Nirvana Being – Startup of the month
FOUNDED: In 2015
HEADQUARTER: New Delhi
Nirvana Being, is focused on launching sustainable, stylish, reusable and affordable environmental products that have a mass market in India due to our deteriorating quality of food, water and air.
Exhibit: Air Quality in metropolitan cities has never been worse, masks and purifiers are the need of the hour, what do you think is the apt solution to this problem?
Jai Dhar Gupta: At a macro level the need of the hour is to reduce our carbon footprint and go after every source of emissions with a vengeance. However, this will not happen overnight and requires a lot of will on the part of citizens and Government. In the interim, we are left with no choice but to protect ourselves with masks and purifiers.
Since the primary pollutant is nanoparticles, smaller than 2.5 microns, also known as PM2.5, already established as a carcinogen, we need masks and purifiers that can filter these with high efficiencies. The near-term solution is to buy masks with a N99 filter that is CE certified as FFP2 R personal protective equipment. N99 means that the filter removes greater than 99% of PM2.5 and the R implies that the mask is reusable. The fit is extremely important and the mask must seal the face in order to be effective – this is the reason that pollution masks come in different sizes.
As far as air purifiers go, all the household name brands make machines for environments like Singapore, London and Paris where the PM2.5 rarely exceeds 150. In Delhi, we average 300+ levels for 100 days of the year. We launched the Airgle, a machine created in America for operation theatres, as we tested that all the machines available in India came up short. The Airgle has a Medical-Grade HEPA and 3Kg of activated carbon, together with a titanium dioxide module to kill bacteria and viruses. It filters 40 times more than any other air purifier. It’s the only machine available in India that will give you safe indoor air quality levels once the PM2.5 exceeds 200.
The common man is not aware about air pollution and its health effects. Keep in mind, “awareness precedes change”.
Exhibit: Nirvana Being does seem like an interesting venture. When did this initial idea of the start-up germinate?
Jai Dhar Gupta: I am a runner, in fact, I am addicted to running and 4 years ago, my health deteriorated and my lung function was down about 40%, while I was training for a marathon. After 11 months of medical treatment, through a chance conversation with a Diplomat, I learnt about air pollution and its health effects – it was like a light bulb went on. I immediately started to look for solutions to protect me, both indoor and outdoor. I found that friends and family started asking for everything that I adopted. Hence, Nirvana Being was born. So, I am the first customer for anything we add to the product portfolio at Nirvana Being. I am very scientific and as a result we have a very strong portfolio of tested, credible, sustainable, and value driven products.
Exhibit: Tell us about your initial challenges with Nirvana Being and experiences gathered.
Jai Dhar Gupta: Honestly, the only challenge is changing mind-sets. We are surrounded by myths and misconceptions. We believe that since we are Indian, we have a higher DNA or tolerance to handle this air pollution – what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Well, this doesn’t apply to PM2.5, as it is a toxin, which will kill you. The safe level of PM2.5 is an average exposure of under 10 ug/m3, and we average 155 ug/m3 in Delhi. Air pollution affects our respiratory system, our cardio-vascular system, our nervous system, our urinary system, our fertility system, leads to diabetes, auto-immune disease, emotional issues and depression, infant mortality, the list goes on and on. There is an overall apathy in India when it comes to health and environment. The mind-set in India is very consequential – we don’t care to prevent, but are willing to spend any amount to cure.
Exhibit: Why Nirvana Being – what’s so different in it that sets it apart as a different class?
Jai Dhar Gupta: What sets Nirvana Being apart are our scientific and environmental values. We have created a portfolio of highly tested and certified products that protect our customers, both indoors and outdoors. Again, I am the first client, so the product has to deliver quality and value. In addition, we are environmentalists and would never sell anything that has a short life or is disposable in nature. It is the values and thought leadership that set Nirvana Being apart from any competition.
Exhibit: What do you think is every individual’s basic responsibility towards the environment?
Jai Dhar Gupta: With increasing affluence, we have developed a lot of bad habits over the years. Everybody has fallen into the convenience trap. The advent of single use, disposable items, the amounts of packaging used, the adopting of plastic, our Government subsidising and hence promoting the use of diesel, a dirty fuel, lack of waste management, too many things to list. We must think about the environmental consequences of everything we do. There is no other option – heck, we’ve run out of clean air – the single largest raw material consumed by our body. We have a responsibility to change habits, reduce our carbon footprint and get on the path of sustainable living, with overall environmental consciousness.
Exhibit: China has installed huge air purifying towers on the streets in order to curb pollution, do you think the Indian government should be working on similar lines?
Jai Dhar Gupta: The huge air purifying towers are ineffective in cleaning the air, however, they achieve a great purpose of spreading awareness. The common man is not aware about air pollution and its health effects. Keep in mind, “awareness precedes change.”
Exhibit: What’s the response like from your clients so far?
Jai Dhar Gupta: We deliver tangible results and this is the reason we started selling the Laser Egg, our Air Quality Monitor. Since air pollution is invisible, with the help of the Laser Egg, you now can ‘See the invisible,’ and be aware all the time. Clients love our quality, our values and we are very responsive with customer service as well. All part of our attempt to turn our clients into Raving Fans.
Exhibit: Is there anything you’d like to advice to the aspiring entrepreneurs?
Jai Dhar Gupta: I think this environmental degradation has created lots of entrepreneurial opportunities. You have to find the scalable one’s and make it ‘convenient’ for people to change habits to a more sustainable path.
Exhibit: Is it possible for the men in India to stand for the cause of women safety in India?
Jai Dhar Gupta: I don’t see why not – a woman is an integral part of every man’s life in the form of a mother, wife/girlfriend and maybe a daughter/daughters.
Exhibit: What is the most distressing aspect of women safety that is being overlooked?
Jai Dhar Gupta: There is no repercussion. We have good, sound laws, however, our enforcement leaves a lot to be desired. With each incident and the lack of swift punishment/sentencing, we end up creating a bigger problem.
Exhibit: Why did you feel the need to being Mace to India?
Jai Dhar Gupta: We lack an emergency response mechanism in India. It is not just for the safety of women, every man, child and senior needs to take their safety and security in their own hands. Every day, our news is full of horror stories. Mace has created a range of non-lethal tools for self-defence – we have alarms for children and pepper sprays for adults. Mace is all about empowerment – cause nobody should have to live in fear.