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MBA Grad Left Family Business To Sell Water, Makes ₹250 Cr In Revenue

Clear Pani was founded under Energy Beverages Private Limited by Nayan Shah in Feb 2010 after failing his first business venture, an energy drink brand called Current Energy Drink, started in 2005.

By Rashaad Ather
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Clear Pani Founder Nayan Shah with Brand Ambassador Hrithik Roshan

Clear Pani Founder Nayan Shah with Brand Ambassador Hrithik Roshan

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After completing his MBA in Sydney in 2002, Nayan Shah returned to India without a concrete plan. But he wanted to create something of his own. His family owned a manufacturing business of wires and cables in Ahmedabad. However, Nayan wanted to build his own legacy.

Freshly graduated Nayan worked briefly with Line O Matic Graphic Industries and left two years later. He put an end to his corporate career and renounced all support. The desire to become a self-made man overwhelmed him.

Origin Story:

Finally, he started his first business in 2005 – Current Energy Drink. He was inspired by the global success of Red Bull and decided to introduce an indigenously made energy drink. He poured ₹ 2 crore into the idea. 

The initial years were a success, with the drink generating an annual revenue of ₹3.20 crore by 2007. However, the sales started drying up since the price of a typical energy drink is more than beverages like tea, and coffee. Also, the recurring sales number was low since nobody regularly buys a "lifestyle" product.

By 2009, with sales dipping and annual revenue down to ₹ 60 lakh, Nayan knew it was time to call it quits. Nayan was back to level 1.

Undeterred by the setback, Nayan identified what wrong he committed. He learned the intricacies of FMCG products and the buyer’s mindset. Quickly, he noticed a basic human problem. Indian people lacked abundant access to clean drinking water. 

Also, he realised one should always sell things easy to sell. And what’s easier to sell than water? This observation sparked a new idea: bottled water.

In Feb 2010, Clear Pani was founded under Energy Beverages Private Limited. Initially, they outsourced manufacturing units to Mumbai, Pune, and Jaipur. He sold just about 500-700 bottles that year

Nayan realised he needed to build a brand to beat the competition. And he devised a strategy. He targeted the premium segment first. And made his bottles look premium.

Unlike competitors who used plastic sleeves on their bottles, Clear Pani opted for premium-looking labels. And he chose square-shaped bottles instead of Bisleri, and Kinley’s cylindrical ones.

Nayan landed a deal with The Grand Bhagwat hotel chain in Gujarat and focused on quality and branding. They secured contracts with major airlines and hotels, selling 25 lakh+ bottles per day.

Setbacks From COVID Lockdown:

The story won’t be complete without mentioning the curveball that was the COVID-19 pandemic. Clear Pani relied heavily on the hospitality and restaurant industry for 90% of its revenue, making the lockdowns a devastating blow. 

However, Nayan, the owner, refused to give up and realised he needed to diversify his business. Clear Pani shifted its focus to retail sales, and established a strong presence in the space.


According to HT, Clear Pani generated ₹ 250+ crores in revenue in FY23.

Last year, the water brand also roped Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan as its ambassador.

Nayan Shah, Chief Managing Director of Clear Pani told FT Magazine, “At Clear Pani, quality and innovation are two formidable pillars of our core philosophy. We have witnessed phenomenal growth in the past few years, and we are now eyeing 300 crores in revenue by 2023 and 1000 crores by 2025-2026”.