Startup Namo E-waste Management is minting money from your scrap
This Faridabad-based e-waste management startup has seen splendid growth in the past two years.
When people come to know about my business, their reaction usually is: Kabadiwala,” says Akshay Jain, Founder, Namo E-waste Management, an e-waste recycling startup. Mocking though hasn’t discouraged this 28 year old. “Snide reactions have simply motivated me to change the image of the traditional Kabadiwala to that of a recycler with professional degrees and an organized setup,” he says.
Jain was doing his MBA from Greenwich University in the UK where he first saw how organized waste management worked. “Waste was properly segregated, identified and disposed of according to specified norms across the UK. I was inspired by the robust recycling mechanism in place and wanted to do something similar in India,” he says.
After graduating, Jain returned to India and, in January 2014, founded Namo E-waste Management. “I focused on e-waste because of a near total lack of awareness about it and also because it is the fastest growing solid waste stream here,” he says. It took almost an year to get the logistics in place and the company stated operations in August 2015.
Less than two years into its operations, NCR-based Namo E-waste now has a presence to 12 states and Union Territories through its e-waste collection centres and channel partners. “We have been able to reach 70% of the e-waste generated in the country,” says Jain. The startup has entered into contracts with large corporates to collect their e-waste.
Some of the prominent clients include Flipkart, Havells, Voltas, TataSky, Godrej and Telenor. The company also has a B2C vertical and collects e-waste from housing societies, resident welfare associations and individuals. It is looking to expand its B2C business further and is in the process of launching an app, Planet Namo, to facilitate collections from individuals. “We have found that people are even willing to donate their low-value e-waste for charitable causes. There’s a market out there,” says Jain.
The e-waste collected by the company is segregated and usable devices are refurbished. These are then sold through online marketplaces and a dealers’ network. The waste which is of no use is broken to extract commodities like copper, aluminium, iron, etc., which are sold to foundries.
Seeded with an investment of Rs 2 crore— the major chunk was invested by his father, who is a sleeping partner in the venture—the startup generated a revenue of Rs 4.4 crore in 2016-17.
Namo E-waste’s challenge has been countering the lack of awareness among people about e-waste disposal, competition from the informal sector, and high costs. While a more efficient e-waste collection system has reduced logistical costs, little awareness on how to responsibly dispose of e-waste continues to be a challenge.
“Due to the lack of awareness, e-waste is mostly routed to unorganised players, who may offer a better price but do not adhere to the proper recycling norms,” says Jain. Namo E-waste, which has run awareness campaigns to educate the people on this issue, has received welcome help in the form of the government’s thrust on waste management. “The government is coming up with massive reforms in handling of e-waste, and the intent shown in the recent times for waste management across the country has boosted our morale,” says Jain.
Winner of the ‘Best Green Startup’ and ‘Refurbisher of the Year’ awards by Franchise India, Namo E-waste is now looking to set up a precious metal recovery plant to extract gold and silver from e-waste. “This will make us one of the most prominent e-waste management facilities in the world,” says Jain.