Interview with Puneet Gupta, CEO & Founder of Clensta, a personal care startup

Puneet Gupta

An exclusive interview with Puneet Gupta, CEO & Founder of Clensta, a personal care startup

Puneet Gupta, a visionary entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Clensta, has been at the forefront of revolutionizing personal care through his innovative startup. With a deep passion for creating impactful solutions, Puneet’s journey in the realm of personal care has been nothing short of inspiring.

His commitment to addressing pressing global challenges in hygiene and wellness has propelled Clensta into a pioneering force in the industry. In this exclusive interview, we delve into Puneet’s entrepreneurial journey, the genesis of Clensta, and the transformative impact his startup has had on the personal care landscape.

Can you tell us the inspiration and story behind founding Clensta, and what led you toc develop India’s first waterless personal care products?

Puneet Gupta: I’ve always been passionate about being associated with the the defence forces in some way or the other. In fact, in 2003 I cleared the NDA exam but couldn’t take it up due to medical reasons. Six years later, I was part of a defence start up where I was creating advanced technologies for surveillance, visibility in zero light etc.

Since I was very much in sync with the needs of the armed forces, I was aware of their struggles when posted in remote areas where they had no access to water to take a bath or follow a personal hygiene routine.

A General told me this was one of their biggest concerns as it had serious health risks for our soldiers. Dirt-related infections sometimes led to amputations. Clensta born out of this necessity to better the quality of living for those serving the nation in extreme weather conditions.

I partnered with IIT Delhi and developed the world’s first waterless technology to create a range of complete personal hygiene solutions that addressed this problem. Just imagine, a soldier in Siachen who earlier went up to 90 days without taking a bath can now clean himself every day without water using Clensta’s Body Bath and Shampoo!

We started with the Waterless range but have today evolved to offer personal care products that can help anyone improve their personal care. Our products are across categories including Skincare, Haircare, Consumable, Lip Care, etc.

Water conservation is a significant global concern. How do Clensta’s waterless products contribute to sustainability and addressing water scarcity issues?

Puneet Gupta: Clensta was talking sustainability much before everyone else began talking about it. We launched the company with our waterless range back in 2016. The need to develop a technology like this stemmed from the simple idea that one could take a bath and get clean without water.

On an average, we use around 70 litres of water for each bath. With our waterless shampoos and soaps, we’ve been able to save 1 billion litres of water so far! I do realise now that in a world ravaged by climate change, the next world war could be fought over water attributing greater significance to waterless products.

 As of today, 1.2 billion people worldwide lack access to water. This number could go up to 50% of the population by 2025. On the other hand, the privileged amongst us use 50-100 litres for one shower! I earlier thought that access to hygiene formed the foundation of Clensta but I realise that access to water is a much bigger poblem.

Clensta is trying to create an alternative for the world with Buy1 Give1 campaign where we are pledging to provide 1 bottle of clean drinking water to those in need in exchange to every Clensta product that is sold.

In future, we aim to adopt wells, villages, and rivers as an extension to this initiative – Some part of our earning will also go to develop these steps so that the needy can have access to water is the core of the company.

What were the challenges you faced when introducing a concept like waterless personal care products to the Indian market, and how did you overcome them?

Puneet Gupta: Any conceptual, niche product range is difficult to sell but has its own market. We position our range as part of the Blue Ocean strategy — our differentiated products are affordably priced and available to all. We aim to create a new market space and new demand for our range.

When we started out, informing our target audience about what we offer and how our products could change their lives was a huge challenge as was creating that awareness. We chose to approach the then Defence Minister of India Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman and explained to her how our products can greatly benefit the forces.

We went to the leaders / CEOs of hospital chains and showed them how patients’ hygiene can be taken care of every day without the use of water. Instead of reaching out to individuals, we opted for an institutional approach where one decision-maker at the top could analyse and make the decision for the greater good of a larger group of people.

Clensta offers a range of waterless products, from body wash to shampoo. Could you share some insights into the technology and innovation behind these products?

Puneet Gupta: When we were building Clensta, we were very clear that we wanted to have base technologies that could be easily scaled up for the personal care domain. We develop all our proprietary technologies at IIT-Delhi. The first one we developed was Waterless Technology, a personal care tech where one can take a bath without water.

Then we added the STAR (Safe Transdermal Absorption) technology that ensures effective and safe transdermal absorption of reactive ingredients. This brings out the best possible benefit of each ingredient used. The third was the CRAN (Complete Release of Active Nutrients) technology that enables the seamless assimilation of vital nutrients for healthy hair, skin, and overall body wellness. This is deployed primarily for consumables.

Whatever you eat, it should be nearly 100% absorbed. We integrate market-first natural extracts in our products, such as Red Aloe Vera (22x more powerful than regular aloe vera) and plant-based egg protein, aligning our offerings with the values of integrating nature with technology. We are building several other technologies and aim to capture 5 crore households with at least 5 of our products in the next 5 years.

Personal hygiene is of paramount importance, especially in healthcare settings. How have Clensta’s  products made a difference in healthcare, and are there any partnerships or collaborations in this sector that you can discuss?

Puneet Gupta: Personal care is so evolved that now apart from just doing the job of cleaning, products have to fight against a host of other radical damages to hair and skin like pollution, infections and bacteria. Brands have to come up with the right formulations in personal care to deal with exposure to elements of the environment.

At all times, a certain level of bacterial movement is happening in your body and therefore, it is important that products have the right quantity, concentration or percentage of active ingredients that protect you from hair fall, frizziness and damage to skin from dust or dirt.

Clensta offers the perfect blend of natural + scientifically backed, result-oriented products that do all of this for you and more!

I can’t disclose any information on our partnerships but we are actively exploring partnerships in the healthcare sector to expand the positive impact of our innovative products.

What are the plans and strategies for expanding Clensta’s reach and product offerings in the future?

Puneet Gupta: Clensta has always been a company that owned the product value chain. Now that we’re are confident about the efficacy of our products, the next step in the journey is to own the distribution value chain, we have on-boarded Ashish Mishra as the Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer to significantly enhance our availability across online and offline channels.

With Parineeti Chopra as an investor in the company, we are well-equipped and on our way to ramp up our marketing and awareness activities in the future.

As a pioneer in the field of personal care products, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to make a positive impact on the environment through innovation?

Puneet Gupta: Every entrepreneur should start building his dream into a reality, but the real success lies in the execution of that dream. You might have the greatest idea, but that will fail without the support of a solid, effective execution plan and strategy in place. After all, God is in the tiniest of details.

What is your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs?

Puneet Gupta: Taking the first step is the most difficult but the most important, so take it. Execution is the second. Success is a very broad term, but overall you should be happy doing what you are doing. If you’re satisfied with what you’re doing, that’s success for me.

Do not start building comparisons with others because you have no clue what they went through to get here. Their success stories might just be 1% of their entire journey. What we don’t see is the 99% of their failures. The idea is to enjoy your own journey no matter how much time it takes. At the end what matters the most is that you are satisfied and passionate enough to carry on and fuel your dream.

In conclusion, Puneet Gupta’s unwavering dedication to advancing personal care solutions through Clensta reflects not only a business success story but a commitment to improving lives globally. As a CEO and Founder, his strategic vision and innovative spirit have positioned Clensta as a trailblazer in the personal care startup ecosystem.

As we look ahead, it is evident that Puneet’s leadership will continue to drive Clensta towards new heights, pushing boundaries and setting new standards in the pursuit of a healthier and more hygienic world. We extend our gratitude to Puneet for sharing his insights and look forward to witnessing the continued success and impact of Clensta in the evolving landscape of personal care.

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