Pune’s Nocca Robotics (1) found itself pinned to reinvent after the stretch for cashflows. The IIT-Kanpur graduates Nikhil Kurele, and Harshit Rathore thought of ways to survive by moving from cleantech to health-tech. They chose to move from making robots that clean solar panels to making ventilators.

Nocca launched a low-cost High Flow Nasal Cannula (HFNC) device. It saw a rise in demand for high-flow oxygen therapy for moderately critical COVID-19 patients and did this launch. Rathore said many hospitals can not afford ventilators now, they have seen a lot of demand for HFNCs from them. He also added that the existing ICU ventilators V310 also includes the HFNC function. The approximate cost of the Noccarc V310 ventilator is INR 4 lakh.

The commercial production for their ventilator, Noccarc V310, started around mid-July. Their facility, which earlier used to make solar panel-cleaning robots, is now used entirely to make ventilators.

Nocca Robotics on the Generation and Success of its idea

Rathore said the investors warned them that the pandemic is here to stay for long. So, they should plan the cash flows for the next year and look for new opportunities. Also, the director of IIT-Kanpur’s incubation center contacted them with a list of items that the government requires to fight COVID-19.

After pondering over some ideas, they decided to make ventilators. They took it to some doctors to further develop the concept, said Kurele. To this, Rathore added, now, the production capacity is 1,000 units per month. They are getting orders mostly from private hospitals or CSR wings of companies who wish to donate ventilators.

The startup received total funding of USD 1.9 million until now. Most of the funds came from Indian Angel Network Fund and the rest from IIT-Kanpur and other angel investors.

Along with the funding, the firm is also growing in revenue and team strength. Rathore said that since they halted commercial sales the previous year for research, they clocked in less than INR 1. This year they are hoping to make INR 20 crore.

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