Venture Catalysts, former Castrol Asia head invest in robotics startup Peppermint
The Peppermint team

Aubotz Labs Pvt. Ltd, which operates industrial robotics startup Peppermint, has raised seed funding from startup incubator and accelerator Venture Catalysts and former Castrol Asia head Naveen Kshatriya.

Pune-based Peppermint said in a statement it will use the capital to scale up its manufacturing efforts, strengthen its after-sales support infrastructure and expand to new markets. It is currently operational in Pune and Bengaluru.

The company didn’t disclose the amount it raised. Venture Catalysts typically invests between $250,000 and $1.5 million in a startup.

Peppermint was set up by Runal Dahiwade, Nityanand Prabhutendolkar and Miraj C Vora. It says it has built India’s first industrial floor-cleaning robot that can neutralise the new coronavirus using a combination of scrubbing, chemicals and ultraviolet light.

“India is ruminating about the potential of cleaning robots in combating the pandemic. Peppermint is well-positioned to take the lead in this area with its state-of-the-art offerings,” Venture Catalysts co-founder Apoorv Ranjan Sharma said.

“We are confident the startup will grow manifold in the coming year, establishing its name in the commercial robotics space,” he added.

Peppermint was incubated at IIT-Bombay’s Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and has received a grant from the central government’s Department of Science and Technology. The company says its robot, launched in February, has been deployed for use in the pharmaceuticals, logistics, manufacturing and hospitality sectors.

Venture Catalysts

The startup accelerator was set up in 2015 by Sharma, Anuj Golecha, Anil Jain and Gaurav Jain. Its investment spree in early-stage firms has continued unabated despite the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Its other bets this year have been on blue-collar focussed recruitment platform MyKaam, dietary supplement brand Power Gummies, insure-tech startup Insurance Samadhan, prayer materials startup OM Bhakti, artificial intelligence-enabled helmet maker Altor, enterprise-focused neo-banking platform Nupay, financial-technology startup GetVantage, corporate venturing platform IncubateHub and solar panel cleaner startup Skilancer.

In August last year, Venture Catalysts floated a fund, the 9Unicorns Fund, with a corpus of Rs 300 crore ($43.44 million), to help early-stage Indian startups expand their business.

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