From MIT to India, Dhama Innovations is Bringing a Revolution with Innovative Technology!

While at MIT, I came across a rather inconvenient problem. The freezing New England winters required me to wear multiple layers of clothing to deal with the cold weather outside. I had to take these layers off as soon as I stepped inside the centrally heated indoors of the University. Tired of this routine of repeatedly donning and shedding layers of clothing, I was struck by an idea, ‘What if I create clothing that can heat or cool the body of the wearer on demand?’ I connected my idea to the plight of numerous soldiers and industrial workers who face extreme heat/cold in course of their duties,” says Kranthi Kiran Vistakula, Founder, Dhama Innovations.

Dhama Innovations is a technology development company pioneering an innovative user-regulated climate-control technology called ClimaCon®. The company was established in January 2008 by Kranthi, alumnus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). ClimaCon® is an innovative fan-less heat exchange technology that actively heats or cools the wearer to help maintain core body temperature in the face of harsh weather. Three patents have been filed for ClimaCon® and the product portfolio has been diversified over many revolutionary applications in defense, industrial, healthcare, and lifestyle segments.

There are four other members in the core team:

  • Tarun Kochhar, Chief Marketing and Brand Manager: An engineer from BIT Mesra and alumnus of XLRI Jamshedpur, Tarun has played myriad roles in areas of human resources, sales and marketing at Hindustan Lever Limited during his 11 year stint there.
  • Prasenjit Kundu, Design Manager: Prasenjit Kundu has gained his design and technical expertise from National Institute of Design and National Institute of Fashion Technology.
  • Sachita Agarwala, Strategic Design Manager: A post-graduate from National Institute of Design in Strategic Design Management.
  • Vivek Silwal, Thermal Design Engineer: An M.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from IIT, Kanpur, Vivek plays a pivotal role in research and development, new applications, and design and testing of the ClimaCon® technology platform.

Kranthi developed the first prototype of the jacket with in-built heating and cooling. But it was bulky and weighed around 5 kgs! Armed with this jacket, he came back to India and founded Dhama Innovations with incubation support from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, and a seed capital of 12 lakh rupees from Technopreneur Promotion Program (TePP), Govt. of India. After extensive R&D and several prototype iterations, he succeeded in creating a sleek and lightweight jacket which weighed only 800 g (84% lighter than the first prototype) and could be run with rechargeable batteries. With this, was created ClimaCon®, a robust and lightweight, cooling/heating technology platform that today powers several applications in the domains of thermal comfort, pain-management and lifestyle accessories.

Developed upon the ClimaCon technology, their product range consists of the following products:

Therapeutic Products:

  • Menstrual Pain-Relief: EVE ThermoPulseTM Therapy System
  • Musculoskeletal Pain-Relief (Moist Heat Therapy): GO>
  • Musculoskeletal Pain-Relief (Hot, Cold and Contrast Therapy): CLIMAWARETM CryothermicTM Pain-Relieving System

Lifestyle Products:

  • Cooling/Heating Neck Scarf
  • Cooling/Heating Beverage Coaster

Defense and Industrial Products:

  • Context-based future customized cooling/heating products
  • Consumer goods packaging solutions
The products have undergone successful trials with Indian soldiers posted in Siachen and Rajasthan during peak winter and summer season. However, the process of entering this market is layered and lengthy, and as the requirements are very specific to the military context the solutions must be customized to cater to their special needs.

In the recent past, the Indian private sector has made rapid strides in the field of technology and innovation. Many of these innovations hold the promise of adding immense value to the quality of life of our defense forces. What I feel is missing here is the INTERFACE. Like I said before, for private SME companies, it is a lengthy and slow process to enter this market. Probably, Government should intervene and organize more forums and platforms between the decision makers in the military and the SME companies for new innovations to be showcased and adopted,” says Kranthi.

Direct-sales form about 70 % of the total revenues, 10 to 20 % comes from online retail and the remaining is through corporate JVs (Joint Ventures).

The JVs that they have entered into are of two types:

  • Royalty Model: A fixed price or royalty per piece is paid along with the cost of distribution and margin by the JV company to Dhama Innovations. Here the JV company sells the product under its own brand.
  • Joint-Branding partnership: Marketing is carried out by the JV under a joint name and revenues are shared.

Through this robust revenue model, they were able to achieve an operational breakeven in 2011.

The platforms utilized for marketing Dhama Innovations are a mix of strategic alliances, relationship marketing and direct selling endeavors (both B2B and B2C). For the therapeutic products, they are approaching opinion-leading doctors in orthopedics and gynecology as well as wellness and pharmacy chains. They are also exploring marketing partnerships with niche companies focused on women’s health, sports and orthopedic care. Various corporate, on-ground and online events are lined up for direct marketing of EVE and GO> range of products in India.

Dhama Innovations has received a plethora of National and International Awards:

  • Business World ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010’.
  • ‘Innovator of the Year 2010’ by Massachusetts Institute of Technology published Technology Review Magazine.
  • Gold Medalist at Lockheed Martin Innovators’ Competition in 2008.
  • First prize winner at ‘India Innovation Pioneers’ Challenge, Champion of Champions Category’ in 2008.
  • Recognized as ‘Top 100 Most Promising Technology Companies’ in Asia and ‘Top 200 Most Promising Technology Companies’ in the Globe by Red Herring, 2009
  • Awarded TePP (Technopreneur Promotion Programme) Grant from Department of Science and Technology, Government of India 2008.
  • Winner of MIT 1K Business Plan Competition 2005.

Know more about Dhama Innovations on their website and buy their products on Climawareonline.


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