capital, US), Soren Schroder (US), Shigeru Sumimoto (Conselux Corporation, Japan), and Tomoki Kaneko (Kaneko Cord, Japan).
Here, Venkatesh R, Pardeep Garg, and Swapnil Shrivastav, co-founders, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:
DQ: Elaborate on the current situation of the Make in India scheme.
Venkatesh R: The Make in India scheme was launched with 3 primary objectives – creating 100 million jobs in the manufacturing sector by 2022, increasing the sector’s share of the GDP to 25 per cent by 2025 and ensuring it achieved an annual growth rate of 12-14 per annum.
The Make in India scheme has not achieved its goals yet, the growth rate of manufacturing averaged 6.9% per annum between 2014-15 and 2019-20. The share of manufacturing dropped from 16.3% of GDP in 2014–15 to 14.3% in 2020–21.
Some achievements of the Make in India program includes growth in sectors like aviation, chemicals and petrochemicals.
Numerous sectors come under the Make in India scheme and is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the renewable energy sector under which Uravu comes. A total of 150 GW of renewable energy capacity (including large hydro) has been installed in the country till November 2021. Projects of 63.64 GW capacity are under various stages of implementation and 32.06 GW capacity are under various stages of bidding.
Startups like Uravu Labs being in the hardware and manufacturing space, can take advantage of the Make in India scheme.
DQ: What is your contribution to the sector in India?
Venkatesh R: In a densely-populated country like India, water has always been an issue. Groundwater is among the most used non-renewable resources. Almost 85% of Indians utilise groundwater for drinking purposes. With the industrial revolution pacing up, tons of groundwater is being allegedly used by the industries.
The depletion of groundwater has exceeded 100% in states such as Delhi (120%), Haryana (137%), Rajasthan (140%), and Punjab (166%). Experts have noted that India is fast moving towards a groundwater crisis and nearly 60% of all districts in the country have issues related to either availability of groundwater, quality of groundwater, or both. There have been alternatives to reduce this, although viable, but are not completely clean and do have an effect on nature in one way or the other.
This is where Uravu steps in to give a sustainable alternative solution to the depleting groundwater resources by offering 100% renewable water. Uravu’s technology utilizes the abundantly available moisture from the air to produce clean potable drinking water.
Uravu is also contributing to Sustainable Development Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) by constructing more resilient and green infrastructure to reduce environmental impacts. Uravu system can reduce the use of freshwater in beverages and other industries by 20-50% in a short span of time.
DQ: What is your offering for the local and global markets?
Pardeep Garg: Uravu’s primary aim is to transform the global beverage industry. The USD 2 trillion beverage industry consumes more than 1,500 billion Liters of water per year, which not only contributes to the depletion of groundwater but also affects the life of the communities completely dependent on groundwater.
Groundwater is cheap and loosely regulated, making it highly attractive to beverage companies. The industry is growing and so is its dependence on groundwater. Analysis of the water footprint of the top 20 beverage companies suggests that more than 45% of water is sourced from non-renewable groundwater by these companies.
Uravu will be deploying its first 5 LPD pilot projects with AB InBev( World’s largest brewer ) by the end of April 2022, and Uravu has got a Letter Of Intent (LOI) from Moonshine Meadery (India’s first mead beverage company).
We are also in conversation with Coca-Cola, Radico Khaitan (India’s 3rd largest manufacturer of alcohol), Kirin Holdings (Japan, $13.68 billion), and Suntory (Japan, $18.7 billion) for a paid pilot with Uravu.
With respect to the rooftop segment, Uravu will help companies to meet their goals of sustainability, either by incorporating sustainable practices within the organisation or by partnering with them to create a social and environmental impact. This will allow us to widen our network and build confidence in the 100% Renewable Water Infrastructure, which will allow us to secure bigger corporates and beverage clients.
Uravu has also made traction with corporates who are looking to go 100% sustainable and eco-friendly, and renewable water is one of the pillars to achieving corporate sustainability. We are in touch with Mittal Builders, Novozymes, Accenture, Parekh Logistics, SMEC, and ZOHO, Murugappa group for providing them with 20-100 LPD pilot orders.
The revolution in the water sector will begin from the local markets in India and eventually grow globally as Uravu’s water is derived from the air through renewable energy sources, making it highly sustainable. It is geography agnostic and thus can be installed and scaled up in any environment.
Further, Urvau’s water is affordable and is available in two different business models for businesses as per their needs. In the Direct Asset Sales (DAS) model, Uravu’s system can be directly purchased and installed by the companies whereas, in the Water-as-a-Service (WaaS) model, companies can partner with Uravu in various ways and use our product. It is no secret that water is required in every sector of the growing economy.
DQ: As the funding slows down, how can startups building for India keep pace?
Swapnil Shrivastav: India is often described as “the poster child of emerging markets” for its vast commercial potential for startups. In a country with a population of nearly 1.3 billion people, even niche products can have significant market potential and those products can be fairly traded in the global marketplace.
Foreign direct investments can be a good way to bring more investment to Indian startups solving global problems and “Make In India” also supports this. A TOI article states that “India has emerged as the fastest-growing startup ecosystem and the third-largest resulted in USD 81.7 billion foreign investment in FY20-21.” creating a way forward for innovative startups like Uravu Labs.
Water is a basic need of every individual and depletion of the groundwater is a major problem. We are trying to provide the solution to it through our 100% renewable water and thereby reaching out to Indian and foreign investors. It provides Uravu with an edge over the other companies working in the same space as sustainability along with scalability is the need of the hour and Uravu takes care of both.