Team ROHA Biotech

IIT Madras, Bio-Incubator

ROHA Biotech from IIT Madras Bio-Incubator was developing a biodegradable packaging material by harnessing the weaving properties of mushroom mycelium, and by using agricultural waste, such as sugarcane bagasse, cereal hay, and sawdust.

The bio-material thus produced, called MycoComposite, is resistant to water and fire, while also possessing great compressive strength. The team aspired to rake in moolah by disrupting the 50-billion-dollar packaging industry of India, while also doing their bit for the environment by protecting marine life from plastic pollution.

The learnings for the team at GDC were profound. It realized that environmental conservation was not a priority for most business establishments, except among the small but growing tribe of eco-friendly brands. The team also explored their options in the e-commerce and consumer electronics industry, to understand if the pain caused due to in-transit damages would work in their favor. However, they learnt that the cost of such damages was negligible for manufacturers.

While listening through the conversations, the team realized that many stakeholders had suggested exporters as potential customers. Team Roha left GDC with evidence about the two segments they wanted to explore further – exports and eco-friendly brands.