In Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield, temperatures routinely plummet to -50 degree Celsius and the soldiers of the Indian Army posted at the base have to battle frostbite and icy winds. When battling such harsh weather conditions, normal day-to-day activities like taking a bath is a luxury. At least till now.
Working closely with defence personnel and observing the tough environmental conditions they worked under, Puneet Gupta decided to do something about it. His efforts culminated in starting Clensta, a waterless personal hygiene solution. The startup’s line of gel-based waterless bath and shampoo enables one to take a bath or wash their hair without using a single drop of water.
“I examined the hygienic situation of a soldier and the challenge of not bathing for days faced during their duty in places with extreme conditions like Siachen, Kargil or Drass. After witnessing their difficulty in maintaining personal, I decided to develop waterless technology products, leading to the establishment of Clensta,” says Gupta.
Need of the hour
Clensta (formed by joining two words -cleaning and instant), is, however, not just for soldiers stationed in extreme environments, but can prove useful to patients in hospitals, elderly people and adventure enthusiasts.
According to the founder, with both water scarcity and the level of groundwater now reaching alarming levels (both nationally and globally), and for a country that remains drought-prone, where natural calamities are a regular phenomenon affecting more than its 330 million inhabitants, Clensta is a much-needed idea.
“Amid a scarcity of water to drink, Clensta is a big boon for India since it does not use a drop of water,” avers the firm’s CEO, adding that the saved water resources can subsequently be conserved and used for other purposes, allowing people to have a hygienic life without worrying about water availability.
According to the 34-year old founder, Clensta as a brand has been established with the thought of providing innovative solutions to everyday problems. Citing how various unhygienic bathing standards applicable for patients today make it problematic for them to maintain cleanliness, he opines that the easy availability of waterless bath and shampoo now makes it easy for patients to maintain hygiene in severe health conditions.
As a technology, Clensta’s makers claim it to be a simple formulation – free of alcohol, Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS, a chemical generally used in bathing products) and any other harmful ingredients. Moreover, unlike traditional products, it can be directly applied to hair and body, massaged and then can be dried off using a towel.
“Its advanced gel-based cleansing formula not only removes dirt, oil, and grease completely, but also provides anti-microbial properties, removes body odour and maintains the pH of the skin and keeps it moisturised,” adds Gupta, claiming that the entrapments of dust microbes and bacteria are a common occurrence on human skin and unlike bathing with soap that requires almost 70 litres of water, Clensta’s solutions require none.
According to the team behind this IIT-Delhi partnered venture, Clensta’s waterless body bath products are distinguished from others based on their formulation and innovativeness too.
“The Clensta products are formulated with ingredients (chlorhexidine, dehydroacetic acid, and benzyl alcohol) which kill 99 % of germs. The relative amount of ingredients and the ratio (weight/vol %) of every ingredient and its synergism makes our product different from a normal shampoo. Due to this combination, the products can maintain the same level of cleansing effect without leaving the same high level of residue,” says Gupta.
Stressing on the company’s thrust on sustainable manufacturing, the founder asserts that the company has prepared products using the ingredients that will break down in nature. “The products, indigenously manufactured under the Make in India and Swachh Bharat Scheme, have been dermatological tested and approved under FDA,” Gupta says.
On the company’s rapid strides so far, Gupta affirms that ever since its inception in 2016 (with product commercialization happening only in 2018), the company has built a significant market for its waterless products.
While maintaining that the opportunity of converting climatic risk into a business opportunity does drive Clensta to explore untapped frontiers, the startup founder adds that the sectors such as healthcare, defence, travel and places with acute water scarcity remain his key target segments.
“The company’s progress could be determined by the numbers of bottles sold till date,” he boasts, adding that the company has successfully sold around 3 lakh bottles to its consumers since its incorporation.
The biotech startup’s products, besides widely accepted in the Indian Army and Navy, have so far made it to the shelves in many private and government hospitals and organisations, including – All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital (RML), Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial Hospital (SSKM) and CK Birla, among others.
Explaining the existing revenue stream of the company, Gupta adds that presently the firm follows a B2B sales channel through which the product is sold via a distribution network. Presently, Clensta’s offerings are currently available on all the leading ecommerce portals like Amazon, Flipkart, and Seniority.
Gupta says the startup is now in the midst of developing a new set of products, that includes everything from waterless toothpaste, a pigeon repellent and an anti-mosquito spray. Describing the USP of its soon to be launched ‘waterless toothpaste’, Gupta says the product has a big potential in the oral care market.
The firm also intends to develop an innovative bio-repellent for pigeons, which it claims, will exhibit excellent performance over a number of surfaces, while being devoid of any harmful chemicals. Also, its anti-mosquito body bath will offer cleansing benefit along with mosquito repellent properties.