top of page

ALIA INVESTS IN IIT KANPUR BACKED D2C START-UP PHOOL.CO THAT MAKES NATURAL INCENSE AND BIO-LEATHER, an IIT Kanpur-backed D2C wellness startup, today announced that Alia Bhatt is now an investor in the company.

Founded by engineering graduate Ankit Agarwal in July 2017, is an innovative startup focused on the circular economy which converts floral waste into Charcoal free Luxury incense products and other wellness products. The startup is also India’s first wellness brand to have Fair for Life- Fairtrade and Ecocert Organic & Natural certifications. With deep-tech research, the startup has also developed “Fleather'' leveraging their flowercycling technology. Fleather is a viable alternative to Animal leather which was recently awarded PETA’s best innovation in the Vegan World. has rapidly expanded its operations and has consistently achieved 130% YoY growth for the past two years. vision is backed by strong RnD efforts and is based on sustainable development goals focused on creating a circular economy, promoting sustainable consumption, and bringing dignified livelihoods.

Speaking on the latest investment, Alia Bhatt, who is known for her environmental initiatives, said, “Phool incense really stands out for its fine natural fragrances and amazing packaging. I admire the founder’s vision of making incense and bio-leather from recycled flowers that contribute to keeping our rivers clean, creating a humane alternative to leather and providing employment to women in Bharat’s heartland. I’m proud that these products are created in Bharat and wowing the world and I’m thrilled to join the investors who are backing the company.”

Earlier this year, Alia Bhatt had also invested in Nykaa, the omnichannel lifestyle retailer stating the three reasons she chose the company were its Bharatiya roots, its global scale and that it was founded by a woman.

IIT Kanpur had invested in and nurtured the company, while it was at the idea stage. Speaking on the latest development, Dr. Abhay Karandikar, Director IIT Kanpur said “I am indeed delighted to know that PHOOL has secured this funding. My heartiest congratulations to Ankit Agarwal, Founder & CEO, PHOOL and his team. Innovative ‘flower cycling technology by PHOOL’ has brought revolutionary changes. In addition to sustainable and Eco-friendly waste flower management, it is helping the upliftment of hundreds of women along the way. IIT Kanpur is proud to be the incubation partner for PHOOL."

Ankit Agarwal, Founder said,“At we aim to drive systemic change through innovation. Alia's investment is a validation of our efforts and firmly sets us on a path to build a global success story from a tier 3 city. The investment and support will help us expand our footprint globally and also step up the pace of RnD. I can proudly say, is a business built, led and now even invested in by women.”

Professor-in-charge of the Technology Business Incubator of IIT Kanpur, Professor Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, recollected, “I distinctly remember it was a morning of January 2018 when Ankit visited my office & explained his idea which I immediately liked. Ankit mentioned that he has idea and funding but no infrastructure. Thanks to BIRAC funded BioNest SIIC had all the relevant infrastructure and Ankit was allowed to start using the facilities from the very next day. This is how the incubation of PHOOL started at SIIC, subsequently SIIC helped the company recruit top quality talents from the campus, assigned dedicated infrastructure for the company.”

Speaking on the latest development, Manoj Kumar, Founding Partner, Social Alpha (FISE) said, “Ankit has truly demonstrated how passionate entrepreneurs can solve some of our most complex problems with their disruptive innovations. The team has the rare combination of empathy, audacious goals, extraordinary resilience and flawless execution to build and scale a sustainable business model. will only grow bigger with time”

Speaking on the latest development, Padmaja Ruparel, Founding Partner, IAN Fund said, “Innovative solutions for the sustainable development of the community is the need of the hour.‘s circular economy model brings triple bottom benefits of environmental, social, and financial sustainability. Ankit is a passionate entrepreneur focused on a large market and value creation for both customers and his team.”

For its endeavors to make innovative and sustainable products, has received several international recognitions including the prestigious United Nations Young Leaders Award for Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Momentum of Change Award at COP, Asia Sustainability Award Hong Kong, Alquity Transforming Lives Awards, London and Breaking the Wall of Science, Berlin

Earlier, had raised US $ 2 Million in a seed round from IAN Fund, Social Alpha (FISE) and Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (San Francisco), and IIT Kanpur.

bottom of page