Yashwant Suthar

Eight years ago, Neelam Singh and her husband, Yashwant Suthar, faced a troubling incident during a bus journey in India. In a small town during the night, the women’s toilets were dirty and unsafe. Neelam had to go to a secluded area for relief, where she was accosted by a group of men. Yashwant chased them away, but the incident left Neelam traumatized.Yashwant, originally from Udaipur, had a typical job in mechanical design for over seven years before venturing into the sanitation business. Yashwant realized that the problem with public toilets in India goes beyond infrastructure; it’s about operations and maintenance.

This experience led the couple to co-found Lootel in 2017, an Indore-based startup aiming to revolutionize public toilets in India. Lootel provides clean, hygienic, and safe smart bathrooms for travelers, especially women, along the nation’s highways.

Lootel, short for “loo of a hotel,” offers premium unisex washrooms on a pay-to-use basis. The startup faced challenges, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing a setback for two quarters. However, Yashwant saw it as a learning experience that prompted a shift in thinking and time for reassessment.

In a broader context, Lootel is part of a trend in India where startups are addressing the lack of clean restrooms along highways. These startups offer not only clean toilets but also additional services like cafes, stores, Wi-fi, and charging stations, using technology to enhance the overall travel experience.


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