Indian Startup wins the Sustainability Cluster Award at Falling Walls Venture 2019!

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Kanpur Flowercycling Pvt. Ltd. won the Sustainability Cluster Award at the Falling Walls Venture 2019, for their groundbreaking innovation, Florafoam. With Florafoam, they aim to break the wall of toxic Styrofoam – the 5th biggest pollutant in the world.

They do this by upcycling temple flowers that would otherwise be disposed of in rivers, polluting them severely. They also upcycle farm waste and contribute to reducing the air pollution that results from burning of crop residue.

Florafoam is thus a solution to the three-fold problem of environmental pollution, waste disposal and socio-economic sustainability.

I think the simplicity of scientific hypothesis and its impact on the environment helped us win. Florafoam is breaking the wall of environmental pollution and social vulnerabilities. At Kanpur Flowercycling, we hire manual scavenger women of Kanpur for sorting temple flower waste. The unique overall impact on people and planet made us stand out among other participants.
Himanshi Singh, Research Scientist, Kanpur Flowercycling Pvt. Ltd.

About the Falling Walls Venture 2019

Falling Walls Venture is an international platform showcasing the most promising research based start-ups from all over the globe. Nominated by renowned universities and leading research institutions, 20 emerging companies pitch their breakthrough business models at a unique event that celebrates the vast entrepreneurial potential in science and fosters the community of scientist-entrepreneurs.

The startups were categorized into three clusters – engineering of the future, healthcare, and sustainability. One winner was chosen from each cluster. The top three finalists, including Kanpur Flowercycling Pvt. Ltd. then competed for the prestigious title of the Science Startup of the Year, which ultimately went to Felix Biotechnology from the USA.

Three startup nominations from India – one in each cluster – had made it to the finals of the 2019 edition the Venture, held in Berlin on 8th November. Each of the three teams comprised of two members, one person representing the startup itself and the other representing the nominating institution/university.

Cluster: Engineering of the Future

Startup: Scidogma Research, represented by Mr. Tapas Satya, Founder and Director

Nominating institution: Chitkara University, represented by Dr. Nitin Saluja, Associate Director of Research

Cluster: Healthcare

Startup: Janitri, represented by Mr. Arun Agarwal, Founder

Nominating institution: Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), represented by Dr. Sivashanmugam Karthikeyan, Assistant Director

Cluster: Sustainability

Startup: Kanpur Flowercycling Pvt. Ltd. represented by Ms. Himanshi Singh, Research Scientist

Nominating institution: IIT Kanpur, represented by Ms. Aditi Kumar, Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC)

The German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) New Delhi financed the Berlin trip for the three teams from India to contest at the Venture. The DWIH New Delhi, managed by the DAAD, is an academic partner of the Falling Walls Foundation.

In her brief interview with us, Himanshi Singh also thanked the SIIC at IIT Kanpur for the nomination and described her experience at the Venture as “inspiring.” She was amazed by the “diversity of scientific backgrounds” of the participants, “and how it unites people from different cultures and professions.”

Her tip to budding entrepreneurs, who are looking to address global issues with their innovative ideas is “to be curious, excited and never stop believing in science. Make the pitch simple and explain your work with its overall impact on the world. Science can break boundaries and if you are confident on what you can do, sky is the limit.