When Himanshu Pokharna and Nitin Goel first decided on energy storage for their entrepreneurial stint in the Indian market, they zeroed in on cooling of fruits and vegetables as the first choice. But their focus eventually changed when stakeholders and investors drew their attention to milk being more ‘mission critical.’ The duo had first started working together 13 years ago when they developed cooling technologies for computers at Intel USA. Later Goel moved back to India and worked in a Khosla venture-backed solar company, while Pokharna started a company in the US and made a product – ChotuKool – which did cooling of fruits and vegetables. The founders saw an opportunity with India being the largest producer of milk at approximately 170 million tonnes a year, which was prone to spoilage if not properly cooled in time. “Bulk milk coolers are present traditionally in India, but not effectively used. People don’t turn on diesel generators, so the cooling isn’t instant. This made us look at providing a backup system that could be used as an efficient alternative,” says Goel, co-founder and COO of Inficold, a cold storage solutions start-up that took shape three years ago.
Their vision of social entrepreneurship, and the immense potential that this market offered, made them hold their ground. “We are talking about roughly two lakh bulk milk coolers in India, which translates to a Rs. 12,000 crore market for us. And we are talking about 50 dairies. So it is a consolidated market,” highlights Goel. Positioned as the first retrofittable ice storage for cooling devices, the system can be installed on any bulk milk cooler, air conditioner or cold storage. The idea is to take electricity, convert it into ice and when there is no electricity, use the ice to provide cooling.
(Source: The Economic Times, October 22, 2018)
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