Bonphul Air Products: Purifying Air Since 2017 

Bonphul Air Products
Prodyut Bora, CEO, Bonphul

Now that Covid is raging, most people have forgotten another big problem in India which is air pollution. During 2017-19, air quality – particularly in and around Delhi, was so bad that many foreign airlines cancelled flights and advised their citizens to stay away from India. Bonphul Air Products was born to address this problem.

Well, Bonphul Air Products could not have solved outdoor air quality issues (that is for the government to tackle) but at least the company could do something about indoor air quality (IAQ). After all, 90% people spend 90% of their lives indoor: home, office and in transit! Bonphul built up a whole suite of IAQ products: oxygenation, ventilation and purification.

However, when Covid struck, Bonphul used its expertise in oxygenation to build OxyMan: a modular oxygen supply system (MOSS) for hospitals. Today some of the top hospitals in India are using OxyMan and supplying oxygen to the bedside of patients.

Now Bonphul plans to offer equipment for the production of other gases as well: nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, etc. These gases have applications in industries like food processing, glassware, electronics, etc.

This would mark the transition of Bonphul from an IAQ company to a GasTech company.

Read more to find out about how Bonphul Air Products are helping humanity.

Brief us about the featured person and your journey towards starting your business.

Bonphul is the brainchild of two very unlikely people: Prodyut Bora and Narendra Bisht.

Prodyut Bora came to entrepreneurship after 13 years in active politics. He is a graduate from St. Stephen’s College and IIM-Ahmedabad.

Narendra Bisht, although an instrumentation engineer by training, is a natural tinkerer. He had tried his hands in multiple businesses before meeting Bora and deciding to “do something” in the oxygen space.

What is the current scenario of the industry that you are catering to?

The Industrial Gases industry that we operate in is something like the dairy industry in its inherent stability: people’s consumption of milk does not go up or down with the seasons, or according to the latest fashion. Similarly, a hospital’s consumption of oxygen, or a liquor factory’s need for carbon dioxide, or a cold-chain’s requirement for nitrogen, does not vary too much month-on-month. In this industry, there is organic growth and normal profitability.

But it is this stability in the industry that makes it a prime candidate for disruption. Bonphul has identified several areas for disruptive innovation.

Is your startup bootstrapped or are you looking for funding options?

So far, we have raised three rounds of capital from angel investors. We hope to have our first institutional round by December.

How has the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic influenced your business operations?

While so many industries have been devastated by the Covid pandemic, we are very lucky to be in an industry that has instead seen demand rise exponentially. Today, our order books are so full that we are having trouble meeting the demand.

As a startup, what steps are you taking to acquire new customers or retain the existing ones in these challenging times of Covid-19?

As Covid Warriors, we have been in the frontline of the battle against the virus. Our engineers and service partners have visited hospitals and even Covid Wards, installing equipment or servicing old ones.

What kind of products or services does your start-up offer?

Currently, we offer Gas Generators (oxygen and nitrogen) using PSA (pressure swing adsorption) technology. We also have a full suite of IAQ products.

What kind of challenges have you faced while incorporating your company?

Our biggest challenge has always been raising money. Today the flavour of the season for the VC community is new tech (AI/ML, Big Data and Analytics, IoT, Cloud, etc). There are very few institutional investors that are interested in ‘brick and mortar’.

Where do you envision yourself and your company to be in the long run and what are your future goals?

We are very clear that we want to be a full-fledged industrial-gas company. This means that we would do: (a) gas engineering, (b) gas production and (c) gas distribution. We would grow organically as well as inorganically through M&A (mergers & acquisitions). We hope to be listed on the stock market in three years from now.

Give your opinion on how to survive as a startup in these pandemic times amidst Covid-19.

We see only two ways for companies to survive this pandemic: (a) cut operational costs as much as you can and (b) use this time to create products/services for the future. If you are an established company, start thinking like a startup; and if you are a startup, start recalling your bootstrap days. There is no other magic bullet.



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