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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Welcome 2009 year of million creative ideas from India

Innovation is manifestation of a socio economic system and in India, a critical factor would be parental support. Are Indian middle class parents ready to drive their children towards the uncertain path of creativity & innovation? This is story one such a parent, who now represents the aspiring class of Indians- aspiring to see India as Innovative India.

T.A.Vijayan is a successful physician practicing in Chennai. He had a daughter Aparna and son Anandvishnu, both engineering college students. He encouraged his children to take the path of creativity and innovation.

Aparna is developing inhaler for insulin. She has a dream of developing insulin inhaler better than Pfizer’s exubra, a dry powder inhaler. She feels that this Pfizer’s product suffers from poor efficiency, long size and is patient unfriendly. What has she got to prove that she can do better job than Pfizer? She participated in Intel science discovery fair and won prizes. That made her confident to take challenge of solving complex problems in a simple way. With encouragement from her father , she and her brother developed an Asthma inhaler. They learnt that patenting is a first step and there is long way to go before product commercialization. She developed a prototype of a insulin spray and is prepared for the long haul. The sprayed insulin was chromatographically found to be active as normal insulin. She is clear what a good inhaler should be- it should be simple for illiterates & women, it should be compact so that one can hold it in hand and inhale and it should propel insulin in a free mist to reach the lungs without much mouth deposit. Animal trials have been completed and the innovator backed by her father is ready to invest in clinical trials.

Brother Anandvisnu is not keeping quiet. He is focused on developing a mosquito free air cooler. His dream is to make Delhi and other areas dengue free. He also participated in Intel Discovery fair in school, won awards in IIT Chennai.He developed a prototype of healthy Air cooler, filed for patents under PCT and is all set to test the cooler in coming summer.

2008 Year of Unknown Innovator Part4

This is story of Sanjay Vijay Kumar.

I belong to a middle class family hailing from the sleepy town of Trivandrum in God's Own Country Kerala. My entire childhood was at Jesuit Run Loyola School at Trivandrum where I spend 13 formative years of my life. This is where I found best of the friends in the same wave lengths, who now accompany me as I start an entrepreneurial journey. Creative Freedom at Loyola was very high and in 9th standard, we launched a school news paper christened - The Times of Loyola. Being an avid sport enthusiast, I also captained the school Basketball team and Played State Level Basketball and excelled in the sport that gained me an admission at Sports Authority of India (SAI) training center to take up professional basketball. While in fifth semester in college, we did a direct marketing initiative for BPL Mobile that earned us 8lacs in 3 months. That formed the seed capital to build up a company even while in college.

MobME - A TePP funded company is today one of India's leading startups and one amongst the many startups that will lead to a day when the sun will rise to see the Dawn of a Silicon Coast in India. MobME has a slew of Innovative Products ranging from SMS to Voice to a Media Factory churning out Mobile Content. The company is focused on developing its Mobile Content Sharing Platform christened Mobshare. Mobshare is the leading and preferred platform by leading Mobile operators, Media Companies and Marketing agencies for Mobile Community, Photo and Video Sharing Solutions.

TePP is an amazing project that gives wings to dreams. The Seed Capital is what is always lacking in entrepreneur eco-system and in most cases - the amount of funds required is between 5 to 10 lacs where you need capital to take an idea into a pilot or test stage. Where Venture Capitalists shy away - TePP is a shining example of the vision of the scientific community in India who realized this gap and thus spurring Innovation across the country. Thinking out of the box – innovation became the bread and butter of MobME and that brought in Industry recognition from leading Organizations as well as National and International Media.

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 Year of Unknown Innovators Part 3

This is story of Kiran Kranti Vistakula.

From my childhood I was interested in science and technology. In my schooling days I was active doing experiments at my house. I even caused fire while creating an electromagnet and blew up a box creating oxy acetylene flame. This interest in science has always leaded me to explore new ideas.

I have explored many ideas and took them to success all through my life. One such example is in my masters at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), I had come up with an idea of generating electrical energy using proteins as transducers. NASA funded this idea with me as a principle investigator (PI) and this PI status is rarely given to students. The project was successfully completed. Additionally, this experience moved my interest to running my own projects and this lead to my interest in entrepreneurship.

