Direct-to-consumer (D2C) home fragrance and wellness brand Phool.co has raised $8 million in a new round from consumer-focused venture fund, Sixth Sense Ventures.
Phool.co, India’s first biomaterial company and fragrance-focused wellness brand, has secured $8 million (Rs60.5 crore) in a Series A round from consumer-focused venture fund Sixth Sense Ventures. Existing investors Alia Bhatt and IAN fund also participated in the round.
Phool.co is a flower recycling technology firm founded in 2017 by engineering graduates Ankit Agarwal and Prateek Kumar. It makes proprietary organic fertiliser and charcoal-free premium incense items from flower waste gathered from temple garbage dumped in waterways.
The Kanpur-based firm presently collects floral trash from three Indian towns, including one of the largest temples (Kashi Vishwanath), preventing 13 tonnes of discarded flowers and harmful chemicals from entering the river each day.
Through the ‘flower cycle’ technique, self-help women’s organisations handcraft the trash into proprietary charcoal-free incense sticks and aromatic oils.
By introducing innovation and a digital-first strategy, Phool.co delved into the centuries-old incense business. It is India’s first direct-to-consumer wellness company to be certified by Fair for Life-Fairtrade and Ecocert Organic & Natural. Aside from that, the IIT-backed firm created Fleather, which is “leather made from flowers.” The startup’s goal with this economically viable vegan substitute to animal leather is to disrupt the $550 billion global leather goods market and render animal leather obsolete.
“In a short time, our modest efforts have managed to create a dent in the Indian fragrance industry. Phool as a brand today is synonymous with luxury fragrance products on account of our unwavering focus on superior product experience, and honest ingredients. We plan to transform the global home fragrance market, and build a distinct brand with our product range,” says Ankit Agarwal, founder of Phool.co.
Phool intends to use the funds raised to develop operations, seek untapped local and worldwide growth prospects, and establish India’s largest fragrance brand. It also intends to swiftly scale up its research and development activities to replace animal leather with Fleather, a vegan alternative to animal leather.
According to Nikhil Vohra, founder and CEO of Sixth Sense Ventures, “a clear shift to natural and sustainable alternatives is creating a strong demand for Phool’s products, and the under-penetrated home fragrances industry presents a large, white space to be exploited.”
“The brand’s premium and international appeal can be easily leveraged across the globe, presenting a huge untapped opportunity for Phool’s certified, Indian-origin products. Its moonshot, Fleather, is a game-changing innovation, and presents a massive opportunity.”
Alia Bhatt, an actor, who is known for her environmental initiatives, says, “Phool incense is now my chosen gift for the most special occasions. The natural fragrances and packaging are exquisite. Less chemical and floral waste mean cleaner rivers, so these products are also a gift to our planet. I believe Phool will be an important global aromatherapy story to emerge from India. And the company’s plant-based leather will also be a more humane choice for the world’s top luxury brands. As a Phool customer and as an investor, I’m putting my money where my belief is.”