Ask the Climate Startup is an interactive series we run at CLIMAFIX that derives key insights from innovative climate startup founders on many different aspects of their startup journey. (See all posts at Ask the Climate Startup)

This series is done as part of the CLIMAFIX Summit 2023, India’s largest climate startup summit, organized by CLIMAFIX & Energy Consortium – IIT Madras.

In this post, we have Divanshu Kumar of Solinas Intergrity sharing his perspectives.

CLIMAFIX thanks Divanshu Kumar for his valuable inputs.


1. Are you a first, second, or later-generation entrepreneur?

First generation

2. What has been your previous work or professional experience?

Previously, I haven’t worked full time in any company. But I’m a Co-founder of another non-profit startup Involve – Empowering students

3. Were there any special or specific reasons for you becoming an entrepreneur?

For my final year project, I built a robot specifically designed for cleaning septic tanks.. During that period, I had the opportunity to interact with manual scavengers who were involved in cleaning septic tanks and manholes. It was through this experience that I truly understood the real problem and eventually started working towards a solution. This is how Solinas Integrity was born.

4. Where or how did you meet your co-founders?

I met one of my co-founders, Bhavesh Narayani, through a professor we had in common while I was working on my project. He showed a keen interest in the product and the problem I was working on. As a result, he decided to join as a co-founder and currently serves as the Head of Product Development.


5. Was there anything noteworthy you wish to talk about from your first year or the first couple of years of your startup?
The initial years are always special because they require figuring out everything on your own, similar to entering a dark cave with only a small torchlight. During those early years, we focused on product development, extensively testing our product in various locations and scenarios. We made modifications based on the feedback and insights gathered from those tests

6. Was there an Aha moment/s during your startup journey that made a dramatic difference (positive or negative difference)

A truly heart-warming and positive moment was when we presented our HomoSEP to a sanitation worker’s family in collaboration with Safai Karamchari Andolan. It was an incredibly touching experience because, in retrospect, we realized that it had helped them establish a small business where they could earn a livelihood by utilizing the robots, we provided for cleaning septic tanks and manholes where they Nagamma cast study.

7. Were there any memorable, amazing or funny memories from your journey?

One of the most memorable journeys was when we secured our first successful long-term contract. After several pilot projects, this particular contract brought us immense joy and motivated us to work even harder. What made it even more remarkable was that we had already deployed our team before the work order was even released.


8. What was your biggest mistake in the startup journey? Something that you would like other startups to avoid?

Whether it is B2B or B2C, always begin by considering the customer’s perspective, understand their needs, and develop a business tailored to their requirements.. Additionally, ensure you have a competent business team capable of effectively selling your product.

9. Looking back, what would you have tried to do differently if you were to start again?

If I have to start again, I would prioritize two things: first, spending more time on gaining an in-depth understanding of the market, and second, fostering a customer obsession.

10. Is there a question you would like startup founders to ask before they start?

Always ask yourself: 1: For is the market you are building for and customer segment that should be different from the rest of the world. 


11. What keeps you awake at night?

The hunger to solve the underlying problem of the country, which is access to safe drinking water, and to significantly grow the business to serve the masses, is always at the forefront of a founder’s mind. Thoughts of future growth, revenue, scaling, and identifying the right solutions are ever-present and have often kept me awake at night.

12. What do you think are your biggest strengths that are especially helping you in your journey? I believe these strengths have served me well over time. Engaging in meaningful conversations with people is essential for anyone, as it helps in building strong relationships. Additionally, the ability to find common ground naturally while interacting with others and having strong negotiation skills are valuable assets.

13. How were you able to find – and retain good talent – given the vast, lucrative opportunities such talent has today?  

Good question to put out: As a company, we actively recruit individuals from diverse backgrounds to fill various roles such as Business Development, Marketing, R&D, Manufacturing, and Operations. We specifically seek candidates with substantial work experience.

For any organization to achieve long-term growth, it is crucial to recruit and retain top talent. As a startup, we prioritize ensuring that every individual we hire is aligned with our company’s vision of solving the problem at hand. When the entire team moves in unison towards a shared goal, we can effectively accomplish it. Our organizational culture fosters seamless knowledge transfer among team members, encouraging them to stay with the company for the long term.

Furthermore, we recognize the importance of personal and professional growth for our employees. With our business expanding each year, we are committed to ensuring that our employees have opportunities to develop both personally and professionally.

14. Was there some support or help you received in your startup journey that proved critical? Who would you like to thank?

During my initial years, Professors Krishnan Balasubramanian and Prabhu Rajagopal played instrumental roles in assisting and guiding me in the development of the initial prototype in research and design.