Meet 3 Chennai men who started their company at 60-70 years of age – earned Rs 45 Cr.

Founded in 2009, Proklean is a Chennai-based company spearheading innovative green cleaning solutions.

Its journey, marked by resilience and innovation, has carved a niche in the industry, offering probiotic-based alternatives to traditional cleaning products.

The Founding Team

Proklean was founded by the dynamic trio of Chandrasekhar B, Sivaram Pillai, and Vishwadeep Kuila, all aged between 60 and 70, proving that age is indeed just a number.

Chandrasekhar B, Sivaram Pillai, and Vishwadeep Kuila,
Chandrasekhar B, Sivaram Pillai, and Vishwadeep Kuila,

Chandrasekhar is an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus, who previously had his own leather manufacturing company in Chennai.

Sivaram, hailing from the University of Madras, holds a PhD in Biochemistry. He showcased his expertise gained through significant roles in biotechnology firms.

Their journey unfolded in 2009 when a mentor facilitated their introduction during a meeting in Chennai. They were reading the same book on probiotics. 

Bound by a mutual fascination with probiotics and a shared concern for the environmental repercussions of conventional cleaning solutions, they set out on a mission to redefine the industry.

Joining the team was Vishwadeep Kuila, Chandrasekhar’s IIM Ahmedabad batchmate and a seasoned marketing professional, adding a strategic edge to their innovative venture.

A Humble Beginning: Probiotics in Focus

Proklean Team
Proklean Team

Proklean was officially founded in 2012, starting on a small scale with a focus on the leather industry. Recognizing the potential of their probiotic-based solutions, they swiftly expanded their reach to the paper and textile sectors. 

By replacing harmful chemicals supplied by multinational corporations, Proklean initiated a shift towards sustainable and eco-friendly cleaning practices.

Proprietary Fermentation-Based Technology

Proklean's Testing Lab
Proklean’s Testing Lab

The cornerstone of Proklean’s success lies in its proprietary fermentation-based technology. This unique blend of probiotics, fermentation, and formulation methods set the stage for a revolutionary approach to cleaning. 

Proklean’s solutions have demonstrated remarkable performance across various industries, including Textile (ProAvita), Leather (Proviera), Hospitality & Waste Management (ProZeme), Paper (ProCharta), and Consumer (Proklean). 

Their effectiveness rivals or surpasses chemical alternatives, underscoring the potential for sustainable practices to outperform traditional methods.

Proklean's employees working
Proklean’s employees working

Furthermore, Proklean’s CO2 emissions stand impressively 80% lower than those of other industry players. The company’s products have successfully mitigated 12,867 tons of carbon emissions to date, substituting 21,908 metric tons of hazardous chemicals. Additionally, Proklean’s water and energy consumption remains notably lower compared to conventional products.

The 2015 Setback

In December 2015, Proklean faced a formidable challenge when Chennai experienced devastating floods and subsequent heavy rains. Nine months of production were washed away, posing a severe setback. 

The ordeal included significant hurdles with insurance claims, leading to months without salaries. Despite these challenges, Proklean’s resilience prevailed, and the company emerged stronger, showcasing its determination and adaptability.

Growth and Success 

Today, Proklean boasts a clientele that includes major paper manufacturers. In 2019, a dynamic and younger team joined the company, marking a new phase of scaling up. 

Proklean Team
Proklean Team

During an interview with Startup Pedia, Chandrasekhar said, “I am extremely confident in Proklean’s team. With young people joining the company, we see an energy of consistent hustle in the office. We’ve seen concrete, positive differences by giving them the reins of Proklean and trusting them to expand it. 

However, Sivaram, Vishwadeep and I aren’t really in the background. We still act as primary supervisors and guides for everything that happens at Proklean. We’re constantly on the lookout for new applications and expanding our profile”, He added.

Expanding beyond its roots in textiles and paper, Proklean has diversified into consumer products, water solutions, biosurfactants, institutional cleaning etc.

According to an interview with Startup Pedia, in FY23, Proklean achieved an annual revenue rate of Rupees 45 Cr, with projections anticipating an increase to a revenue rate of Rupees 60 Cr in FY24. 

Looking Ahead

The company is steadfast in its ambition to reach Rs 100 Cr in the next couple of years, signaling its commitment to sustainable practices and industry leadership.

Looking ahead, Proklean envisions a robust strategy for exports, aiming to extend its influence globally.

Proklean’s journey is indicative of the power of innovation, determination, and sustainable practices in shaping the future of cleaning technologies. 

FAQ

1. When was Proklean founded?

Proklean is a green chemistry company that was founded in 2012.

2. Who are the founders of Proklean?

Proklean was founded by Chandrasekhar B, Sivaram Pillai, and Vishwadeep Kuila.

3. What does Proklean do?

Proklean is a green chemistry company in Chennai that produces innovative green cleaning solutions that are eco-friendly and act as effective  for various industries.

4. Is Proklean better than chemical cleaning products?

Proklean’s products outperform chemical alternatives while prioritising natural resources and reducing pollution.

5. Which industries does Proklean serves?

Proklean’s solutions have demonstrated remarkable performance across various industries, including Textile (ProAvita), Leather (Proviera), Hospitality & Waste Management (ProZeme), Paper (ProCharta), and Consumer (Proklean).

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