Eco BioTraps Eyes Getting Listed On BSE SME Platform

Having raised capital in 2022 at Rs 25 crore valuation, it hopes to go for another fundraising round at Rs 100 crore valuation in the coming months
Prasad Phadke, co-founder, Eco BioTraps
Prasad Phadke, co-founder, Eco BioTraps

While hanging out with his friends at a bar in the US, Prasad Phadke saw a flurry of mosquitoes buzzing around. This happened to be the week when the country was besieged by news about the West Nile outbreak, which mosquitoes cause.

While swatting away the pests, Phadke got his a-aha moment—he realised that they weren't a problem just in tropical countries, but a global one. Since repellents could not control them effectively, he figured the only way to resolve this issue was by nipping it at the source.

He collaborated with Binal Shah and Nitin Khope to launch Eco Biotraps as a for-profit social enterprise in 2019. The attractant and insecticide in its biodegradable devices get mixed with water, attracting female mosquitoes to lay their eggs, thereby disrupting the mosquito breeding cycle.

By attacking the source and targeting the multiplication rate of mosquitoes, the device reduces the mosquito population drastically. Explaining why source reduction is important, Phadke stated that one mosquito bite can create 3 crore mosquitoes within 30 days. Just like the COVID-19 pandemic was overcome by breaking the chain, a similar scientific approach is required to mitigate dengue and malaria cases.

“Since its inception, Eco BioTraps has protected 944,000 lives, reduced carbon offset by 170 metric tonnes, and diverted 70 sq feet of landfill. It was recognized for its innovation and impact at 2023’s National Social Innovation Conference in Pune, emerging as a winner out of over 200 applications,” Phadke said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vector-borne diseases cause more than 700,000 deaths worldwide annually; it accounts for more than 17% of all infectious diseases in India. According to the National Center for Vector Borne Diseases Control (NCVBDC), at least 1,368 dengue deaths have been reported in India from 2017 to 2022 and the country reported 193,245 cases in 2021, resulting in 346 fatalities. As of December 18, 2023, the WHO reported 146,878 suspected dengue cases in India, including 68,346 probable cases and 688 deaths.

To date, the startup has collaborated with local administration agencies. It partnered with Rentokil PCI to deploy its traps in a defence establishment in Karnataka, which reduced dengue cases from 50 to just five within a month. The company claimed that the strategic use of its products prevented a potential surge to 200 cases, and by the subsequent month, there were no new reported cases.

In a similar vein, the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation, confronted with 40 instances of dengue, reached out for aid from Eco BioTraps and Rentokil PCI. Following the strategic deployment of these traps, the number of cases plummeted significantly to a mere 3, with only 5 fresh cases surfacing. This proactive measure effectively thwarted the anticipated surge to 200 cases.

For the past several years, Dharavi topped the charts for the number of dengue cases in Mumbai and the rest of India. Eco BioTraps has actively worked to bring down dengue cases in the suburb.

“According to the 2023 data, Dharavi no longer tops the chart of Dengue Disease Incidence suggesting that the biodegradable passive device is doing its work,” Phadke claims proudly. “This year with the support of BMC’s incubator Smile and the Insecticide Branch of the Public Health Department, we’re now expanding this initiative into 18 clusters.”

A quarter of a million Eco BioTraps have been shipped and are being used pan-India with its clientele including municipal corporations, CSR organizations, residential societies, hospitality companies, hospitals, schools, corporates, factories, colleges, and food processing units.

“We started from a capacity of 5000 pcs per month and have now reached 100K pcs per month. We’re ramping up production to deliver 1 Million Units per month for this year,” Phadke said.

Last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation partnered with Smile Council and Eco BioTraps to test a specially designed waterproof biodegradable trap that can destroy the eggs and larvae of mosquitoes. While the results of this initiative will be published in April 2024 in a scientific journal, Phadke is unwilling to comment on whether the startup has procured an order for its products following the test project for 2024, since it is under legal non-disclosure for the commercial terms of the order.

Eco Biotraps’ products have been patented in 50 countries. It is now preparing for significant expansion into international markets for FY25 such as Malaysia, Nepal, Africa, and China. “For FY25 our goal is $ 5 million in revenue, up from $200,000 last year. We already raised a round in 2022 for Rs 25 crore valuation and hope to go for another fundraising round in April 2024 at Rs 100 crore valuation,” Phadke said.

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