One day at MIT, I had a class in half hour and it was snowing out. I put on three layers of clothing to attend the class. I had to walk inside and outside buildings to reach my class. This was a very uncomfortable walk and I was late to the class. While I was inside in building, the temperature was maintained and it got hot inside with three layers and had to remove them. While outside I had put on the layers and I was delayed for the class. Being frustrated I decided to get some thermal regulating apparel but I could not find any in the market. Then I decided to solve this problem and devise a garment for my self. From the next day I started working on it and hoped to finish in a week being over confident. But this turned out to be a very complex thermodynamic problem. So my first prototype (PT1) was very heavy and was not very aesthetic.

Over a period of next one year still at school I worked on developing and perfecting the technology. In Aug 2007 the technology needed more development and additional funding, I approached Dr AS Rao of TePP with my proposal and returned back to India. TePP funded the project and I was offered incubation at IIT Delhi and NID Ahmedabad. Dr AS Rao and his team were very supporting from the beginning and their moral support was incredible. After careful consideration I chose NID, which provided me more freedom and facilities. The project was proposed to couple of students at NID. Prasenjit, a Post Graduated student in Apparel designs and merchandising was interested in the project. Mahesh Krovidi, COO of National Design Business Incubator at NID was extremely helpful in starting up my operations at NID and hiring Prasenjit to start working with me.

We initiated prototype development in January 2008. I took the technology to Lockheed Martin India Innovation Growth Program. I won a gold medal in the competition they organized. During that process the IC2 institute of UT Austin along with FICCI helped in acquiring business contacts. FICCI was instrumental in providing entrepreneurial training. I also won the first place in India innovation pioneers challenge, champions of champion category organized by Intel, Indo US STF, and DST. My technology represented India at Intel Berkeley Business Entrepreneur Competition (IBTEC). The technology was the finalist there. Dr Smirit Trikha, Arbinada Mitra, Manav Subodh and Neel Bhatia of Indousstf and Intel were extremely helpful. They provided contacts and guidance to participate in IBTEC. In the past one-year we have developed seven jacket prototypes, ten neck cooler prototype and three helmet prototypes.

Overall the Indian ecosystem is ripe for entrepreneurship. Until now my experience as a entrepreneur is extraordinary and every success has been supported by the mentors like Dr AS Rao, Mr HK Mittal and others. I feel this is the golden era for entrepreneurship in India.

Pragyan 09

The students of the National Institute Of Technology(NIT)- Tiruchirappalli (Formerly Regional Engineering College(REC), Tiruchirappalli) are organizing annual international technical convention ,PRAGYAN in February'09. Since its inception in 2004,Pragyan has grown in stature and is today rated one of the best technical fests in India. Pragyan '08 witnessed some of the best known figures in the field of science and technology being a part of this grand event. The list included celebrity names like Dr.Philipe Lebrun(Head, Accelerator Technology Department,CERN),Dr.Noam Chomsky(Prof Emeritus,MIT),Dr.Robert Michelson(GTRI, Cambridge) to name a few.
For details :

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 Year of Unknown Innovators Part 2

My name is Ajit, and I am a founder of Invention Labs. I started Invention Labs in June 2007 with three of my friends from college. We felt that the culture of institutionalized Invention, which has contributed so much to the power of countries like the US and Japan, is lacking in India today. We started Invention Labs with the intention of creating innovative products for an Indian market, by building a team of highly talented engineers and business people with a strong India focus.

The concept for Invention Labs has been in my head for many, many years now. As a child, my thinking was shaped by a keen interest in science and mathematics, and a love for science fiction. My father was a scientist, and both my parents encouraged me to experiment at home. My childhood toys included various chemistry sets, a microscope and an electronics kit.

I think it was from science fiction books, movies and TV serials that I developed the dream of becoming an inventor. I had an excellent education in school, where my teachers encouraged and appreciated my interest in science. I briefly considered a career in mathematics, but I decided in favor of Electrical Engineering when into IIT Madras in 1998. In IIT Madras, I found a very warm and conducive atmosphere to fully explore my interest in creating things. I also had a very close circle of friends who were all keen about starting up their own companies. Those were the days when people like Sabeer Bhatia became famous for making a lot of money through entrepreneurship. Many of those friends today have their own companies, or are with leading venture capitalists, or are on the verge of starting up themselves.

