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Meet social entrepreneur Dr. Vibha Tripathi

About Dr. Vibha Tripathi
Vibha is a social entrepreneur working in energy/water segment. In 2014, Dr Tripathi spun off Swajal Water Private Limited as an independent entity from Saurya EnerTech, solar engineering company. Swajal works with communities where technology intervention alleviates critical issues regarding water. Swajal machines, therefore, are solar powered, automated smart drinking water stations. Journeying from being merely a concept, Swajal is now actively providing clean drinking water to more than 5 lac people daily and is responsible for removing more than 2475 tons of plastic from streets annually. Swajal has generated employment for more than 200 people at grass-root level.

MD, Vibha Tripathi - acceptance speech (1)
Dr Vibha Tripathi

Prior to her startups, she was working at the Electrical Engineering department at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. Dr. Vibha Tripathi specializes on the R&D of thin film solar cells and has held a number of workshops and seminars in the field of renewable energy. She has also guided many students in R&D of solar cells. Under her supervision, IIT Kanpur started foray in flexible organic solar cells, a unique idea which has a potential to be a disruptive technology. Dr. Tripathi left her position at IIT Kanpur to be free to solve problems at gross root level using latest technologies and hopes that through her social venture, she will be able to activate and inspire many to join hands and change the energy/water scenario in India.

What is Swajal and how it came into existence
Swajal is a social impact WaterTech venture with a vision of making reliable drinking water accessible and affordable to all. It has created a technology-agnostic point-of-use water system that runs on solar energy and has cloud-based remote monitoring using its proprietary IoT platform. The idea of providing people with clean drinking water came across when Dr. Vibha was deeply moved by the plight of workers that faced considerable challenge while collecting drinkable water on a day-to-day basis. They had earlier installed a water purifier outside our home so that the urban slum dwellers nearby could collect the same. But the queue at this water purifier grew with every day that passed and at times tensions heightened, highlighting the need of clean water in India.

The journey till now
They have established an end to end manufacturing plant,
They have established a R&D team that continues to work on innovative designs,
They have grown to a team of 200+,
They are working on multiple smart city projects including New Delhi, Shimla and Guwahati, We have developed our own proprietary IoT platform to decrease our operational cost

My aim is to create a viable and scalable social impact startup. We want to measure not just financial returns but also social and environmental returns. As a matter of fact, drinking just 1 liter of water from our machine is equivalent to 1 day of a tree’s CO2 reduction. Water is not a challenge of tomorrow, it is a challenge for today. We are already reaching almost half a lakh people daily. said Dr. Vibha

While we are a social impact startup, we have continued to push on innovation and technology. We built the entire IoT ecosystem for our machines ourselves. Since, internet penetration in remote areas can be bad, we are proud to have developed “Desi Jugaad” which we call the frugal IoT system, that runs on encoded SMS between our machine and server rather than internet. We are also using machine learning for predictive analysis and are already working on Deep Learning for doing Root Cause Analysis in future with bigger datasets. Furthermore, we are promoting a very transparent user experience, all of our machines can be viewed online by scanning QR code on machine to see parameters like water quality and temperature. We have already disrupted larger incumbents in water business and how traditionally water utility and water is treated as a product. We are engaged from end to end, from R&D to manufacturing to service, we are involved in the complete process chain to ensure our commitment to reliable and affordable drinking water.she further added

Future plan
In next two years they plan to raise 5 million dollars and impact 20 million people through clean drinking water. The goal is to use this IoT technology to get access to clean water regardless of whether you’re in an area where access to clean water is a serious problem, or living in a place where bottled water is often filled from dubious sources. To fuel a sustainable future, plastic pollution reduces by using swajal water vending machines. You get great tasting water in a recyclable cup in whatever quantity you wish to drink. You also get to check the quality of water that you drink. Water is a resource that is getting scarcer. We have a vast potential of touching millions of lives. Due to  technology agnostic approach and a focus on data and process, they will be able to scale up there system and deploy it in different geographic regions with their unique requirements.

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