PadCare Labs, a Pune-based start-up for sustainable sanitary waste processing and recycling, has closed on a Rs.5 crore seed funding round led by Social Alpha with strategic investments from Lavni Ventures, 3i partners, Rainmatter, and Spectrum Impact.
PadCare plans to utilize the seed capital to expand the operating geographies in India and beyond in the next 24 months, majorly to set up decentralized material recovery centres. The clean-tech start-up will also continue to invest heavily in advancing its patented 5D recycling technology and for product commercialization.
PadCare’s unique recycling technology closes the loop of the menstrual hygiene economy by generating recyclable output out of used pads, which would otherwise take up to 800 years to decompose. The recycled output is further used to make paper and plastic-based objects. They also provide pad vending machines to enhance the accessibility to menstrual products.
PadCare recently appeared on Shark Tank India Season 2 and generated great interest from the judges Peyush Bansal, Namita Thapar, Vineeta Singh and Anupam Mittal. Shark Peyush Bansal offered them a blank cheque on the show, it was a first in the history of the show and became the biggest sensation across the country.
Commenting on the seed funding round, Ajinkya Dhariya, Founder and CEO, PadCare said, “It’s truly amazing to be trusted by more than 250 corporate clients in just two years of commercializing our technology. Our special sanitary pad disposal bins and vending machines are already serving 1 million menstruators in the country. With the seed investment, we look forward to expanding our sustainable menstrual hygiene management services to residential buildings and communities. We have set up two sanitary waste material recovery centres now and aim to commission six more by FY2023. We’re also working towards creating markets for reclaimed pulp and plastic.
Smita Rakesh, VP and Partner, Social Alpha said, “Solving the issue of waste management and working towards a circular economy has been one of the key focus areas for Social Alpha. We are excited to be a part of PadCare Labs’ journey since the company is tackling environmental, economic, and social challenges related to menstrual waste, an often ignored waste category. There is a significant need to ensure that used sanitary pads are disposed of in a safe, hygienic, and sustainable manner which current methods like incineration, composting, etc., do not address adequately. Padcare Labs is addressing forward and backward linkages related to menstrual waste management and enabling a circular economy. We believe their proprietary technology to recycle used pads is a game-changing innovation that can disrupt the market and have significant social and environmental impact in the coming years.”
Vasu Guruswamy, Partner and Co-founder, Lavni Ventures said, “Being an impact-first investor, we have found it particularly exciting that PadCare services are capable of improving workforce productivity through better health and hygiene outcomes for women. As more and more women are joining the workforce and contributing to the economy in India and across the globe, PadCare addresses a pressing need for sustainable solutions to the disposal of used sanitary pads. PadCare technology and service innovations based on the unique circular economy model enable companies to offer gender-friendly workplaces and allow women to choose convenient menstrual hygiene products, thus minimizing the environmental impact”.
Kumar Ganapathy, Co-Founder/Director, 3i Partners said, “We are excited about our investment in PadCare. PadCare’s sustainable sanitary waste processing and recycling fit well with our mission of combining technology and social impact for the benefit of communities at large. Our fund is instrumental in bringing global capital and markets to promising social entrepreneurs in India.”.”
Viraj Joshi from Rainmatter said, “We are thrilled to be associated with PadCare as it tackles the challenging but important problem of recycling menstrual hygiene products. PadCare’s unique approach of recycling used pads and generating economic value from those struck a chord with us. At Rainmatter, waste management is one of the core themes we aim to support. PadCare is in line with that mandate. We have confidence in their ability to make a positive impact on the environment, build a new niche in circular economy, and create a better future for all”.