I got a job in the US directly after my education in IIT Madras, but while waiting for my visa, I worked under Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala as a project officer. I teamed up with L Kannan, another IIT Madras alumnus and inventor, who had just begun work on a rural ATM. We were a great team, combining my knowledge of electronics with his knowledge of mechanical engineering. The rural ATM we began in 2003 is now being developed by Kannan's company Vortex, and is undergoing pilots in various places around the country. Kannan was also developing a novel spinning machine with TePP funding, and that was the first I heard of Government support for innovation.

When I went to the US, I was very clear that I would return in three years to start up. As it happened, I spent four years there, learning the realities of Engineering. I was very fortunate to have a good manager in the US, who took pains to guide me into becoming a mature engineer. I was also fortunate that the division of the company that I joined in the US had just begun work on a new product. In four years, I experienced first-hand what goes into taking a product from an idea to the market.

I kept my eyes open in the US for a strong team to start up with. Eventually, I found my partners through old IIT contacts. One friend was a batch-mate of mine who went on to do his MBA and was working in Dubai for KPMG. He went on to head the products marketing team at Invention Labs. Another friend was my junior, who was excellent at organizing things and getting things done, and was working for a leading financial company in the US. He is now the CEO of Invention Labs. A third friend is the best mechanical engineer I know, and he shares the responsibilities of engineering new products at Invention Labs with me.

One day, one of my professors in IIT Madras came to us with a request to help an organization called Vidyasagar to develop some innovative teaching aids. Vidyasagar is a school for spastic children. Many spastic children are quadriplegic, that is, they have no control over their limbs below the neck. Many of them are also unable to talk, and more than half of them have visual impairments. These children find communicating with their teachers and caregivers very challenging. Vidyasagar wanted to know if we could find a way of augmenting their communication skills through technology.

This was a project that excited us immediately, because it had a social impact, involved the latest technology, and contributed tremendously to the economic productivity of spastic people. However, this was not a product that could appeal immediately to a venture capitalist or a private equity shop, because we knew the returns would take a few years to materialize. We contacted TePP for funding, and are pleased to know that they are considering our application favorably. We hope to complete the product in early 2009, and after field trials at Vidyasagar, it will begin sales in mid 2009. The product has been code-named 'KAVI'.

I am determined that KAVI will not be the only product of Invention Labs. India needs Inventors, and Inventors need an environment where they can see their inventions being turned into useful and marketable products. I have dreamt of Invention Labs as being a company that provides that environment. I am lucky to have a team that is well-rounded in its ability to bring out products and take them to market, but as for me, I will always be an engineer first and an entrepreneur second. The thrill that I get from conceptualizing an idea, fleshing it out, constructing prototypes, and finally making it work, is unparalleled. If I am able to get this thrill again and again, and if I am able to see this same thrill in my colleagues at Invention Labs, I think our company will prosper -- and so will our nation.

All of us moved back to Chennai, got in touch with our alma mater, IIT Madras, and took the plunge. We had a few projects to start off with, that some of our contacts had generously offered us. So we were profitable from day 1! The cushion of money that these projects brought us gave us the time to pursue our own product ideas. We kept on the lookout for products that would be highly relevant in India, highly oriented toward technology, and which would make us rich soon.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Entrepreneurship Summit IIT Kharagpur

Entrepreneurship Summit, a two-day event organised by Entrepreneurship Cell IIT Kharagpur is one of the biggest platforms in India for academicians, new-age entrepreneurs, eminent business personalities, venture capitalists, and students alike, to gather and share their entrepreneurial endeavours and experiences, and to pledge to take Entrepreneurship in India to greater scales.

After the immense success of Summit '07, Summit '09 promises to scale new heights and conquer unexplored horizons. Entrepreneurship Summit '09, the third edition of the Summit, is scheduled for 10th and 11th January, 2009.It aims at promoting entrepreneurial awareness among the students, and will witness varieties of guest lectures by distinguished speakers, panel discussions, focused workshops and a host of events such as Case Study analysis, Business Ideas competition, etc. This year's summit is part of the Entrepreneurship Week that is being celebrated in IIT Kharagpur, starting from the 2nd of January.

