Making heat waves

Making heat waves

When Kranthi Vistakula, founder and chief-executive of Dhama Innovations (Dhama) found himself battling the extreme temperatures of Boston – severely cold outdoors, but, stifling within the heated confines of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he was pursuing his Masters, it was not just an inconvenience for him, but, an inspiration. The harsh winter outside and the warmth of central heating inside set him thinking…and he invented a jacket that helps the body to adjust to the surrounding temperature.

Dhama’s innovations aim to make everyday life easier for people. Vistakula received the Business World Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 and the company was also recognised as one of the Top 100 Most Promising Technology Companies in Asia by Red Herring.

Armed with his patented climate control technology and a prototype of the jacket, Vistakula returned to India to make his innovation available to the world. And thus was born, Dhama, a company that focuses on the idea and the process of innovating and making products that are years ahead of what is available in the market today. From a vest that helps to keep your body temperature constant to products that help to resolve orthopaedic problems, Hyderabad-based Dhama’s journey has just started.

Crossing hurdles

Funding was Vistakula’s first hurdle. But, with the support of a grant from the Indian government’s Technopreneur Programme and money won at various competitions such as MIT’s 1k Business Plan competition, Vistakula set up Dhama in 2008 that matured at the National Institute of Design’s Business Incubator and is now located independently in Hyderabad. Funding, that began with just Rs. 12 lakh, today, stands at Rs. 3 crore with companies such as Reliance Technology Ventures Limited taking a keen interest in the innovations that Dhama has to offer.

Growing strong

The company started with a single jacket. And today, several verticals including clothing manufacturers and medical suppliers stand to benefit from it. ClimaCon is the patented technology employed by Dhama to create a wide range of functional apparel under the ClimaWare label. Apart from the jacket , Dhama also produces a neck scarf that is set to roll out next month. With interest being shown by the Indian and American armed forces, the ClimaWare jacket could very well be the first success story for Dhama.

Snap Shot

Dhama Innovations
Founder: Kranthi Vistakula
Location: Hyderabad
No of Employees: 15
Products: 9 products, in the apparel and healthcare segments. Each product is innovation-driven

Vistakula wants his innovations to also make an impact on the day-to-day lives of the common man and is working towards it. But, says Vistakula, “The challenge is to identify markets and to bring these products to the markets.” Currently, Dhama has nine products in the apparel and healthcare segments and they include a knee pack that is capable of temperatures from 4 to 44 degrees, products that aid with back pain, minimise bleeding and even insoles to bring more comfort to the feet.

With a talent pool of 15 people, most of whom have graduated from prestigious universities around the world, Dhama hopes to innovate at all levels, including the process of marketing and selling their products. While initial plans include the very direct method of approaching doctors who may prescribe his healthcare products and supplying to retail spaces, Vistakula hopes that in the future his products will be marketed via a different approach.

Final flush

Dhama’s innovations aim to make everyday life easier for people. The number of awards received serves as proof. Vistakula walked away with the Business World Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 award and the Innovator of the Year 2010 from MIT. His company was also recognised as one of the Top 100 Most Promising Technology Companies in Asia by Red Herring. Conceptually, the company does stand apart with its drive to bring in products that solve problems for the common man- like heat therapy for a hurting knee, a jacket that is light and viable and maintains a constant body temperature or insoles that make shoes more comfortable. And, this is just the beginning for Vistakula. The scientist and innovator also has a keen business sense and the entrepreneur within him is raring to go.