With a graduate degree in engineering from Cisco networking (CCNA/CCNP) Bengaluru, Bhaskar Bhatt had always been dedicated towards resolving social issues in his own capacity. Passion for the same resulted him to establish FoharMalai which is an IOT based waste management company. His start up was selected among the top 4 startup at Seedstar in 2018.
Read more about FoharMalai in this interview with Bhaskar Bhatt.
Tell us about your journey, like what motivated you to come up with FoharMalai idea?
I lived in Old Baneshwor and my office used to be in Thapathali area. Every time I traveled I noticed that the waste dump on the roadsides and the unconcerned nature of municipality regarding the same. They stopped collecting the waste for a long duration and news about the strike kept flashing. This problem compelled me to research on the waste management system. I realized that the government role for waste management was not sufficient and so I decided to work on waste management issue by myself.
During my research I found out that there are ample of organizations working on waste management. However, there is a lack of IOT based waste management system in Nepal. Hence I decided to fill the gap and start an IOT based waste management company – FoharMalai.
What is the product or service provided FoharMalai to solve the problem of waste management?
FoharMalai will be providing a complete sensor based application to the user. Additionally, we will also provide 3 bags with each bag comprising of sensors that will be offered to users as an end product from FoharMalai.
The bags are categorized according to the waste type. For now we have 5 categories which are degradable, plastic, paper, metal and glass wastes. There’s a feature available of push notification which enable the users to notify once the bags are full. Purpose of sub categorizing the waste type is to segregate the waste which would lead to responsible dumping and smart recycling. For now, we have just launched the website and are still working on developing an app for Android and IOS. Currently, FohorMalai is just an idea which is still in the development phase right now.
What social problem are you trying to solve through your company?
Problem of wastage exist worldwide and relatable to each and every one. Report published by World Bank states that, a person generates 320 grams of waste per day in Kathmandu and at present, an individual generates 820 metric tons of waste from which 90% of the generated waste goes to landfill.
Our goal is to reduce the wastes that otherwise is sent to landfill by adopting a recycling process. We want to bring a behavioral change in the individuals in terms of reducing waste starting from their household itself via segregation. This will enable them to realize that even a simple waste generated from home can act as a source of income, so why not start from the households and set an example for current as well as future generation.
What are the initial challenges you faced while working on starting your company?
We are still at the introduction stage and haven’t launched our product yet. We faced challenges at the time of research phase especially when approaching municipalities. I observed that many other waste management companies are facing challenges such as syndication in waste management system. Knowledge about waste segregation is insufficient among people. Referring to the government, it has no set of rules and regulations, moreover not even an initial support to make a waste management company run efficiently. Not just government even the private companies are least concerned about resolving the social issue. All they care about is competition and profit making. I believe businesses should collaborate and find a full proof solution together.
What is the legal status of your venture?
FoharMalai is operating under a parent company named Digital Nepal Group (DigNep) which was registered in October 2018.
How many people are currently working in the company?
We are currently 10 members in the team who are part of Digital Nepal Group and everyone contributes towards the development of FoharMalai
What are your key needs to convert this idea into venture?
As of now, I would say funding would be my key need so that we could provide our services to the customers who would be willing to buy the bags and aspire to bring change in the society.
What is the future plan of the company?
My future plan is to expand this service by covering the whole Nepal. For now, we are planning to expand in Dhangadi. I have a friend in USA who is trying to approach for the IOT waste management system so we will see how it goes. .
Do you consider yourself as a social entrepreneur?
Although I am working for society, I do not prefer referring myself as a social entrepreneur.
Interested in learning more about FoharMalai? You can reach Bhaskar Bhatt at firstname.lastname@example.org or check their website.