Start-Up Diaries: How mentorship helped this innovative water conservation firm

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 28, 2019 21:22 hrs
Faclon Labs

Water scarcity is a problem affecting every continent. Socio-economic factors and asset deterioration owing to climate change are putting further strain on the worlds already constrained water assets.

By 2025, 1800 million people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity and two-thirds of the world population could be under stress conditions according to WWAP 2012.

India, while not yet a water scarce nation, is currently under ‘water stress’ and a recent report by NITI Aayog predicts that 21 Indian cities will run out of groundwater by 2020.

These already scarce water resources are further depleting with human-made scarcity by uneven distribution, pollution, wastage and unsustainable management. This calls for immediate intervention for better resource management by creating better civic infrastructures.

At Faclon, we leverage technology using data mining technologies and predictive analytics to create more efficient infrastructures across rural and urban India addressing key interruptions in this space for commercial complexes, industrial corridors and municipalities alike.

We do this by:

Optimized water distribution

The IoT enabled device tracks the supply of water and available energy to provide insights on local water consumption patterns, making possible a more efficient distribution of water monitored through our connected assets solutions.

Optimize water management

An estimated 163 million people out of India's population of 1.3 billion lack access to clean water, according to a 2018 report by WaterAid, an international water charity.Fluid management and detection of leaks is critical to avoid exposing water resources to hazardous contamination and water pollution.Our connected processes offer a smart distribution network with control and tracking done from a central set-up, allowing for a more proactive management.

Partners on our journey of a thousand miles

Bringing about civic infrastructural change in a country as vast, as populous and as diverse as India is a gargantuan task. But the growing Indian economy which is set to become the second largest by 2030, the growth of supportive and inclusive ecosystems, coupled with a crowded and competitive marketplace also undeniably make India a strong test base to build a robust product owing to the challenges it throws at you.

At the start, our focus was solely our product and all energy was directed towards building capacity, and finding the right partners for hardware procurement and technology fabrication.Deeply understanding our customer’s need at this point was a blind spot which threatened to became our bottle to scaling up our operations.

As the team grew, the need to build specialization and optimize operations led us to seek intervention from Marico Innovation Foundation (MIF). We were very fortunate to get the counsel of Dr. Ravi Mariwala and his team. The insightful expertise of Marico’s internal mentors identified by MIF, helped in the following areas:

  • Streamlining Operations: moving from unorganized and insufficient internal processes, we got exposed to the best practices being followed in industries. And with the support from the mentors, we were able to transform the industry best practices to fit in a startup’s structure and help better manage communications and resources.
  • Building Capacity: We saw a significant jump on the capacity to provide our products from a mere 4-5 products a day because of a lot of manual intervention required to 40-60 products a day as per the requirements.
  • Standardizing internal processes: Setting up processes to effectively communicate and track responsibilities from the business team till the fulfilment team.

Apart from gaining a better market understanding and making a stronger connect with the customer, our engagement with MIF taught us how to effectively understand and innovate for an evolving customer.

We weighed the suggestions to implement best practices from Marico which we thought would benefit Faclon and in 2.5 years of operations, we have accomplished an average of 20% MOM (month on month) growth in past 1 year itself.

Faclon offerings of IoT enabled device solutions are deployed across 100 plus locations spanning 50+ cities in India with different levels of engagement to help build efficient water management systems.

As we move forward with the aspiration to pioneer into the natural next step of digitizing the civic infrastructure in India, we can safely say that the intervention of mentor organizations can prove game-changing as start-ups are perpetually up against the two constraints of time and money, and mistakes can prove costly.

Finding a champion who was invested in our growth story helped us deepen and widen the impact of our innovation and has paved the way for us to further build on our expertise and scale-up.

Rishi Sharma, the author, is the Co-Founder of Faclon Labs. The Marico Innovation Foundation is a mentor to Faclon Labs.