Banka Bio in the news
Banka Bio – There aren’t many secure latrines in India. Over 50% of Indians lacked access to toilets prior to the Clean India Mission, especially in rural regions. People were compelled to urinate in the open, posing health risks, causing environmental concerns, and contaminating the water supply. In India, open defecation has long been popular. Outside of the villages, people defecate in fields and bushes.
Women and children are most impacted by all of this. They now risk losing their hygiene, respect, and safety due to open defecation. When they walked outside to urinate or poop, they have sometimes been sexually assaulted. It goes without saying that a lack of sanitary conditions contributes to a wide range of water-borne illnesses and a high number of fatalities, particularly among children.
In India, diarrhoea is the third most common cause of paediatric mortality and accounts for 13% of all deaths in children under the age of five each year. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), started by the Indian government, was one of the initial initiatives to close the gap. Although more than a million restrooms were built nationwide, more were still required.
2012 saw the entry of Banka BioLoo Pvt Ltd, a sustainable sanitation business. They took on the task of eliminating open defecation and putting in place affordable, environmentally responsible, and socially acceptable sanitation systems. In 2018, Banka BioLoo went public, and in 2020 it established Banka Earth Foundation (a Section 8 company) with the express purpose of carrying out CSR initiatives.
The eco-friendly bio-toilet Banka’s BioLoo is a superstructure with a bio-digester tank that is simple to erect. It comprises of bacterial inoculum that processes faecal waste on-site, maintaining hygiene and lowering contamination risks, which are especially harmful to young children. Additionally, the approach lessens reliance on energy- or resource-intensive sewage infrastructure.
The company has provided services to a wide range of customers over the past ten years, including the railroads, national and local governments, state-owned businesses, private corporations, foundations and charities, and non-profit organizations, among others. In 22 states across India, they have installed over 20,000 bio-toilets.
Making a difference in distant places
Banka Bio discovered that barely half of Indian schools have functioning restrooms for both boys and girls after completing early investigations to identify important players. Due to this, they had less access to good sanitation, which was especially problematic for girls during their menstrual cycles. One of the main causes of the 113 million female students that drop out of school when they hit puberty is due to this. In response to this issue, Banka Bio runs educational campaigns about the close relationship between sanitation and health in the neighbourhoods where they operate. Banka Bio also instructs children in schools about proper hygiene habits, proving that education is not only restricted to the local level.
The company partners with big and small businesses to install Banka’s bioloos, ecologically friendly bio-toilets, in schools to solve the challenges that schoolchildren encounter in obtaining sanitary facilities. The largest producer of electrical goods in India, Havells, was one of their implementation partners. More than 500 schools in Rajasthan now have hand-washing stations and bioloos thanks to their combined efforts. Additionally, they have worked on Swachh Bharat: Swachh Vidyalaya projects with numerous other sizable businesses in India, including GAIL (India)
Limited, Dalmia Bharat Group, as well as MNCs like Saint-Gobain and Beam Suntory. The faecal matter breaks down over the course of two to three days, producing carbon dioxide, methane, and water. While recovered water can be used for gardening, methane can be used as fuel.
Construction sites, public spaces, schools, homes, urban slums, trains, and other locations without sewer lines can all be equipped with these bio-toilets. Schoolchildren now have better access to sustainable sanitation in places that previously lacked proper infrastructure as a consequence of these bioLoos. Outside of the classroom, kids can use basic hygiene habits. Their parents, who now have a better grasp of the connections between sanitation and health, also encourage this change in behaviour.
Banka Bio Builds Bio-Toilets Across Rural India
October 12, 2023
2015 GSBI alumnus Banka BioLoo, a social enterprise that innovatively tackles human waste management, had its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on February 5, 2018. The enterprise operates in India, which is home to 60% of the global population that must defecate in the open due to not having access to toilets. Within the greater global context, data from 2015 indicate that only two out of five people were able to use safely-managed sanitation services. In light of the overwhelming reality of minimal sanitation services, Namita Banka began to examine sanitation infrastructure and started Banka BioLoo. The enterprise began operations, as a for-profit social enterprise, in 2012 and is currently co-directed by Namita along with Sanjay Banka, Akhilesh Tripathi, and T. V. Rama Krishna.
