Venus: This Rs 1,500 made-in-India device can turn a bucket into a washing machine; to go on sale in April 2015
New Delhi: The washing machine is something that many families in urban India cannot think of being without and at the same time there are even more families, who cannot even afford owning one. This is the gap that Mumbai-based Indian startup Vimbas Navrachna's Venus is attempting to bridge.
Venus is a bucket-mounted mini washing machine that will be priced at Rs 1500 and will be available in the market by the second quarter of 2015.
Speaking to IBNLive, Piyush Agarwalla, founder, Vimbas Navrachana, who conceived the idea of a portable washing machine says, "Hand-washing clothes over a period of time not only lead to shoulder and back pain, but also prolonged exposure to chemicals and detergents can result in skin diseases and rashes. This low-cost device, therefore, comes as a rescue for people, particularly women, from low-income groups."
The portable washing machine could also appeal to people living alone away from their families.
"A limited production has taken place and we have already sold out around 100-150 devices at a price of Rs 2,500. We will be releasing Venus for the mass market at Rs 1,500," Agarwalla adds.
The company has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise money to be able to sell mass produce the device and to be able to sell it at an affordable price, but has managed to achieve only 5 per cent of its $50,000 (Rs 30 lakh approximately) goal. The campaign started on October 13 and will close on December 12, 2014.
When asked if there was a possibility of bringing the price further down once the required amount of money was raised, Agarwalla replied, "the company had earlier planned to launch Venus at Rs 1,000, but later ruled out after all the calculations were made. Further, to bring the product to the market and reach out to larger groups of people, we need to keep the retailers' cut, which makes it nearly impossible to bring the price down from Rs 1,500."
Targeting another set of users, especially those who don't have access to frequent power supply, the company is working on a DC (direct current) operated version, which can run on a 12 volt battery. The DC variant will also go on sale along with the AC version.
The company is yet to finalise a distribution model for Venus and says it will release all details related to the distribution model by mid-November. But Agarwalla confirms that it will be a mix of online and offline retailing.
From the demo videos, using the portable washing machine appears to be simple. Users need to fill water in a bucket, add detergent, and mount the machine. It lets users wash upto 2.5 kgs load per 5 minutes wash cycle.
According to Vimbas Navrachna, the company has provided sample units to unprivileged families and has received positive feedback.
Voltage: 110/230 V
Power: 350 Watts
Weight: 2.1 Kgs (basic unit)
Capacity: 2.5 Kgs
Wash Cycle: 3 to 5 mins (approximately)
Contents: Basic unit, bucket clamps