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Life with an Upside Down Umbrella

It only took the Godrej COO a few minutes. ThinkPhi’s Ulta Chaata is nothing like we have ever seen before, and it’s saving money for anyone who uses it. That’s a good enough reason to learn more about this unique piece of green tech.

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The Ulta Chaata was created by ThinkPhi, whose founders are husband-wife duo Samit and Priya Choksi. This is Samit’s take on their innovation along with his two cents on raising funds for market-untested ideas.

Purpose of Ulta Chaata

To deliver clean water, energy and the value of sustainability which is either limited or non-existent. Ulta Chaata was built to make green technology look good.

Dimensions of Ulta Chaata

Height of 3.2 meters which can be extended to 4. Setting it up will require an area of about 0.5 square meters on the ground. That’s all you need for a 25 square meter top cover and shade from the canopy. It has been engineered so that we use minimum real estate to provide maximum benefit.

Price of Ulta Chaata and cost to manufacture it

Our current model is built using a high grade of steel and a technical textile with a coating to repel dirt, costs between 1,600 rupees and 2,000 rupees per square foot. It costs us the same to build it (smiles).

[an Ulta Chaata may cost about 486,000 rupees]

How much can be saved by using the Ulta Chaata (in rupees or MWs)?

It’s varies from site to site. Each customer's resource costs are different. But we target to provide you an ROI in one year.

Who are the competitors?

We have no competitors at this point because comparable green technology is either dull or not visible. They lack design and visibility in an open space. When do you see a factory displaying their solar panels as you enter the main gate or right outside as a showcase? We are a high value product because we offer the appeal that other environment technologies do not.

Where have you installed these Ulta Chaatas so far?

We have over 40 installations and it’s growing fast. The applications vary from corporate parks, IT campuses, public parks, factories, to hospitals.

Godrej was one of the early believers in Ulta Chaata; can you tell us how you connected with them?

Priya was speaking at a conference where the Godrej COO happened to be. This was the beginning of Ulta Chaata. We knew we had a product which was validated; we only anyway went out and validated it 10 more times till date across different customers and now we have a company.

How did you approach your angel investor? Also was he convinced right away?

Nobody is convinced on innovation right away.

It took time, we managed to bootstrap ourselves till investment came in. However as Mr. Prasad who is our lead investor told us he was betting on two people who had passion in what they did. So I believe at the early stage people will first bet on the team, then idea, and finally financials (which are just an excel sheet until you have real world validation).

How long did it take you to develop the product?

Initially we moved slowly as both of us (his wife Priya and he, Samit) were doing different things. We first completed our other projects before starting on this in 2016. So it took us about 6 months to get the current version out. Then we spent another 3 months or so testing and now we are adding features.

We actively started marketing around September 2016 when we knew we were ready. Product development takes time because you have to worry about longevity on whatever you deliver. Also design cycles can be short in the office but supplier cycles to find the right vendors which meet our standards took a while.

Is this product viable for households? If so any estimate of how much a household can save?

Again savings is site dependent. As of now we are marketing to companies. The home market is something we are exploring but it will not be for the Indian market.

Tags assigned to this article:
ThnkPhi Ulta Chaata Godrej Sustainable Tech

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