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Alfa Ventures invests in solar panel cleaning startup Skilancer
Photo Credit: Reuters

Alfa Ventures, a proprietary fund launched by angel investor Dhianu Das to make seed investments in startups, said on Monday it has invested in Noida-based startup Skilancer Solar Pvt. Ltd.

The funding will help the company upgrade design and technology, build its team and expand geographically, Skilancer co-founder Neeraj Kumar said in a statement.

Skilancer Solar was incubated at Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow. It provides an artificial intelligence-powered autonomous robot to clean solar panels. The company seeks to tap into the growing market for solar plants due to the rise of alternative sources of energy. However, solar plants face losses because traditional manual cleaning that happens at a frequency of 15 days is not the most effective way and the company is addressing this problem, the statement said.

“I am absolutely bullish on India’s solar energy story. New installations in 2019 will reach nearly 14 gigawatts. This is about 50% more than the capacity added last year,” said Das. “This is where I see potential for a business like Skilancer Solar,” he added.

The startup was founded in 2017 by Neeraj Kumar, an Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur, graduate with three years of experience in the solar industry, and Manish Kumar, an instrumentation engineer with 10 years of experience. Manish Kumar is also co-founder of Precog Innovation Partners, an early-stage investment firm focused on bringing global innovations to India, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Das started Alfa Ventures earlier this year and put in around 25% of the fund himself https://www.vccircle.com/angel-investor-dhianu-das-floats-proprietary-seed-fund/. The fund has a corpus of Rs 100 crore. It aims to make 25-30 bets, with an average ticket size of Rs 1 crore, Das had told VCCircle in February.

As an individual investor, Das counts GoMechanic, ClearDekho and Cleansecar in his portfolio.

In April, Alfa Ventures made its first investment in CivilCops, a chatbot operated by Delhi-based Tavroi Research Pvt. Ltd.

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