/ Social Innovation

Thinkphi – the green brolly

Samit Choksi and Priya Vakil Choksi made a trip to Europe. You might think what’s the big deal here? Nowadays many Indians go for a foreign trip. A braid seeking mind can think it is going to be a travel start up story again! No, I am neither going to describe their travel experience nor expand on a travel start up. What inspired them besides renowned monuments of Europe is interesting. Out of the blue it is the inverted canopies. Thinkφ, thus, started from Mumbai as a sustainable green technology startup. Based on three pillars of sustainability; waste, water, energy, it started developing products. The patented Ulta Chaata (literally “upside down umbrella”), an inverted umbrella-shaped structure is the most discussed product of Thinkphi so far. It gathers rainwater to cater drinking water along with solar panels to generate electricity.

The Choksi couple observed that we do waste ‘the purest form of water that falls on earth’. To influence the behavioural shift they concluded to make a simple yet intelligent system which can capture and filter via atmospheric water for primary and secondary handlings. Months of research and visit to design and fabrication shops in Europe and India was the next in their itinerary. Keeping the aesthetic value in mind they have created a uniquely innovative system to capture water. An integrated primary filtration unit filters the captured water. It was named “Ulta Chaata” which is a sustainable solution to Rainwater and Solar Harvesting.

The ‘Ulta Chhata’ can harvest upto 100,000 liters of potable water and it captures energy with a maximum solar capacity of 1.5 KW. It grants water sustainability and curtails your need on the grid and tankers. With the added solar modules you can create a sustainable environment round the year. At times you can even go off the grid. ThinkUC can provide you with a turn-key solution which is, fully interspersed with your extant piping and storage. You can use the UC for diverse functions at parking space, landscape, rooftop, recreation areas, walkways and more. It can stay unaffectedly as long as 15 years in harsh environments. It has been possible to keep the maintenance cost bare minimum using the intelligent engineering.

Mr. Choksi informs, “If you have say 20 Ulta Chaatas, they provide shade and all are connected through a pipeline to a big box called ‘phi-box’. This box has a fine filtration UV system that removes microbial content, once water passes through this, you can drink the water,” said Choksi.

Thinkphi has raised an angel funding from serial entrepreneur Nimmagadda Prasad and it wishes to use the funding primarily in expanding operations and the R&D team; and starting of sales and distribution activities. The company plans to stay asset light and focus on product design, material selection, and manufacturing. Thinkphi desires to launch prospective products around energy saving devices and consumer waste management. It has a target of 300 units by the year followed by a search for more funding although it has already raised around 6 crore. Godrej Interio and Rustomjee are among its initial customers.

Samit Choksi and Priya Vakil Choksi

Specifications :-


  1. Standard 75 mm underground water piping
  2. 100 mm concrete slab required for anchor fasteners

Live Lighting

  1. Self-powered RGB lighting system
  2. Options of manual and ambient light sensor
  3. GSM-enabled control systems

Filtration Technology

  1. Patented multi-layer physical filtration system (200 -1 micron)
  2. UV-based potable water convertor system, available as a plug-in

PV Modules

  1. Customised high-efficiency lightweight mono-crystalline solar modules
  2. Power capacity: 100 W - 1.75 kW

Harvesting Capacity

  1. Varies with size and geographic location
  2. Approx 48,000-108,000 litres per canopy, annually


  1. External grade, flame-retardant polyester membrane with 10-year warranty

Water Quality

  1. Below 10 NTU
  2. Meets WHO standards for potable water

Wind Tolerance

  1. Up to 100 km/h


  1. SS & MS components with triple-layer corrosive protection

Summary of benefits

  1. Multipurpose alternative to conventional shade structures that do not have a payback
  2. Green Building Certification points through rainwater harvesting, renewable energy generation and mitigation of heat island effect
  3. Low site disruption and can be plugged into an existing or new site seamlessly
  4. Captures rainwater in its purest form
  5. Patented integrated filtration chamber provides water quality below 10 NTU
  6. Contains no chemicals (and is BPA-free) and uses no batteries for water filter
  7. Low maintenance effort which can be carried out by onsite facilities management staff
  8. Integrated solar capacity of up to 1.75 kW with an external connection to an inverter
  9. Integrated LED fixtures provide self-sufficient lighting through solar technology
  10. Higher solar energy yield per square foot through highly optimised structures which use minimal ground area and maximum elevated area for solar absorption
  11. Compliant with government scheme 80-IA for Accelerated Depreciation benefit
  12. Compliant as spending under CSR initiatives
    Life of steel and tensile structures are over 10 years

Source - SCC India Staff

Mr. Choksi is also in talks to partner with the cities selected for the ‘smart city’ initiative and intends to expand globally by 2017. The next plan for Thinkphi is to gear home-waste generation through smart bins. So you can now get hold of the purest form of water before it comes into contact with other pollutants on your roof or ground. In the absence of monsoon you access a solar electricity generation system whereas you can easily transform and make your open spaces greener than before. Eyezon concludes, “What an idea Thinkphi!” 🙂