Yes! you heard it right, this story is about Woloo- a loo discovery platform.
Supreet Shah and her co-founders Manish Kelshikar and Rupali Kelshiker- launched Woloo as India’s first and only Loo-Discovery platform; a social tech start-up, with a vision to provide hygiene dignity to our women.
Women’s Empowerment is a distant dream if sanitation facilities are absent. Women have to face multiple safety issues, due to the non-availability of toilet facilities. 48% of all rapes in India occur when women defecate in secluded places. Sadly, 23 million girls in India drop out of school annually, because of a lack of menstrual hygiene facilities.
Mumbai is known as the commercial capital of India, yet, while there are 10,778 toilets for men, women have only 3,903 toilets in Mumbai.
Owing to a lack of hygiene and sanitation facilities, India is a country with one of the lowest percentages of working women. We need to wake up to this call and take this up as a priority issue, especially moving into the 21st century.
More SalamatRaho stories
Supreet Shah, Rupali, and Manish Kelshikar– responded to this call and came up with a solution. They started an initiative called Woloo.
Woloo brings a tech-enabled loo-discovery platform app that helps women to locate the nearest washroom, whenever they are away from their home or office.
WOLOO – “Go bindas Woloo Hai na”
Supreet is a Technocrat and a business leader. She comes with several years of experience in the IT industry in managing key accounts in the retail/finance/ publishing domain and leading teams in various technologies. For over 15 years, she worked with MNCs such as Fidelity Investments, MPS Technologies, and Infosys before establishing Woloo.
She completed her Computer Science Engineer from Punjabi University. She always felt we should leverage technology to create a better and carefree world for ourselves. She got married and had two lovely daughters and continued her career along with fulfilling all her duties and responsibilities as a mother and wife.
She says, ” I want to provide hygiene and dignity to my daughters. They are proud of Woloo and have supported me in everything since the start of the journey“.
Supreet Shah shares
“None of us can deny the unending list of issues women face when they have to use a public loo. We wanted to mitigate this and present a better world for our girls and that led to the ideation of Woloo. We launched Woloo as India’s first and only Loo-Discovery platform; a social tech start-up. We became the Airbnb of restrooms and patented the concept of hygiene certification. While addressing the serious problem of poor hygiene access facilities, growing women’s health and safety issues, and lack of women and hygiene retail, we are committed to empowering 150 million urban working women with hygiene dignity.”
Woloo is a unique tech platform for Loo-Discovery which is developed completely in India. Being available for both Android and IOS phones. Woloo curates, certifies, and aggregates clean and hygienic, existing washrooms at restaurants, and salons in major cities across India. Woloo is asset-light and has very low Capex/op-ex as it works on the principle of the shared economy.
Leveraging Supreet’s expertise in IT, she has designed the complete architecture for Woloo App and the backend systems to scale and serve women across India.
Execution and the objectives of the Woloo app
- Woloo identifies the most crowded locations where a maximum number of women transit.
- They collaborate with existing washrooms available in various locations like cafes, beauty parlors, hotels, malls, etc. The host owner gets into an agreement and agrees to maintain all standards.
- The hosts are WAH Certified (Woloo Assurance of Hygiene) which is a Global Hygiene Standard certificate for Woloo-Hosts based on safety, hygiene, and accessibility parameters.
- The IOT-based remote hygiene management system monitors, measures, and audits the cleanliness and hygiene of host washrooms and has several sensors that monitor the odor and cleanliness of the floors of washrooms.
- They have built a location-based service that allows anyone anywhere to locate our certificated loos on the Woloo app.
- Each washroom that is uploaded on the Woloo Platform is ensured to follow the standard protocol of safety, cleanliness, and hygiene, therefore, guaranteeing that women do not have to think twice before walking into a Woloo-approved loo.
- The platform has a period tracker, thirst reminder, educational videos, content, and podcast to help spread awareness about their hygiene, health, and products.
