Entrepreneur Kavin Kumar Kandaswamy believes that one of the biggest lessons the COVID-19 pandemic taught us is that personal hygiene “is not a choice anymore, but a necessity to keep ourselves and others safe”.
With this thought in mind, Kavin and friend, Raja Palanisamy, launched MYPPE Wellness Service Pvt Ltd (better known by its brand name MY), a safe lifestyle startup, in 2020. The idea was to provide safety products to help people adapt to the new normal, and the startup is involved in designing and manufacturing UV pocket sanitisers, UV tabletop sanitisers, anti-viral face masks, scarves, and overalls to help people stay safe amidst the pandemic.
“History has shown us that there’ll always be an outbreak of some sort or the other occasionally. We have had Ebola, SARS, MERS, and what have you not. Now it’s COVID-19. Personal hygiene is no longer a choice, but a necessity. It is essential for our safety and the wellbeing of the people around us. That’s the biggest lesson the pandemic has taught us, and that’s the change we are trying to bring into the market,” Kavin tells YS.
Serial entrepreneur Kavin is also the founder of K3 Management & Edu Services Pvt Ltd. and Mangalam Educational Trust. Meanwhile, Raja, a trained pilot, lawyer, and businessman, has established a lighting and trading company.
‘Seeing safety as a Lifestyle’
Kavin explains that the MY UV One Portable Steriliser has been certified by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA). It uses UV-C lights that kill bacteria and viruses, including the coronavirus, when held at 7 cm from any surface within 40 seconds. The steriliser is available for purchase online through the startup’s official website for Rs 1,999.
Apart from this, MY has designed India’s first activated carbon-plus copper mask, which has also been tested for bacterial filtration efficiency. The mask is currently available for Rs 223.
“When the pandemic broke out, we wondered what exactly the problem was. Upon close examination, we identified lifestyle as the root cause. Lifestyle is something that is developed over the years, even centuries…What if we were to enhance our lifestyle and make the world a safer place? We understood if we make innovative products that people can use daily, we could prevent another outbreak,” he says.
The startup also offers ‘MY’ Overalls, which are made with Level 2 fabric to prevent any viral breach. The MY UV Safe, a 40-litre tabletop sanitiser box can be used for disinfecting daily use items such as groceries.
“In our services category, we plan to launch ‘MY Safe Place’. This will determine the safety of a place in real-time using mobile app and help customers and employees to engage with the place in confidence. We do this by measuring the air quality and controlling the sanitation parameters of the place using our proprietary patent-pending technology,” Kavin says.
Business and more
Speaking about the business model, Kavin says MY operates in the direct-to-consumer (D2C) and business-to-business (B2B) markets. Under its B2B arm, it claims more than 95 educational institutes as clients.
The startup claims to clock in Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh in ecommerce revenue per month. “We have orders worth Rs 2 lakh in the pipeline,” he says.
The founders have invested Rs 2 crore till now for operating the bootstrapped startup. Speaking about future plans, the co-founder says, “We are looking for early-stage funding in the second quarter of this year along with the launch of MY Safe Place.”
COVID-19 breakout has accelerated the demand for UV-C disinfection services. Several startups such as Log 9 Materials, TRU-V, Sunbots, and Invento Robotics among others have come out with UV-C disinfection products to keep people safe.
But the co-founder has big plans for MY. “We want MY to be the go-to company for any safety product and service in the future for any individual, organisation, or community,” Kavin says.