The week kick starts with a guest lecture by 3Com and Finisar Director, Dominique Trempont Forbes Profile, accompanied by spouse Sramana Mitra, who is also a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur, has founded 3 companies, and is a strategy consultant for over 70 companies including SAP, Cadence etc.

The summit also includes a Venture Funding Conference, which will showcase the launch of Global Ventures Lab. It is a collaborative effort of IIT Kharagpur, University of California, Berkley(UCB), USA and University of Jyvaskyla, Finland to promote Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

One of the feature of the Summit is the nation wide product design competition ENVISION aimed at catalyzing national innovation for a global impact. Only the most ground-breaking and innovative products are then developed further with the help of reputed individuals from academia, industry and organizations such as TEPP, TIETS, DST and venture capitalists.With the assistance of the TePP, feasible products can get upto 30 lacs worth of funding and mentorship.Whether the products are software novelties or hardware designs, this contest offers you not only academic recognition but also helps you make that idea a reality.The link to Envision website is:

2008 Year of Unknown innovators Part 1

As the year ends, it is time to reflect on the contributions made by independent innovators-most of them unknown yet their contributions are not insignificant. First in this series is story of Dr PT Ajit kumar, incubated at Technopark and supported under TePP.

I am a Ph. D holder in holography with international reputation in technology development and have more than 20 years of R&D experience in advanced areas of holographic imaging. I have conceived, designed and developed commercial holographic systems leading to production of holograms. I was a Senior Research Fellow of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Head of the Holography Team of Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT), a Government autonomous Research and Production Centre. I have published many international level research papers and widely invited for paper presentation in Holography by international bodies.

My first entrepreneurial bug bit me when I was a research student in the Cochin University of science and Technology. I designed and optimized a set of tuned Yagi antennae for fringe and super fringe area television reception. An SSI Unit named Pic- Sharp was started under the financial support of my father S. Thankappan. The product was a big success in remote area TV reception. This was in 1986. Later in 2001, I designed several high gain dish antennae for satellite TV reception and initiated fabrication. This lead to the starting of a new SSI Unit named Webs Electronics, in Trivandrum and this unit manufactured the biggest satellite dish ever manufactured in the State of Kerala, as part of a project funded by the Lakshadweep Administration, Government of India.

It took about three years to start the company from the idea level to the practical realization. Motivation of the colleagues and friends of C-DIT was a great reason and fuelled the starting of the company. Requirement of huge financial commitment as capital investment was a real challenge for the scientist turned entrepreneur like me. In 2007 Light Logics was practically initiated under the financial support from family and a set of NRI friends. Both the Directors are the close relatives of me and my continuous interaction convinced them of the immense potential in this field and the inevitability to have a techno-intensive company that functions in advanced areas of holographic imaging, rather than only in the security label production.

Several times I envied on Chinese and Russian friends for the excellent Governmental support they receive through the Innovation Centers and Incubation Centers. It was a pleasant surprise and a great help for all of us when we came to know about the Technopark Technology Business Incubation programme. The support from Technopark TBI helped the company in having a better positioning for international marketing of our products and services. As a company initiated by a Techno-prenure, our biggest hurdle was the marketing. We get excellent guidance from the Technopark for this and the guidelines that the Technopark strictly adhere to helped us to remold the company in its marketing, leading to result. Our presence in the TBI helped us to know about the TePP Scheme of DSIR, Govt of India and lead to the financial support from TePP scheme. This fuelled our initiative to have the first Holography Studio of the country. Our presence in the Technopark gives us an international reputation and the official and administrative help from the Technopark plays a vital role in our success and our whole functioning.

The Company plans to grow as the most techno-intensive holography company of the globe with a spectrum of unique higher end products. The first phase of growth is planned for three years and during this, the company is planning to accommodate about five Ph.Ds , 12 engineers and fifteen technicians, apart from the marketing and sales team. The company targets a turn over of 75 million USD by the end of the first phase.

