In the last issue Biotech Express has covered biotech startup expo which was held in June 2022 and inaugurated by PM Modi in Pragati Maidan, wherein hundreds of biotech startup showcased their products and services. Continuing the series, in this issue we are covering a startup that has gained special attention after pandemic due to their hygiene-based products. Here we discuss the journey of a founder and company with Dr. Rachna Dave who left her permanent job for starting an entrepreneur journey and now successfully fulfilling her endeavor.
“The pandemic has changed the way people and industry prioritise hygiene and infection control practices. MicroGO has developed disruptive smart solutions and has implemented digital hygiene practices. We are here to break the perception of hygiene practices being an expenditure and turn it into an investment”.
Lead Investor of MicroGO
In this article we are presenting excerpts that came out after discussion with Rachna about her entrepreneur journey. Here they are…
So, Dr. Rachna, what’s your story? what is your educational and professional background?
I have done PhD in Microbiology from Sardar Patel University, Gujarat and then had foreign education exposure from New York before I joined Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) at Kalpakkam, Chennai as DST fast track young scientist, where I was promoted as Scientist in short span.
During the end of 2015, I realized that infectious diseases is a growing concern of public health. These are considered to be third among top ten factors for human mortality. There are several factors like increased global travel, lack of organized approach in sanitation management, lack of scientific approach to attain hygiene etc.
What was the idea and motive behind beginning an entrepreneur journey when you had job in hand?
Keeping many of the major factors in mind as discussed above, in May 2016, I left my permanent job and started MicroGO LLP which initially was a R&D based start-up that focuses on designing delivery systems to mitigate microbes with focus on Health and Hygiene. The idea behind was to create best hygiene solutions.
At that time, Govt. of India took great initiative of supporting ideas and entrepreneur and I realized that my idea has potential of becoming a reality while serving our country and people.
With the support of BIRAC BIG, MicroGO LLP first built a no power/water requiring portablelight weight alternative to autoclave that can be used for sterilisation of surgical instruments.
Tell us how you went forward translating idea into a product and company
The company was started from a very small scale. We were housed in Golden Jubilee Biotech Park in Chennai where we began our journey of innovation in 2016. From the inception to 2019 we took huge R&D efforts and created effective products which focused on providing smart, assured, and sustainable hygiene solutions to curtail virus led infections.
The company piloted its technologies with anchor customers from 2020. In 2021 the company started process for product commercialization and now in 2022 we are looking forward for sales and marketing activities to reach more and more personnel.
After COVID we have got handsome support from DBT-BIRAC, DST, IKP-Hyd, TANSIM and international agencies such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation among many others which led to our manufacturing department. Last year we also presented our startup to PM Shri Narender Modi in Startup Prarambh Summit on “Micro Swacchhta”. In this summit we talked about the waste and dirt that is not visible with naked eye but is more harmful than ordinary waste that we can see.
Today, we have35+ team members who are working hard for the growth of company and putting efforts in providing solutions to our clients.
What are the products your company is making?
Our products range includes automated hand-hygiene compliance solutions, raw water treatment, wastewater treatment, surface cleaners and fruits and vegetables treatment. MicroGO assists industries to reduce hand hygiene expenses by 60%, saves water consumption by 50% and use smart solutions to maintain compliance and remotely monitor the hygiene ecosystem.
The company recently launched GOassure™ Lite, India’s first smart hand hygiene station which assures good hand hygiene practices, compliance monitoring, and automates hand hygiene. MicroGO’s products have been granted patents in as low as 90 days- one of the fastest patents granted in India.
About financial growth of the company
I am fortunate that I could get support from govt of India, without which it was not possible to build a company like this. Though it was difficult to arrange funds initially, but now I can say that we have come out of break even, we have got excellent results where we made the investments.
In first three years we invested in R&D and came out with great products, then we invested in manufacturing and commercialization and now we have product ready for sales and now we are focusing on sales and marketing and I am confident we will achieve good results in near future.
MicroGO recently raised pre-Series A funding of INR 6 crore from angel investors. The funds will be utilized to strengthen sales and marketing activities and to expand their presence in Delhi & NCR, Gujarat, Mumbai and Maharashtra & Kolkata.
Who are the target customers of your company?
Our products are for prevention which is first line of defense against infectious diseases and is better than cure. We are targeting companies and outlets that need hygiene on bigger scale like hospitality industries and hospitals. For example in food industry, in case of any adverse event the whole lot can be rejected if even a small microorganism growth appears in starting material. Similarly, a hygienic environment in hospitals can prevent unnecessary and unwanted infections.
At present, MicroGO’s hygiene-based solutions are used by leading businesses across industries like food & beverages, healthcare, pharma, commercial and residence complexes and hospitality industries. Some of our prestigious clients includes Airport Authority of India, Indian Army, IHCL (TAJ and Vivanta), IRCTC, Way Cool Foods, Bigbasket, Apollo Hospitals among many others.
Since many companies are working on hygiene products, what is the edge of your company?
Our company has smart products that work in automation, like in the absence of operator too, I don’t think if anyone else can give you this advantage . In case of any problem the customer will be alarmed and then can access information through mobile and rectify in minimum time while sitting at other place, I think this is not possible with any other such product in the market.
If we talk about our services we are pushing efforts to provide best services to our clientele. Since no product is 100% advanced, we work with our customers to make our products more effective and in this way we always look at every query of customer. Our service team works 24×7 and be always ready for any complaint.
What is the Cost of products your company offering and how much is it affordable by general public?
We have whole ecosystem of disinfection. For example, in kitchen one needs to clear feet and then clothes and then hand washing, so we have different solution to different problems. To give an idea, for 20-30 people in kitchen who prepare food for 5-600 people in three shifts the average cost is only 40-50 thousands per month for entire hygiene portfolio which is negligible if hotelier want their customers’ prevention from diseases. Adding here that this whole package is completely digital i.e., the steps can be verified online on dashboard from remote places too.
How do you see future of your company?
I believe we are on the right path with right kindof products and services. Our products are required by all industrial sectors as well as residential complexes where hygiene is not only necessary for production but for the safety of people too. The confident of investors in our company reflect that we are on right path and our company will go enormously in near future.