Tough bureaucratic conditions of the 80s and not so rosy today for an Entrepreneur in India – Dr. Mahesh Gupta, Founder Kent RO
Kent RO’s launch in the late 90s was a period when the water purifier market in India was hardly even in existence. At the time, brands competing in the sector deployed door-to-door salespeople for marketing. This is when Dr. Mahesh Gupta, founder of Kent RO Systems Ltd., stumbled into the water purifier industry and revolutionised it within a few years. Today it stands as one of the most lucrative sectors for national and international consumer durable brands to peep in and have a pie of the 3500 crores plus industry.
When his children had jaundice, Dr. Gupta realised that drinking water was the culprit for many dangerous diseases. He then researched the water purifiers available in the market and after several attempts, devised his water purifier which he was confident was a marketable product. In a way, the genesis of the organised water purifier industry began with the genesis of Kent RO, in 1988, through which we now have access to RO water purifiers equipped with multiple purification techniques.
After several trials and months of hard work, he zeroed in on technology-reverse osmosis (RO)-which promised the results he wanted, and the first KENT purifier was born in March 1999. Realising, traditional RO filters were not useful for every type of water, Dr. Gupta worked on technology to make RO as a uniform water purifier capable of purifying all kinds of water irrespective of the sources of water. He came up with its revolutionary technology of RO+UV+UF+TDS controller which purifies water while retaining the essential natural minerals.
“Capital was not available, that’s why my journey was very slow,” says Dr. Gupta, pointing out that when he started out all he had was savings of Rs. 20,000 from his job at Indian Oil. Once the product and company were ready for launch, he then faced competition from established international brands, which they outbid on the basis of the technology being used.
Dr. Gupta and the Kent RO brand has adopted the philosophy of providing wholesome healthcare and wellbeing. From a small garage with a self-made, self-serving product, they now have an array of Ozone-based food and air purifiers. Kent RO Systems Ltd. Now has three state-of-the-art manufacturing plants in Roorki, Uttarakhand and a fourth coming up in Greater Noida. As per the company, health care is not just their business but a passion and the very purpose of Kent’s existence.
Today, Kent RO is one of the very popular, if not the most popular water purifier brand in the country and Dr. Mahesh Gupta’s inventions – and company as a whole – has been bestowed with several national and international awards. The company currently exports products to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Nepal and recently entered GCC Market. They are planning to double exports in the next two years.
With an entrepreneurial journey that started in the 80’s Dr. Gupta has certainly had his fair share of challenges. He says, “Even now things are not so rosy. Any entrepreneur coming forward must understand that he has to face difficult times because there are many bureaucracies where things don’t move very easily.” He goes on to say that life is not easy for a businessman owing to a lack of trust from governments. He adds, “Governments always feel businessmen are not honest and they are not paying their dues properly.”
While he does sympathise with the reality of drinking water conditions in India, Dr. Gupta says that the unlikeliness of it improving is also an opportunity for Kent RO to grow. For the last six years, the company has been growing at a rate of 15% continuously, and they hope to clock a turnover of about 850 crores this year.
Kent RO systems and water purifiers are now synonymous, despite the decades of hard work, successes and tribulations, Dr. Gupta still believes he needs to work hard. He advises aspiring entrepreneurs with dreams to “dream big”, he signs off saying, “If you dream big, you’re bound to succeed.”
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