- Many women-centric products are available at a subsidized price in e-commerce stores.
- They have geofenced the washrooms and have built capabilities like users being notified about the closest Woloo in the vicinity.
- All of these services are supported by a very robust cloud-based infrastructure to scale Woloo across India and the Global level.
- These washrooms are authorized in association with the Toilet Board Coalition.
- Apart from local train stations, there will be Woloo-Hosts near the business district/bus stations/ tourist places/temples/public gardens/beaches/ market places.
This is how the journey unfolds
The journey started with a basic idea to construct toilets. Woloo 1.0 was designed as a brick and mortar model with Powder Rooms. India’s first and only by-women for women Powder-Room was launched in 2019 in Thane(Mumbai). It was difficult as getting investments and govt approvals wasn’t easy and time-consuming. Life is full of challenges, and overcoming them leads to success. They wanted to make washrooms accessible for every woman in the country and began to research and introspect.
They shifted from the actual construction of toilets to collaborating with already available toilets in required areas and scaling up faster. That marked the birth of Woloo 2.0 – an app to locate the nearest, hygienic washrooms.
Supreet says, “Everyone talks about building washrooms but we decided to utilize the existing ones. Restaurants and salons spend a lot to maintain their washrooms but there’s no revenue generated. With our initiative, it’s a win-win situation for all.”
Woloo established its first franchise powder room in March 2022 at the Ghatkopar metro station. It is a 1,000 Sq Ft space dedicated only to Women with 8 Smart-Toilets, a sanitary napkin dispenser, a facility to change baby diapers, express beauty service, a 14-seater café, and a 600 Sqft retail area catering to women’s hygiene, personal care, intimate utility, wellness, and beauty products. The lounge not only provides a comfortable stopover to the women commuters but also marks the beginning of the women franchise entrepreneurs network, making this a by-women-for-women hygiene service across the country. Woloo Powder Rooms are innovatively designed spaces that are air-conditioned and equipped with CCTV cameras, Wi-Fi, and facial recognition software for enhanced security.
They are operating with a subscription model, with the launch of Woloo 3.0 they embarked on a pay-per-use model. Also, strengthen the platform into a robust architecture and make it available in vernacular.
Woloo intends to expand city by city across India, hence the path ahead is long, fun, and intense!
Starting with maintaining and certifying over 1500 ladies’ toilets across Mumbai, with 1000+ Hygiene Certified Washrooms hosted by premium restaurants and cafes in Mumbai. Woloo will soon be available in Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Pune, and Bangalore. And that is not the end, it is just the beginning!
Woloo currently has 8000 hosts and plans to onboard 50,000 Hosts (30-40 near each station) within a 2 km vicinity of train stations in 100 cities by the end of this year. With the support of Global organizations like UNICEF, IWSH, Toilet Board Coalition, IAPMO & Aqua for All, Woloo holds a Global expansion opportunity.
When dedication and passion work together, recognition follows
Supreet Shah has been awarded as one of the
Top 10 Women Leaders in Start-up -2022.
She is an inspiration and believes that women must follow their dreams as they generally deprioritize their work to take care of their families. Her message to the youth is,” Now is your time when India is supporting so many new ideas and this start-up ecosystem gives space to each individual who has a great idea.’
“Spread your wings, it’s time to fly. Leap. Own the sky.”
Kudos to Supreet Shah for leading from the front and bringing real change in progressive India.
Contact details – [email protected]
Phone number: 9501052502
What is Salamat Raho ?
Team NomadLawyer’s ambition is to positively impact the world through the stories of HumanKind. We believe in the art of storytelling. Through “Salamat Raho ”, we are creating a database for social good in the form of “Impact Stories”, which will help us achieve our goal and reach out to the world at large.
BY CONTRIBUTING THROUGH YOUR STORIES AND EXPERIENCE YOU CREATE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY AND AN EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR YOURSELF.