Empowered entrepreneur delivers power to India
Meenakshi Vashist was inspired to start her company, TekUncorked, on a 20,000-kilometer journey through rural India. While exploring the Himalayas in Chamoli, Meenakshi encountered a woman carrying a huge load of twigs on her back, collected from the jungle floor as firewood. She was one of millions in India without access to consistent and reliable power.
The encounter on the trek created a spark that led to TekUncorked, a start-up in India creating infrastructure and real-time monitoring devices to pinpoint when and where electricity loss is happening. India generates almost 1.6 trillion units of electricity, but nearly 30% never reaches the consumer.
“The [electricity] losses are really high, and the utility would want to eliminate those kinds of losses because it impacts their top and the bottom lines,” shares Vashist. “Consumers would like that to be fixed so they can receive the electricity in their homes and businesses.”
The mission for Meenakshi was clear – get electricity to the consumer, particularly those in remote, rural areas. She created a small IoT (internet-of-things) device placed on transformers, substations, or pillars to monitor the flow of electricity and the environment in which is operating.
“If we see any anomaly, an immediate alert goes off, notifying us to the aberration,” said Vashist. “And if this aberration keeps occurring, we flag it for action from the utility.”
By informing the utility early and reducing grid losses, the TekUncorked team estimates another 200 million homes could have electricity without any power creation. For a nation soon to become the most populous in the world, her mission couldn’t be timelier.
TekUncorked and Meenakshi Vashist are part of the Third Derivative cohort, a program supported by FedEx for clean tech start-ups around the world. Third Derivative now supports 125 start-ups, 48% of which have one founder of color and 33% a female founder, like Vashist.
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