While the conversation surrounding waste management is one that many shy away from, Banka BioLoo recognizes that the impact of inadequate sanitation services in India is much too grave to ignore. Poor water supply and sanitation problems in India have contributed to a serious risk of sanitation-related diseases, which particularly impact children under the age of five. Banka BioLoo seeks to provide solutions for those who do not have access to toilets, and for those that do, the enterprise helps in the process of treating and managing the waste. Distinctly, Banka BioLoo offers Indian defense-patented bio-digester technology, making it possible for users to manage waste onsite and reduce dependency on resource-consuming sewage infrastructure. Banka BioLoo also provides operations and maintenance of bio-toilets to Indian Railways, its largest client-partner. In 2015, Sanjay and Namita participated in the GSBI In-Residence accelerator program, where they were mentored by Daniel Kreps and Naresh Nigam.
After the GSBI In-Residence, Sanjay shared, “GSBI has added many dimensions to Banka BioLoo since our immersion in the accelerator. It truly accelerated many things at our end, most notably my joining the company full-time. And I’m sure it’s the beginning of things to come.”
The journey to IPO began in September 2017. Banka BioLoo pursued the Emerge platform offered by India’s largest stock exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE). Emerge, also known as the SME platform, is a marketplace that brings together seasoned investors and emerging or small and medium companies. It connects businesses that possess “exciting growth plans, innovative business models and commitment towards good governance and investor interest” with investors that can meet their financial needs. In the process of moving forward and growing as a business, maintaining Banka BioLoo’s social mission along with stable financial growth has always been at the top of the team’s priorities. The “triple bottom line [of people, planet, and profit] was an essential part of the discussion” when reaching out to investors, Sanjay says.
The Banka BioLoo team hit a major roadblock when two major investors backed out right before the IPO. Amidst that hectic event, the organization’s leaders were undaunted and passionately kept moving forward. Sanjay and the non-executive director Vishal Murarka spent two weeks in Mumbai, confidently and unwaveringly, pitching to investors. “We were left on our own,” Sanjay said. “[But] we leveraged our network and reached out to new investors through colleagues, friends, and family.” Ultimately, due to the team pooling together their connections, resources, energy, and business prowess, Banka BioLoo pushed forward: the resulting IPO raised two million dollars.
Throughout the IPO journey, strong governance was a key anchor that kept the staff rooted in their mission and firm in their determination. “The IPO was fast,” Sanjay said. “[The team] was working long hours; the business had to be running smoothly simultaneously with the IPO details. [Our] top management dealt primarily with the IPO process.” Banka BioLoo’s CFO, T.V. Rama Krishna, had prior experience with taking a company public and played an invaluable role in successfully reaching this milestone only a small percentage of businesses are able to achieve. Sanjay described the whole process as a “mini miracle”.
In preparation for the IPO, Banka BioLoo was required to adjust the makeup of its board and added three independent board members to establish a solid governing team moving forward. “One [independent board member] is an angel investor, another is an HR expert, another is an entrepreneur: eight members total are on the board. In Q4 2017 the transition happened, all of it a part of the going-public process,” Sanjay recounted. It is becoming increasingly popular for companies to make these major changes to their boards pre-IPO, in order to demonstrate their commitment to good governance.
With the capital raised from its IPO, Banka BioLoo is now able to take on larger projects — projects that they were originally hesitant to tackle — and continues to lead the fight in providing access to adequate, sustainable sanitation solutions in India. Sanjay’s reflections on the imperfect, but strengthening and gritty nature of Banka BioLoo’s IPO journey, shed light on the hustle and heart that moving a business forward demands. https://www.millersocent.org/2018-3-11-banka-bioloo-a-journey-from-start-up-social-enterprise-to-ipo/
Banka BioLoo: A Journey from Start-up Social Enterprise to IPO
March 12, 2018
Banka BioLoo provides environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions for sanitation. The manufacturer specializes in human waste management, using bio-digester technology patented and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) (a government agency). The BioLoo disposes of human waste in a low-cost, and low-maintenance manner, utilizing anaerobic digestion, with bacteria activated in cow dung. This set of bacteria “eat away” human waste, leaving biogas that can be made into for fuel and water that can be reused for gardening. The company’s offerings include bio-toilets (or BioLoos) for families, public and community bio-toilets and bio-toilets for schools and institutions, bio-tanks for Indian Railways, bio-digesters (the bacterial culture) and bio-tanks, and upgrade of septic tanks to bio-tanks. They also service bio-toilets, and have entered into annual maintenance and operations contracts with different Railway zones.
The BioLoo can also be upgraded with additional fees. With this, they can add pumps, glossy paint, tiles, mirrors, and water tanks.Interview with designer
Toilet type: flush toilet, biodigester. https://www.engineeringforchange.org/solutions/product/banka-bioloo/
The Banka BioLoo combines toilets with anaerobic digesters to contain and process fecal waste
August 9, 2021