While rural fintech and lending startup Jai Kisan was neck and neck with Genrobotic in the first round of voting, the Thiruvananthapuram-based startup pulled ahead as the 11-member jury discussed the novelty of the idea to use robots to replace manual scavenging.
Genrobotic’s ability to deploy its solution with several customers and earn profits while also focusing on rehabilitating workers who lose their jobs to its robots, was a deciding factor for the ETSA 2021 jury.
“Genrobotic is bringing together technology, purpose and profitability, which is rare and extremely valuable,” said Ankiti Bose, cofounder and chief executive of B2B ecommerce platform Zilingo, who was part of the jury. “Their tremendous growth and validation in the market is testament to their incredible vision of replacing humans for jobs no one shouldn’t have to do in this day and age.”
Founded in 2017, Genrobotic’s first product ‘Bandicoot’ is targeted at eliminating manual scavenging in India. Bandicoot is a robot that can clean and maintain sewers. It has two major units — a standing unit and a robotic drone unit, which dives into manholes and sewers for cleaning and unblocking.
The company has already deployed more than 100 such robots for its clients including governments, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, refineries, and private contractors.
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Genrobotic also works closely with sanitation workers, educates them on the technology, and has made its robots as user-friendly as possible, so that sanitation workers can use them with ease.
“This award will generate awareness of what we’re trying to do. We want to completely eliminate manual scavenging in India,” said Vimal Govind, cofounder and CEO of Genrobotic Innovations. “When you look at the sanitation industry, no big development has taken place in the segment. People are using centuries-old technology even today.”
In 2018, Genrobotic
won a competition conducted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for technological solutions to address the issue of manual scavenging. The startup has also been recognised by the Smart Cities Mission that envisages cities to provide core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environment and offer a decent quality of life to its citizens.
Genrobotic Innovations intends to develop robotic solutions to address various other issues and is looking to create robots to replace people where the risk to human life is very high, Govind said. “We are also providing solutions for oil and gas refinery-related problems because that too is a toxic environment.”
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