The World Health Organisation’s survey informs that 80% of the population living in Indian cities is breathing unhealthy air every day. Similarly, another study on air quality titled ‘The Environment Performance Index’ conducted by Yale and Columbia University in collaboration with World Economic Forum (WEF) has ranked India 177 of 180 countries. The study forewarns the possibility of public health crisis if appropriate measures are not taken to control pollution soon. India has fallen 36 places as compared with the rankings of 2016. Air Quality is measured based on the number of small particles every cubic meter of air and such small air particles can pose major health threats like lung cancer, strokes and heart attacks.
Jaidhar Gupta’s personal health scare while training for a marathon lead to the realization of the worsening environmental conditions and the major health and mortality risks it posed for people across all age groups. To add to this agony, no quality and verified products or protective gears were available to combat the prevalent outdoor and indoor conditions.
Jaidhar’s relentless effort to find and develop quality products led to the formation of Nirvana Being and the company today offers multiple products like masks, monitors, indoor plants, air purifiers [car and room], and central air purification with real-time monitoring.
On the occasion of World Health Day, Manish Joshi of NewsBarons connects with Jaidhar Gupta, Founder- Nirvana Being & CEO MACE India who informs ‘We inhale 12,000 liters of toxic air every day’.
NB: How big is the Indian market for such products?
Jaidhar: The entire Indo-Gangetic plain is reeling with toxic air, however, this is not just an urban problem. The problem in rural India is far worse since villager’s burn biomass for fuel for food and heat in homes that have no ventilation. Also, there is a growing usage of pesticide in the fields that spread in the air further worsening the existing situation.
The opportunity for growth is enormous across India as the problem of air pollution exists across all major cities. It is a combination of an unsustainable lifestyle and poor civil infrastructure. The current market size is approximately INR 500 crore with a y-o-y growth rate of 30%.
NB: What is your current geographical presence? What are your plans for expansion?
Jaidhar: Our offline presence is predominantly in the National Capital Region (NCR), however, we are working on expanding our footprints across Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Patna, Agra, Gwalior and Kolkatta soon. We are also planning to start operations in Kathmandu, Nepal by the end of this year and Bangladesh in 2019. With our online business, we deliver almost everywhere in India.
NB: This is a capital intensive venture. What has been the investment till date and y-o-y growth? What is the break-even period?
Jaidhar: Till date, we have invested about INR 30 crore into the business and expect to break-even in 2020-2021.
NB: There is a huge presence of various domestic and global products in this category. How would you differentiate your products from what is already available?
Jaidhar: All products are not equal and you get what you pay for. While purchasing from Nirvana Being you can count on the following:
Our products meet all international standards and have the highest level of certifications. We are extremely scientific since this is a health and wellness category.
Our values as an environmental company: We will never support anything that is detrimental to the environment like disposable masks or products with excessive packaging.
Strong and well-rounded portfolio with all leading-edge solutions under one roof, both consumer and enterprise solutions.
The only company in the space that has launched company-owned retail stores.
NB: Most of these products would be unaffordable for a large segment in India?
Jaidhar: It is a mindset and acceptance takes time. Take for example the launch of water purifiers. We thought it was the ridiculous idea and, today, nearly every household has one with a huge market competition. We only drink 2-3 liters of water in a day and, in comparison, we inhale 12,000 liters of toxic air every day. Protecting oneself from air toxins should be everyone’s priority.
NB: Are you looking at raising funds? If yes, please specify the amount and need?
Jaidhar: Our highest growth area is central air purification, whereby we install customized filters on existing HVAC infrastructure to filter the air. All corporate offices, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, cinemas and restaurants will be forced to treat their indoor air over the next few years to comply with health and safety standards. This is a huge opportunity and a high capex business. We require funding in the order $5-6 million to establish a presence in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkatta to bankroll this business.