Startup Stories

Interview with Prasad Phadke Founder and CEO of Eco BioTraps

Eco BioTraps is an ultimate protection device from Dengue, Malaria, Chikungunya and other mosquito-borne diseases and it’s eco-friendly. Prasad Phadke is the founder and CEO of Eco BioTraps. TechnoVans team had a discussion with him to know more about his startup Eco BioTraps, the achievement, and future goals.

Interview with Prasad Phadke Founder and CEO of Eco BioTraps

Can you please tell our readers about yourself?

I am Prasad Phadke, the founder and CEO of Eco BioTraps. My extensive experience in leadership roles with global technology brands has profoundly influenced the development and growth of Eco BioTraps. With over 20 years of expertise in building global brands like 3Dlabs, Autodesk, NVIDIA, and Hewlett Packard in South Asia and the Americas, along with a track record of creating impactful experiences for brands and scaling successful businesses in both technology hardware and software sectors have provided a strong foundation for Eco BioTraps. One evening, while I was in the United States, we were hanging out in a bar. In that week, there were a lot of reports about a West Nile outbreak, another form of mosquito disease, in the US. While we were sitting in that bar, we saw a lot of mosquitoes buzzing around. And that kind of was the moment when I realised that mosquitoes weren’t just a problem in tropical countries, but a problem everywhere. And that made us wonder how we could do things differently; solve it from its very core. Because clearly ‘repellants’ were not doing their job. That was the birth of Eco BioTraps.

Prasad Phadke - founder and CEO of Eco BioTraps
Prasad Phadke – founder and CEO of Eco BioTraps

Tell us about your startup Eco BioTraps. What’s the major problem you are solving?

Recognizing the need for a method to break the chain of mosquito-borne diseases, the team and I set out to create a device specifically tailored for tropical regions, where these diseases are rampant. The goal was to develop a sustainable way to disrupt the breeding cycle of mosquitoes, thereby curbing the incidence of diseases they carry. After two years of intensive research and collaboration with renowned entomologists, Eco BioTraps was born. It is a population reduction device designed to break the chain of mosquito breeding and prevent diseases like dengue, malaria, chikungunya, zika, and other vector-borne illnesses. The device’s development was not only grounded in scientific rigor but also gained validation from some of the world’s top entomologists, including Dr. Susanta Kumar Ghosh, former head of ICMR; Dr. Subhash Salunke, an ICMR member; Dr. Neeraj Dhingra, former Director of National Vector-borne Diseases Control Program; Officially incorporated in July 2019 under the EcoBio Group, Eco BioTraps has a presence in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi and manufacturing in Pune. 

Why do your customers select you over your competitors?

Eco BioTraps is the world’s first 100% biodegradable ovitrap. It targets the multiplication rate of the mosquitoes.Unlike every other product in the market, it attacks the source and reduces the mosquito population drastically. Now why is source reduction important? One mosquito bite (imagine you donating blood) results in the creation of about 30 Million or 3 crore mosquitoes in a short span of 30 days. This means that the rate at which mosquitoes multiply beats COVID-19 hands down. And how did we beat COVID ( another massive multiplier)? By Breaking- The-Chain. Science told us to do so. The same science is screaming at us – ‘Ek ek karke kab tak maroge, jad se mitaoo’. Hence Eco Biotraps is a scientific way to Break the Chain of their breeding aka multiplication factor. Eco BioTraps also emits no fumes, is non-toxic, and safe around pets and kids. Additionally, each Eco BioTraps is 70% cheaper than other repellent mosquito products in the market. Do our customers need more reasons?

What were the problems/challenges you faced up to this date? How did you overcome them?

Like most startups, we also faced a variety of challenges. From investor mindshare and getting them on board, to funding, navigating the government bureaucracy and getting the product market fit right.  When  we went to Dharavi with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, we realized that we had a product that failed even before we started. We had to innovate quickly and create a hanging mechanism for the product, without that the solution would have been useless. The hanging mechanism that we now have is courtesy Dharavi and BMC. Similarly we had the support of bureaucrats like Dr Pardeshi, Mr.Apurva Chandra , executives at Maharashtra state innovation society, Startup India,  BMC’s incubator Smile who helped us in understanding and navigating through the government and bureaucracy. 

Please tell us about an achievement you are most proud of.

For the past several years, Dharavi used to top the charts for the number of dengue cases. If you look at the recent 2023 data, Dharavi no longer tops the chart of Dengue Disease Incidence suggesting that the biodegradable passive device (aka Eco BioTraps) is doing its work. This year with the support of BMC’s incubator Smile and the Insecticide Branch of the Public Health Department, we’re now expanding this initiative into 18 clusters. Since its inception, Eco BioTraps has protected 944,000 lives, reduced carbon offset by 170 metric tonnes, and diverted 70 sq feet of landfill. Eco BioTraps was recognized for its innovation and impact at 2023’s National Social Innovation Conference in Pune, emerging as a winner out of 200+ applications. When you speak with the people of Dharavi they always have brilliant things to say about Eco BioTraps. We are seeing change at the grassroots level and that is the biggest hit in my journey so far. Beyond that, a quarter of a million Eco Biotraps have been shipped and are being used by our customers all across India spanning – Municipal Corporations, CSR Organizations, Residential Societies, HoReCa ( Hotels, Restaurants, Cafes), Hospitals, Schools, IT Offices, Manufacturing Factories, Defense establishments, Colleges, Pharma Companies, Food Processing Industry. In a recent collaboration with our partner Rentokil PCI, Eco BioTraps was deployed in a Defense Establishment in Karnataka where there was a dengue outbreak resulting in a remarkable reduction in dengue cases from 50 to just 5 within a month. We have a long way to go, but we are proud of the work Eco BioTraps is doing.

What are the future goals for your product Eco BioTraps?

Our expansion strategy includes entering 10 international markets, aiming to protect over 1 billion lives and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1000 metric tonnes. We are now preparing for significant expansion into international markets such as Malaysia, Nepal, Africa, and China as well. With these strategic interventions, the message is simple: Don’t just repel; break the chain of mosquito breeding.

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