Kunjpreet Arora, Co-Founder and Director, Angirus
Udaipur-based Kunjpreet Arora and Lokesh Puri Goswami wanted to work on a project in the circular economy. Their idea was unique: To replace clay-based red bricks with sustainable, high-quality bricks. After years of research, they came up with ‘Wricks’, sustainable bricks that can reduce the overall construction cost of a project by 20 percent by deriving its raw material from waste.
“First, we started by manufacturing cubes. Once we realised that the results were good, we moved to create an exact replica for bricks,” says Arora, co-founder and CEO of the company. They realised the brick industry is one of the largest sources of air pollution, responsible for almost 9 percent of the total carbon emissions in India. These sustainable bricks have the same use-cases as bricks and can be used in all mainstream construction projects—be it commercial or residential. “Wricks are 40 percent stronger than bricks, 80 percent waterproof, 30 percent lighter and made entirely with waste,” she adds. While red clay bricks take 14 days to be made, the manufacturing of Wricks only takes a day.
Though Arora and Goswami started working on Angirus in 2019, when the pandemic hit they had to pause operations. In the last year, government grants and CSR funding helped them get back on track. Later, the startup raised an undisclosed pre-seed funding from CIIE and angel investors with which Angirus has started manufacturing Wricks at full-scale at their in-house facility in Udaipur. Says Arora, “We are currently looking at the green building sector, which is also getting a lot of encouragement from the government, and selling directly to contractors and builders.”
Sustainability is what makes Wricks stand out, but getting the end-user to shift from clay bricks—being used for thousands of years—to this new product, has been a challenge. “It has been tough, but we have seen a few people willing to experiment, maybe not for the main load-bearing, but for secondary structures such as partitions or storage rooms. Once they gain confidence in using our Wricks, they might want to use them with mainstream structures,” she says.
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The company is currently at a pre-revenue stage, but they are working on three pilot projects across the country, with orders of 20,000 Wricks. “Last year,” she says, “we created a 10x10 ft room using Wricks, which could withstand all seasonal changes as well.” Additionally, testing has also been done by government-accredited laboratories, and have seen positive results. In the next 6-8 months, Angirus’ target is to start selling the bricks to builders and contractors and gain their trust.
(This story appears in the 24 February, 2023 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)