Empowering Stories: Uneako Part 2, meet the Founders

Based out of Ayodhya, India, the two #brothers Atul Tripathi and Ankit Tripathi both followed engineering as their career path. After Atul completed his engineering degree, he started his career as a Design #Innovator consultant while Ankit pursued his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. They realized their #passion in #entrepreneurship during this period. Ankit’s passion to innovate solutions to combat #pollution and #poverty drove the idea. His determination convinced his brother Atul to join the cause and the bandwagon of social entrepreneurship.

Ankit was different from his classmates, having the zest of doing something different. Throughout college, Ankit was quite active in various activities and had collected extensive experience in various projects consisting of internships, courses, projects etc. He accumulated more than 200 certificates. While these helped him boost his CV, he discovered in the process that his true passion was in bringing positive change and helping people. During second year of graduation, Ankit founded a social startup - Vaigyanik Likho, to provide notebooks for merely a few rupees to underprivileged children.

By third year of graduation Ankit found himself far more interested in entrepreneurship, but the real test was pursuing it. When he decided to choose entrepreneurship as a career path, his parents initially were not receptive to the idea because for decades the convention was to pursue a job instead of risking the stable livelihood and establishing your own enterprise. It was difficult to convince his parents, but he succeeded. His resolve was so strong now, that he did not even sit for his college placements for which he had earlier gathered so many certificates and work experiences for.

Once he started working towards his startup, he felt that he can’t do it alone, influencing his brother Atul join too. Atul at that time was working in a company and was earning decent salary and already started contributing in the family’s earnings. When Ankit proposed Atul to support him, it was not an easy decision. Being brothers and the closest of allies, they shared the pain of seeing unsustainable increases in pollution. Since their childhood, they have noticed how the #landfill near their house in north Delhi, had been growing with time. Somewhere along the way, Atul was also dishearten by this fact and when Ankit approached him, he decided to support Ankit fully and quit his job for the #startup. They faced even greater pressures from their parents, considering both brothers are moving into a field which no one in their family has ever done. Tripathi bothers come from a family were their father is in the service and their mother is a house-wife. Everyone in their relative and friend circles have similar backgrounds from service – a stable job! Overcoming all of this was difficult, but they were undeterred, and now unstoppable. This is how the story of Uneako’s inception began.

The early days were extremely hard. Ankit decided to finance his travel costs of 300 rupees to college everyday by selling Uneako’s products in the metro he took to college. This is how he honed his marketing skills. He would change trains in case he felt no prospective buyer, and once he did find one, he would sit by them and warm them up to the idea of environmental change and then pitch the product. Fulfilling his everyday target was challenging, but the culmination of those efforts is how they now are able to generate impact on a large scale.

Tripathi brothers, having engineering at their core, pursued bringing solutions which impacts all phases in the product and consumer journey. And that’s the reason they differentiated it with #economic range of eco-friendly products, making it easy for consumers to switch over to the #sustainable option. Even including the packaging! They noticed that the landfill was largely filled with packaging of products which was a waste; which considered as opportunity to make packaging itself a purpose. This helped them in product development ideas for Uneako and now the enterprise ensure that its products have usable packages. This core idea for the brand got the accelerated swing, when government imposed ban for single-use plastic. And that is what drives #Uneako till today.