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H2O treatment 2.0

ABHISHEK LAW
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Harshad Bastikar
Harshad Bastikar

“My head is in water and my feet are in sewage and effluent” is one strange way in which Harshad Bastikar describes his business.

Bastikar is one of the co-founders and CEO of Jaldhara Technologies Pvt Ltd, a 100 per cent owned-entity of Greywater, Mauritius.

The two-year-old Mumbai-headquartered start-up (Jaldhara) specialises in waste-water treatment and water recycling. Its offerings are branded under the name of ‘Grewa’.

In short, a specialised technology company offering waste-water and sewerage treatment and recycling products. But unlike other waste water treatment companies, Jaldhara uses technology to treat wastewater close to where it is generated and reused. The company claims to operate at very low life-cycle costs and perform at high efficiency with no use of chlorine and no hazardous chemicals.

Wikipedia describes grey-water as waste water generated from domestic activities (such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing) which can be recycled on-site.

Perhaps this is also how best Jaldhara’s offerings under the ‘Grewa’ brand (extend the Grewa acronym and one gets greywater) can be explained. Grewa’s offerings range from highly compact plug-n-play to modular ones.

Used primarily in residential and commercial buildings, hospitality and industrial sectors, these pre-fabricated offerings are installed on-site. Reduction in operating costs to conventional solutions, claims the company, have emerged as its USP.

“Currently we are focussing on Indian consumers but have plans to go worldwide soon,” Bastikar adds.

The Beginning

A bachelor in electronics and communications engineering, followed by a management course in Large Account Management & Team Productivity; Bastikar had limited scope to work in the environment arena during his initial days.

His interest was, however, fuelled, when he moved into the field of environmental protection and application technology related to it at Thermax Ltd as its Vice President and SBU head.

“While working on a project during my early days, I got to know how critical wastewater management is. It was then that I started thinking about shifting entirely to the environment industry,” he recalls.

Bastikar, is the common gel that brought together Vikrum Kishore & Nilesh Kulkarni – the two other founders – onboard. Vikram has been the technology guru and Nilesh has been on the Sales side. All three have over two decades of experience with them.

Initial Hiccups

Bastikar’s journey into entrepreneurship had the necessary birth-pangs.

Initially, it seemed like the timing was all wrong. When in 2008 the idea for the company was floated, recession had set in.

How best to use available resources at hand, was the big question to be answered. So Bastikar went about reorganising things.

Massive plants water treatment facilities – that included kilometres of on-site piping, elaborate designs and the works – and other equipment were downsized. Focus shifted on technological innovations.

“We reduced the extent of piping and instead of multiple tanks we got it all to happen within just one tank without compromising on the quality,” he adds.

Funding and Present Day Scenario

But with the ship stabilising, Bastikar has learnt his lessons well.

“Our client list includes some of the biggest names from the industry. In last two years we have booked a substantial chunk of order. And we plan to grow our order book 3 folds by end of next year,” Bastikar maintains.

In February 2011, the Mauritius-listed parent company (Greywater) raised about Rs 9 crore from Nexus Venture Partners. (The funds were used for product and technology application, stepping up operation infrastructure and ‘go-to-market’ requirements.)

Jaldhara today designs, engineers, supplies and installs treatment solutions and systems. They also distribute a full range of water treatment products such as cartridge filters, distillation units and chemical feed pumps.

“The company is looking to raise more capital for implementing its expansion plans,” Bastikar adds.

According to him, the industry is growing at an approximate compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9-12 per cent.

“We are rapidly expanding our sales, distribution and execution teams. We are also looking for opportunities to grow inorganically through an acquisition,” he adds.

abhishek.l@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 15, 2012)
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