Techfest 2009 IITB

Techfest is the Annual Science and Technology Festival of IIT Bombay and is scheduled to be held this time from 24th to 26th January 2009. Techfest began in 1998 and has since made significant efforts towards promoting innovation amongst the students of science and engineering all across the country by way of unique competitions, workshops etc.
This year it being the Golden Jubilee of IIT Bombay, Techfest is being planned on an even more grand scale. Unique initiatives like "Prayaas" focusing on Innovation and Entrepreneurship are already underway and are amongst the flagship events of Techfest 2009. Around 4000 students from all over the country have registered for Prayaas alone (Techfest attracts over
15,000 participants and 45,000 visitors).

Pallav Singh
Overall Coordinator
Techfest 2009
IIT Bombay
Tel. No. : +91 9819024701

International Conference on "Medical Electronics" and Exhibition

FICCI supported by DSIR(Department of Scientific and Industrial Research), Ministry of Science and Technology, is organizing the Second International Conference on "Medical Electronics" and Exhibition 2nd time of its kind in Asia . at Federation House, New Delhi, on 19 & 20 February 2009, The Conference Theme : "Opportunity India the Innovators' Choice and World Destination" .

The Conference and Exhibition, which is held with Government and International Participation, offers opportunity to present Advancements, Breakthroughs and Showcase latest Product developments. Global Medical Electronics Fraternity, use this platform for Focused awareness, Opinion Building and Advantages, with Scientist, Doctors, policy makers, regulators, B2B and interdisciplinary stakeholders.

Select Speakers are Relevant Ministries, Regulators, Doctors, Scientists Academics from BARC, DIT, DSIR, AIIMS, Air Force Hospital , Zurich University Medical School, CEOs and top decision makers from Front line Global Companies in Medical Electronics, IT Telecomm /Software and Finance / Insurance & Banking Sector, Specialty Private Hospitals, Foreign R&D Organisations, and more.

The Conference includes an Exhibition of Technologies and Products at FICCI grounds for showcasing current trends and advancements. The Programme Details are:

Date & Time : 19 & 20 February , 2009, 9.30 AM - 6.30 P.M.

Venue : FICCI, Federation House,Tansen Marg,New Delhi 110001, India

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Finalists of NASSCOM innovation awards

The NASSCOM Innovation Awards, currently in its fifth edition, is a key initiative by NASSCOM to highlight the true innovators in the Indian IT industry. The list of finalists can be seen at NASSCOM blog. Winners will be selected from presentations made at Cheenai, Delhi, Bangalore and Pune.

4G Wireless standard from India

3G has been introduced in India but India is a piggy back rider on this standard platform and till now on all standard platforms. It may change in future if efforts of Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala and his team bear fruit. To make India a leader in telecom technology TeNet created CeWiT (Centre of Excellenace in Wireless Technology) initially funded by governmnet and industry at 2:1 ratio with the objective to conduct mission oriented reserach in 4G wirelss. This body developed IPR for inclusion in 4G standard taking care of Indian requirement like high system capacity. CeWIT has taken up consortium route and established Broadband Wireless Consortium of India (BWCI).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Government attracts returning students and NRIs with pre-seed capital and incubation support

Capitalizing on the reverse brain drain, Government of India, is offering an attractive package to students and NRIs returning to India to start their own techology ventures. Pre-seed capital is provided under TePP (Technopreneur Promotion Programme) of DSIR to incubate innovation & enterprise. Maximum support is Rs 60/- lakhs in phases. The innovator retains all rights on IP and technology commercialisation. The support is provided as grant without need for any guarentee or collatoral .
Incubation support is also provided in incubators promoted by DST at IITs, NITs and in specail zones like Technopark, Knowledge park.

Among the first to avail this benefit is Kranti Kiran , a doctoral student of MIT, who returned to start a venture to develop Clima Gear, an outer garment with temp controlling circuits. He received funding from TePP and incubation support from NID, Ahmedabad.

For details of TePP support, contact:

Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
Ministry of Science & Technology
Government of India
Technoology Bhawan
New Delhi 110016
e mail:

Applications under TePP can be submitted even before registering a firm.

Contact person for incubation support:

H.K Mittal
Department of Sceince & Technology
Ministry of Science & Technology
Government of India
Technoology Bhawan
New Delhi 110016