John Hoffmire: Tell me about the product you developed.
Mrinmayee: It all started because of the reluctance shown by a relative of mine to face the public after hair grew abnormally on her face during menopause. That prompted me to find a remedy for the problem. As a medical pharmacologist, I was trained to help solve issues where biology and human needs meet. I developed a technology platform of multiple active ingredients for long-term hair reduction. With a grant from Government of India, I also developed one plant-derived cosmetic product with hair-follicle-targeted sustained release delivery mechanism with IIT Bombay. This whole technology basket for permanent hair follicle destruction has received seven national and international patents and two national innovation awards. This clinically-proven all-natural product I created is a tangible and much cheaper alternative to laser treatment for permanent hair-removal — a bio-alternative in the form of an herbal cream.
Our product, ‘Romantaque’ (rom – means body hair; antaque – means destroyer), inhibits hair growth by reducing the size of hair follicles. When used over a period of time, it shrinks hair follicle size dramatically, thinning the hair diameter, and causing up to 80% reduction in hair re-growth.
John: This product then was the impetus for your company?
Mrinmayee: Yes, it was. My husband, Bhushan Vishwanath, and I started our first company, Mindfarm Novatech Private Limited, as an innovation company to develop such products to address unmet healthcare needs. We also presented a technology poster in World Congress for Hair Research in Edinburg while I was attending our CRISP Program in Oxford.
John: How is the company doing now?
Mrinmayee: It’s growing. We have started selling Romantaque on Amazon and on our website. We’ve had a great response from all our users. Customers have appeared in Canada and Europe, as well as in India and many have shown a very favorable response.
We are also working on reaching out to wider audiences and expanding our branding and marketing efforts. We are in discussion with a couple of global players for licensing.
John: What else are you working on?
Mrinmayee: Quite a number of things at the moment. I am also founder Director of another startup company called Leadgen Ayurvedics Private Limited.
And most recently I’m working with a group of experts from several think-tanks who are focused on various strategies to combat such pandemics in future. As part of this, I contributed chapters to two books written on management of Covid-19, its fiercely debated origin and global impact. As a biosecurity analyst, I have been writing about various issues related to reforms in international Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention to deal with such challenges to humanity. In near future, I plan to focus more on improving public health infrastructure and its last mile connectivity.
John: Tell me about your time in Oxford with the Chevening Research Science and Innovation Leadership Programme (CRISP).
Mrinmayee: I was a CRISP Fellow at the Said Business School at Oxford University in 2013. My 12 weeks in the program helped me to become predominantly an entrepreneur with a much better understanding of business strategy, global markets, leadership, and management principals. Moreover, CRISP also helped me tremendously in developing my perspective of international policy domain resulting in a parallel career in Biosecurity.
John: Thank you for catching me up on all of the interesting work you’ve been doing since we met in Oxford and since we have seen each other in India and England.
Mrinmayee: Thank you for your interest, John, and for this interview.
Dr. Mrinmayee Bhushan is a founding Director of the start-up firm Mindfarm Novatech Private Ltd, and consultant for IP and innovation for DSIR-approved, APT Research Foundation. She has been granted seven national & international patents, and is also an alum of the Chevening Research Science and Innovation Leadership Programme (CRISP) at Oxford University (2013)
Interviewer: Dr. John Hoffmire is the Chairman of the Center on Business and Poverty, the Director of Employee Ownership at Teamshares, and Research Associate at the Oxford Centre for Mutual and Co-owned Business