Be the change you want to see in the world”, is a motto Arun Subramaniam, CEO and founder of Earthfokus, has adopted in his life. His products are more mission-focused than product-focused. His startup is all about saving water and bringing awareness about water scarcity.
Q1. What was the “eureka” moment for Earthfokus?
Arun: Actually, Earthfokus wasn’t meant to be a startup at first. It started out as a project for my neighbour who asked me to fix her up with some water savers. I thought of attaching a garden sprinkler to a tap, and the output impressed me. I showed this to my professor, and he told me this could be commercialised. After working on it for a year, Earthfokus came to life.
Q 2. What are the strategies of Earthfokus to bring consciousness about their product into Indian society?
Arun: It prepared us well for the challenges because we knew it would be difficult to change people’s mindset. But we always know the value of something after we lose it, so in 2019 after Chennai water crisis, people started realising the significance of water, and that’s when we came into picture with a solution. Major corporations use the most amount of water so when they used our product, they were saving around a crore litre of water every year. As a result, the maintenance cost was reduced, corporations got their investments back in weeks and that’s how they inclined towards Earthfokus. Whereas if we talk about residential areas, people have become more aware of saving water because now people are paying money for water and we can see more people calling up water lorries as the water scarcity increases. The pandemic has also been a catalyst for this awareness, as hand washing has become a daily routine.
Q 3. As hand washing has been a vital anti – covid regime, how has the face of Earthfokus changed since the pandemic?
Arun: Hand washing has been very essential to fight covid, so we are bringing in more affordable water savers ranging from 100 to 150 rupees. With such affordable prices, we can also reach into the rural areas of the country. Our company is also bringing in flow reducers for the showers because the taps are just 24% of the household water consumption. The major culprits are the showers and the toilet seats. We are also designing showers that use 70 to 80% less water.
Q4. Can you give an insight into how your product differs from the usual taps? Which product caters to what is needed?
Arun: Ecomist is ideal for hand and face washing whereas Quamist has two modes, the mist mode is for handwashing and the shower mode is for washing the utensils. Quamist 360 also does the same job, but you can move it around. Eco shower is a product for users just using water savers. We are also bringing in flow restrictors for faucets and showers.
Q 5. You started Earthfokus in 2017. What have you learnt from this period? And what difficulties did you face environmentally and socially?
Arun: It was not a straightforward journey as we were bootstrap. We worked part-time for a year before Earthfokus took off. I used to go for demos and do a lot of market research. Success doesn’t come overnight is my biggest takeaway.
Q 6. Can you share some statistical data on the water and wastage of your products?
Arun: We did a project with Tata Communications and they saved around 96 lakhs litres of water every year by using our product. Our company also worked for Cognizant and they saved around 27 thousand litres every day and our water savers were 60% more efficient.
Q 7. How has Earthfokus contributed to the race for sustainability?
Arun: We have saved around a billion litres of water since 2019 and our goal is to save a billion litres of water every day by 2025. As you save water, you also save energy as a result you save on your electricity bill. Earthfokus products not only save water but are an investment.
Written By: Muskaan Mehta