Greenway Grameen Infra, whose high-efficiency smokeless biomass cook stove is making waves, now plans to launch a stove that generates power like an inverter, and a water chiller in the country’s rural areas where electricity is a problem.
The startup, launched five years ago, has also reached Mexico with its smokeless stoves and expects to quadruple its export of about 2,000 units a month in the next couple of years, its co-founder said.
“Our new prototype of a power-run water chiller, which can also run on solar energy, is being tested now. The other new product, a stove that generates electricity, the poor man’s inverter, is expected to be launched later this year,” Neha Juneja, Co-Founder, Greenway, told BusinessLine on Tuesday.
Taking an unconventional route to manufacture cleaner and smarter stoves for nearly 15 crore Indian households surviving below the poverty line (BPL), two MBA graduates, Neha Juneja and Ankit Mathur, had set up India’s largest biomass cook-stove factory at Vadodara, Gujarat, in 2010.With a capacity to make eight lakh “chulhas” (stoves), that use wood and agro-waste as fuel, it has already sold over 2.60 lakh stoves across India, mainly in the southern states, since 2012.
“We now plan to tie up with public sector banks and micro-finance companies to penetrate rural markets more deeply, particularly in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana,” she said.
The Mumbai-headquartered company has already tied up with MFIs in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. “This assured repayment of loans and made us reach out to more villagers. In Kerala, for instance, we sold over 70,000 stoves through MFIs, with most buyers paying only Rs 65 per week.”
Greenway Grameen Infra, an incubatee company of the IIM-Ahmadabad’s technology business incubator, the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), evolved as a profitable product design and distribution startup, aiming to serve rural India through quality-of-life-enhancing home-appliances. With its biomass cook stove, it aims to replace use of traditional mud stoves (chulhas), that adversely affect health and environment and achieve greater scale.
“Our flagship product, the Greenway Smart Stove, is a high-efficiency cook stove that burns all biomass fuels (wood, cow-dung, etc.) while reducing smoke by 70%, fuel use by 65% and GHG emissions by 1.5 tonnes per annum. The USP of these stoves is that they are durable, without moving parts, and are portable,” she said.
Currently, the firm markets two stoves of different sizes, priced at Rs 1,399 and Rs 2,499 apiece, respectively.
The idea of Greenway Cook Stoves was born when Ankit Mathur and Neha Juneja, fresh from the IIM-Ahmadabad and FMS Delhi, were traveling through rural areas to undertake energy projects. The stoves are also certified by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Resources and some subsidy made available in tribal areas.
Greenway was one of the two Indian companies to have won the Ashden Clean Energy for Women and Girls Award at the International Ashden Awards 2014. It received seed funding of Rs 20 lakh from CIIE and another Rs 40 lakh from an angel investor. In addition, the Clinton Global Initiative’s Global Alliance for Cook Stoves, headed by Hillary Clinton, also contributed Rs one crore.
A for-profit product design and distribution company founded in early 2011, Greenway Grameen Infra aims to be the brand of choice in home energy appliances, Juneja added
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