He has successfully established India’s first waterless technology company which makes one-of-its-kind waterless body bath and waterless shampoo. He is also trying to solve India’s water crisis with the help of new innovations and mentorship of IIT Delhi. His company, Clensta, is actively working on waterless toothpaste, anti-mosquito body bath and pigeon repellent spray as future inventions. An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management (Calcutta) with an honorary doctorate in international business (2015), meet Dr Puneet Gupta who has established himself as an accomplished and proactive entrepreneur, innovator and market disruptor. We caught up with the founder and CEO of Clensta International, an indigenous healthcare startup that has revolutionised the hygiene space offering innovative healthcare/ safety/ medical/ wellness solutions. Excerpts from an interview:
When did the idea of developing innovative products like waterless body bath and waterless shampoo strike you?
After working closely with the defence personnel, I examined the hygienic situations that rendered their safety. The challenge of not bathing for days, faced during their duty with extreme conditions in places like Siachin, Kargil or Drass and witnessing their difficulty to maintain personal wellbeing, derived me towards developing waterless technology products, leading to the establishment of Clensta. I have observed that the opportunity of finding a way to change the climatic risk into a business opportunity helps a start up to maintain and flourish with meeting investor’s growth and demand. The climate change mitigation and liabilities provides a bigger opportunity not just in terms of expansion whilst embracing the issue to be catered with enthusiasm and zeal.
How did you go about it – from conceptualisation to the end product, including the innumerable problems you faced?
Every start-up comes across different challenges while making it sustainable especially when dealing in innovative product development. In the initial stage, the company faced a challenge of setting up the R&D unit. That is when we received the support from IIT Delhi. The programme of FITT actively helped us in providing the infrastructure required to develop the products. While coming to academia-industry relation, IIT Delhi supports their start-ups with the best of facilities in every aspect like the scientific advisory, R&D facility, and networking platforms. The institute provides us access to faculty guidance for technical support. Clensta has received immense support from IIT Delhi, Dr Anurag Rathore as CTO and Dr VM Chariar as CSR Director. Our partnership with IIT has helped us resolve and develop more innovative products for the betterment of society.
After the company’s inception in 2016 and the products commercialisation happening in 2018, the company has built a significant market to provide waterless technology products in the field of healthcare, defence, and travel segments and to places with dire water scarcity or water availability.
Tell us about your team and how did you about selecting them for you need the right set of people to develop such innovative products?
The business model is driven with the right people but not the best people in the team. In terms of need and innovations the rightful have been associated with Clensta. Our team includes fresh graduates and seasoned professionals including research scholars and professors of chemistry with 20-plus years of experience in the domain.
As a business professional, one should be helping people by telling them what they need to know. It is a foundational ethical principle of character based on honesty and truthfulness. A person with integrity does not reveal confidences, or impugn the integrity of others or their businesses. Integrity is about doing the right thing for the right reasons even when no one is looking. It should guide one’s thoughts, speech and actions.
Your company is already working on waterless toothpaste, anti-mosquito body bath and pigeon repellent spray… Brief us on these innovative products and ones you or your team have in mind…
The company is actively working on the future innovations along with the existing products in the market. The team is working on the future products namely –
Waterless Toothpaste The product will deliver high potential in the oral care market and will change the mindset of people to brush without water.
Anti-Mosquito Body Bath With additional properties of body bath this product provides cleansing activity along with mosquito repellent activity.
Pigeon Repellent Spray We intend to develop an innovative bio-repellent for pigeons which provides a natural pigeon repellent that exhibits excellent activity over a number of surfaces, while being devoid of any harmful chemicals.
What does recognition bring with it – more responsibility or more money?
The major responsibilities lie in maintaining the customer trust and value that they lay in the product. Our major users being in the field of defence and healthcare lay a higher responsibility of serving them with the quality and effectiveness of the product. Most importantly, the environmental contribution of the product serves as a responsibility than more money. To foster a culture that promotes ethical practices and encourages individual integrity is the prime focus being a leader.
How supportive and cooperative has the system around you been – both the one laid out by you and the one laid out by the government?
The active support from schemes by Start Up India, MSME, MGS, NewGen IEDC and others have supported start-up like ours to grow in the respective fields. These schemes encourage the idea of innovations along with the right monitoring for the expansion. The team support is the other aspect that is an integrated part of the organisation. The team of right seasoned professionals and including research scholars and professors of Chemistry with 20+ years of experience in the domain provide right support to fulfill the requirement of the innovation. The right association of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi has laid the foundations of establishment of waterless products. Also with upcoming government competitive opportunities encourages start-ups like us to actively apply and win such competitions.