A major task of an entrepreneur is to keep the innovative juices flowing in their companies.
As a student, the extremely cold weather of Massachusetts always made Kranthi Vistakulka to put on layers of protective clothing. “It made me extremely uncomfortable. We had to take the warmers off while we were indoors and put them back when we had to go out. I found this very inconvenient. It was then that I came up with the idea of a jacket that would have something like an air conditioner in it which would regulate the temperature inside,” says Kranthi Kiran Vistakula the founder of Dhama Apparel Innovations.
Dhama Innovations, a two years old start up, makes functional apparel, mainly jackets, helmets and scarves, using a technology called ClimaCon (short for climate control). The jackets are called Climagear. These jackets help in regulating the temperature from 20-24 degree Celsius and so protect the users from the atmospheric change in temperature. Be it extreme cold or extreme heat, you will not feel the harshness. They are mainly supplied to the armed forces to help the soldiers face the harsh climatic conditions on the fronts.
Role of Technology
The Climagears have layers of special kind of plastics tiles called ‘peltiers’, sewn inside the jackets which convert electrical energy into heat. There are lithium batteries fitted to the belt to supply power to the plastic sheets from where they draw electrical energy. The plastic tiles help the jacket in maintaining a temperature of 20-40 degree Celsius inside. There is a control panel on the jacket which can help in adjusting the temperature.
Stressing on the importance of innovation Vistakula says, “Innovation is the key to success in all industries across all sectors. One of the major tasks of an entrepreneur is to keep the innovative juices flowing in their companies.”
And how does he encourage creativity in his company?
“There are many ways in which I encourage innovation. First of all, I try not to be a boss to my employees. Secondly, we engage our employees in various activities other than just doing the regulars office work. Once I pulled all my employees from their chairs and we played basket ball during office hours. Trust me, it was fun. There are times when we work till 2 am and there are times when we play during work hours,” he says.
The company has invested about Rs 5 crore in the business. Most of the seed funding for developing the product came from the government. “Most entrepreneurs find this difficult to believe but believe me, all you have to do is to find the right people,” says the proud founder of the company. Even Venture Capitalists are ready to provide funding to Dhama. “The product is undergoing a lot of refinement,” Vistakula adds.
At present, the jackets which cost Rs 26, 000 and weigh 650gm, are supplied either to the armed forces or the healthcare sector. “It is not easy to market a product like ours,” says Kranthi. We are focusing on tie-ups with sports companies, hospitals and factories. Those are the places were Climagear is needed the most. As of now, the company does not retail the products through retail outlets. “Before we plunge into retailing, the buyers need to be educated about the product. Right now, we are concentrating on educating the buyers,” says Vistakula.