How, Phool, a Flower waste recycling startup clocked $15 Million?

… and 10 Product management lessons to take away

Ram Pulipati
7 min readDec 27, 2022


Alia Bhatt joined Phool as a brand ambassador. How? Read on …

Alia Bhatt, a HUGE Bollywood star ! is an incense sticks startup — where incense is extracted from flower waste in the rivers. Incense sticks are burnt in temples and homes to spread good smell.


  1. Why should we learn about Phool?
  2. How Phool started?
  3. Founder vs Parents?
  4. Product management — 5C framework in Phool
  5. Why not sell on Amazon primarily
  6. Why not Influencer marketing
  7. How Alia Bhatt happened?
  8. How Pricing was setup ?
  9. Conclusion
8 million tonnes of flowers contribute to river pollution in India uses flowers from rivers to extract perfume

Why should we learn about ?

  1. noble idea — reduces 11000 tonnes of flower waste in rivers per year
  2. fair trade — India’s 11th company that has fair trade certification (safe working conditions, sustainable livelihoods, drinking water and sanitation facilities for the employees etc)
  3. the founder and the company come from a Tier-2 city in India and made it big!
  4. employs 75+ women in its factory
  5. no chemicals used, essential oils used for perfume are natural !

How Phool started?

As opposed to other startups that start with addressing a customer pain point, Phool started with addressing a pollution issue.

Ankit Agarwal wanted to address the river pollution issue and on his friend’s suggestion — he landed on the idea of reducing pollution waste from rivers.

That’s how Phool started.



Ram Pulipati

10yrs exp as a PM, Dev and Co-founder. Studied, lived & worked in US, Canada & India. Want a FREE PM resume consultation? ->