Air pollution is one of the most common types of pollution. Being a constant contributor to the global air pollution index, India was ranked 8th out of 141 countries in the global air pollution list in 2022, exceeding over 10 times the guidelines set by WHO.
A large percentage of this is contributed by household appliances. Run on electricity or gas, the production of which increases greenhouse gasses within the atmosphere. Although the country has passed many restrictions and policies to help decrease the output of such pollutants, the significant change seen is few.
Keeping the same ideologies and aims in mind, Omer Basith, Sandeep Kejriwal, Nazir Tolagi, Ravi Sajjan, and Gajanana Palkar together started Virtual Forest in 2019.
Virtual Forest provides motor controllers for consumer appliances and electric mobility to contribute to net zero. Motor controllers being one of the major consumers of energy are responsible for a large portion of the emissions created in the world.
The Bangalore-based company specializes in motor control electronics and human interface technologies for the consumer appliance and electric mobility ecosystem helping not only reduce the emissions being put out into the atmosphere but also contributing to a longer product life of these appliances.
Having drawn inspiration from ‘The uninhabitable Earth’ by David Wallace-Wells, Basith told Entrackr that he imagined the company to be the virtual trees of the environment. “Just like how trees sequester carbon emissions from the atmosphere, our products are out there like more trees. That is why we call it a forest”, he added.
Virtual Forest currently works with 6 large blue-chip OEMs like IFP and Voltas and 20 small companies targeting home appliances like air conditioners, ceiling fans, washing machines etc. Currently focusing on India, it creates solutions for specific applications and deploy it in a variety of different models based on the client’s requirements such as different cooling capacity and various feature sets.
The company does not own production facilities of its own and works with EMS partners to assemble its products. It is working with different large EMS in India with a large geographical presence to expand its reach.
Being in the seasonal business, Q1 and Q4 are seen as major sale seasons because of the higher usage of air conditioning at the time.
The company raised a seed round of Rs 5 crore from Napino Auto and Electronics Ltd with a 16% stake in 2020. In FY 22-23 it had a gross merchandise value of Rs 90 crore as compared to FY21-22’s Rs 34 crore. Currently in the process of raising a round, Virtual Forest is expecting to raise around $5 million in funding and is looking to close it by the next quarter.
Focusing on replicating the success it has gotten so far, the company is looking to invest and build its human capital. Expanding the team size and moving into a larger lab infrastructure for its R&D activity is its objective by the end of this calendar year. Moving into the Southeast Asia geographies is another aim of Virtual Forest.
It is also now entering a new domain of electric mobility. Having developed motor controllers for certain vehicle types, the company is in development for motor controllers, higher capacity motor controllers for other applications as well.