Meet Manas Ranjan Hota, Co-founder & COO, DrinkPrime in this exclusive interview with TimesTech. Manas is set to disrupt the way consumers drink or think about clean water. He talks to us about his visionary venture, DrinkPrime and how he strategizes to bring every drop of clean water to his subscribers.
TimesTech: What brought this unique business idea and since its augmentation, how has the business model worked in your respective focused market segments?
Manas: Vijender and I faced several challenges while trying to access safe drinking water in Bengaluru – We could neither rely on the water can vendors to deliver clean drinking water nor get a water purifier without a hefty, upfront investment. We realized the need to find a solution for these challenges; That’s DrinkPrime, the IoT-enabled customized water purifier on subscription. We are the pioneers in the water purifier subscription industry in India.
With DrinkPrime, our subscribers can access clean, safe and healthy drinking water every day by choosing the most suitable and affordable subscription plans. When we launched DrinkPrime in Bengaluru in 2016, not a lot of people were aware of the subscription model. People considered buying the best option.
But if you look at the market right now, people prefer subscriptions over buying. Brands across industries have started to leverage the subscription model encouraging customers to own less but access more.
DrinkPrime is currently present in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Noida. We expanded to Hyderabad in 2020 and the Delhi NCR region in 2021. Over the period of six years, our user base has grown exponentially. Currently, we provide affordable safe drinking water access to 1 lakh+ users.
TimesTech: What has IoT to do in this unique subscription model?
Manas: IoT plays an important role in maintaining and improving the efficiency of DrinkPrime and our service. Our IoT-enabled water purifiers provide us with real-time data on the water quality received by our subscribers helping us to proactively schedule free maintenance checks. Our customers benefit from this in three aspects:
- They get perfectly purified drinking water always; We monitor their water quality
- They can forget that they have a water purifier at home; We proactively schedule maintenance checks
- They get the most affordable subscription plans; Given that our maintenance checks are proactive and not reactive, we are able to reduce the service cost by 30-40% helping us make DrinkPrime even more affordable.
IoT also helps us map the water quality in the cities we service. The water quality maps help us customize our water purifiers efficiently.
TimesTech: It’s just water purifiers or you’re looking to venture into newer verticals with the same business models?
Manas: We are on a mission to provide clean, safe and healthy drinking water to all. For the same reason, we are not a water purifier manufacturing company but a drinking water solution provider.
Right now, we are trying to make safe drinking water accessible and affordable to everyone by providing customized water purifiers on subscription. In the upcoming years, if we find the need to come up with new products and services to tackle the drinking water problem in India, we will be the first ones to step up. At that point, if the subscription model seems to be the most viable option, we will utilize it.
TimesTech: Which range of water-purifiers are catered to your customers, or is it, in-house design?
Manas: We offer DrinkPrime, the IoT-enabled customized water purifier, to our subscribers. Our production team and tech team have been working together to design the water purifiers in-house since 2016.
There are four variations of DrinkPrime. We install a device in a household based on the input water quality. Each variant has a unique filtration system to get rid of harmful contaminants and can be placed on a counter or wall-mounted. DrinkPrime purifies up to 15 litres of water an hour and has a built-in storage tank of eight-litre capacity allowing subscribers to get drinking water even during a power outage.
TimesTech: Growing DrinkPrime’s subscriber base by 500% over the last 2 years with the current subscriber count exceeding 30,000 speaks the truth of this potential market, what stirs this growth in this segment and ahead strategies?
Manas: Less than 5% of the Indian population has access to a water purifier. People are finding it difficult to buy water purifiers due to the hefty upfront cost (up to ₹20,000) and recurring annual maintenance cost (up to ₹5000).
Whereas, DrinkPrime users can access safe drinking water by paying as low as ₹339 per month. For the same reason, subscribing to DrinkPrime is a no-brainer for urban middle-class families in India.
Moreover, with DrinkPrime, they get free delivery, installation, lifetime maintenance, filter replacements and relocation. Unlike traditional water purifiers, users can control and monitor DrinkPrime using the mobile app too. Given all these benefits, people don’t think twice before they choose DrinkPrime over other water purifiers.
Another reason for our extensive growth over the years is awareness. People in India are aware of the problems associated with drinking unsafe water. They find our affordable, customized solution the most viable and effective option. We do our best to educate the people in India about the importance of consuming safe drinking water. You can see it if you visit our website, social media platforms or other health/wellness platforms.
Though we have come a long way in making safe drinking water affordable, we are still trying to find ways to reduce costs for our subscribers. Our teams are always focused on implementing strategies and figuring out new solutions to make this happen.