This classic ‘Made In India’ venture is revolutionising personal hygiene without the use of water
The two-year-old start-up Clensta - derived from a combination of two words viz. ‘clean’ and ‘instantly’ - is a classic ‘Made In India’ venture that’s revolutionising personal hygiene without the use of water.
The two-year-old start-up Clensta - derived from a combination of two words viz. ‘clean’ and ‘instantly’ - is a classic ‘Made In India’ venture that’s revolutionising personal hygiene without the use of water. The idea not only addresses the issue of hygiene but also helps save water, something the entire world is working towards.
An IIM Calcutta alumnus, Puneet Gupta, founder and chief executive officer, Clensta International Pvt Ltd, in conversation with Ashish K Tiwari, speaks about the unique waterless technology solution offered by the company, distribution in the business-to-business (b2b) space, addition of business-to-customer (b2c) vertical and future plans.
How did this idea really shape up?
I was in defence services earlier working on a few projects with them. During the tenure, I observed that our soldiers posted in Siachen-like areas had no option when it came to maintaining personal hygiene in such extreme weather conditions and difficult terrain.
My interactions with the various senior generals there was basically the starting point of creating a personal hygiene solution that didn’t require the use of water. Extensive work was done on changing the formulation, ingredients, concentration to make our product.
When applied/massaged on the body, our product absorbs all the molecules of dirt, oil, grease, etc., and can be easily wiped away using a towel. While water was earlier required to remove the molecules, that’s not the case with our solution. That’s how it becomes a waterless personal hygiene solution
What’s the current ownership structure?
Raising funds wasn’t easy in the initial stages as nobody was willing to invest at that time. So, when I proposed to IIT Delhi about what I wanted to do, they accepted it and gave me access to all the required infrastructure facilities, equipment and machinery worth $20 million.
Their support really helped in the research and formulation for this product. So the venture was incubated in IIT Delhi, which also funded the research. We also have Anurag S Rathore, chemical faculty at IIT Delhi as part of the core team. As for the intellectual property (IP)/ patent ownership is concerned, it is completely with by Clensta International.
IIT Delhi is a shareholder with minority equity of 5% in the company. The balance 95% is held between the company, myself and a few other investors including the Indian Angel Network (IAN) and IAN Fund that has made a recent, undisclosed investment in the company.
Is the solution a first of its kind globally?
There is no direct competition globally. So as such, it is a first of its kind in the world. Having said that, there are some similar products available but it’s more like a dry shampoo (akin to products by British hairdressing salon chain Toni & Guy), which is also called waterless shampoo.
A cosmetic/ beautification product, it is targeted primarily at people (working women) who cannot wash their hair daily and are still required to well-maintain it. In our case though, the product offers a comprehensive hygiene wherein you can use it continuously for six months. That’s the key difference with our product technology.
Besides defence services, can this product be useful in other areas too?
Definitely. In fact, defence forces across the globe are already using our products. Additionally, there are various verticals like hospitals (in India and overseas), adventure enthusiasts/ camps, immigrants, etc., who have been targeted with this product and have found a great level of acceptability.
In fact, the commercialisation of this product only began in February 2018 as prior to that, we were primarily doing research (funded by IIT Delhi) and working on finalising the product/ solution for use. We still have a lot of ground to cover in terms of making it available to the end consumers.
How does it compare in terms of usage, pricing?
A person will most likely use 20-25 ml of waterless body bath solution and the same would be true for waterless shampoo too. So quantity-wise, our products are on the higher side compared to 10-15 ml for body wash and 5 ml for shampoo. On the pricing front though we have a much more attractive proposition compared to various reputed brands at Rs 499 including 18% goods and services tax (GST).
Watch this Zee Business video here:
One also needs to take into account the 250-odd litres of water getting saved through the use of our products. In fact, we have requested the government to consider the water saving aspect and bring us either in the 5% GST bracket or offer complete exemption from taxes. If that happens, pricing will reduce significantly making our products total value for money.