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Igniting minds, from India to Zimbabwe

The Hindu | Sweta Akundi  |  May 21, 2018 |

The founders of Infinite Engineers discuss their transition from being students to teachers, working with innovative children and their recent African experience.

A month ago, MA Aravind, co-founder of the city-based Infinite Engineers, decided that he would make his first international flight in two weeks. It was to Harare, Zimbabwe, where he taught applied science to children of the city — including the granddaughter of former President Robert Mugabe — in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Science Fair. This is the third country that Infinite Engineers is teaching in, after Singapore and India. The four-year old education startup goes around the State distributing their science kit — the Dexter Box — to both Government and private schools and training teachers in its use, hoping to bring applied science to classrooms. “Most schools allow students to use laboratories only after class IX. There too, we see that the environment is restrictive: ‘Be careful, otherwise you’ll break something.’ So there’s no room for children to experiment, just rote learning,” explains Harish Srinivasan, another co-founder. The group also interacts with children, holding workshops to motivate innovation. The company has made good use of Facebook to market their skills: it was how the founder of the Zimbabwe Science Fair got in touch with them this year, and it was how the Tamil Nadu Government learnt about them back in 2015. “We approached 100 schools in 2014, and only six of them allowed us to hold workshops. Today, we are supplying to 320 Government schools, 10 from each district,” says co-founder MC Jaikanth. The group also collaborates with the NUS High School of Mathematics and Science in Singapore.

Filmy start

Remember the famous scene from 3 Idiots when Raju, Farhan and Rancho are caught napping in class and asked to explain how an induction motor starts? Jaikanth had a similar experience in his fourth year of mechanical engineering at the Rajalakshmi Engineering College, that led him to the founding of Infinite Engineers. “My friend and I were cutting class and trying to avoid being seen by faculty. We randomly slunk into the back-bench of a seminar hall which was holding a conference competition. When the professor there caught us anyway, we lied saying that we were there to give a presentation too,” says Kanth. However, unlike Raju’s hilarious sputter start take from 3 Idiots, Jaikanth not only managed to give a presentation on the project he was working on — bladeless wind turbines — but also won. “It was a turning point for an average student like me. I realised that I had the potential for innovation,” adds Jaikanth, who then started working on several projects. Later in 2014, on his Head of Department’s advice, he got his batchmates Aravind and Srinivasan on board to start holding science workshops for school children. “We see a lot of dropouts in engineering, because school students tend to take up this specialisation blindly, without understanding what kind of study it would entail. So we thought we could increase awareness and interest through our kits.”

Looking ahead

Infinite Engineers is gearing up for Round Two of Harare in August, where it will be teaching children how to design products. “We met a few bright kids who had ideas for how to improve the collective health conditions in poorer areas of the city. One 10-year-old girl came up with a cheaper design for sanitary napkins that would make them more accessible,” recalls Aravind, who still mentors the children through Facebook. From June, the group will also be turning 17 activity centers in the city into ‘Dexter Zones’ for children to conduct experiments using their science kits twice a week, and learning how to dismantle and put together daily-use machines, among other things.For Srinivasan, children are the be-all-and-end-all for this initiative. “Working with children is the most rewarding experience. Every time I teach them, I feel like I have learnt something new,” he says. “Even when we make education policies, children are never consulted. We give them a lot less credit than they are due,” he adds, recalling how a 11-year-old girl surprised him by figuring out how the time period of a simple pendulum varies with its length — a concept taught in Class XII — all by herself. “She said it was the first time she was made to think like a scientist.” Agrees Aravind, “Be they from India or from Zimbabwe, children have bright minds full of ideas, all they need is the room to tinker around.”   –   Log on to www.infiniteengineers.in or call 9884190950 for more details.  – Courtesy

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How IISc is using its knowledge to incubate core tech products with a societal impact

The Economic Times | J Vignesh | 20 April 2018 |

Fathima Benazir and Alex Paul used to be friends at school in Ooty, but then lost touch. Benazir studied biochemistry, while Paul took the engineering route to become director of IT service management at Zoho, where he spent close to 13 years. When they eventually reconnected over calls, both were ready to try something new. Paul was getting bored in Australia and wanted to come back to India. Benazir was keen on exploring further afield in molecular biology. Those conversations led to Azooka Life Sciences and eventually an organic stain product called Tinto-Rang. Critical to this process was the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), which acted as incubator and has been doing so for several startups over the past few years. The institute has once again retained the No. 1 spot in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). IISc is unlike most incubators, devoid of much of the glitz thats usually associated with the space. That may be one of the reasons for its record. Getting into IISc is difficult, a lot of interviews and panels… where the panel is not judging how much money each startup is going make, but eventually, how many lives are you going to impact, said Paul. In terms of incubators, it may not be fancy looking… but it is definitely a house of knowledge. It helped that Benazir was an alumna. From giving the duo space to helping with various facets of the product, IISc STEM Cell incubator has helped the startup grow. Azooka is currently engaged in field trials of its product, which is used in molecular diagnosis but is safe enough to be ingested, unlike most of the other products that are used in such research. IISc, the highest-ranked institute for higher education in the country in most global league tables, has long been known for its research. It been making a concentrated effort to translate that knowledge into real-world impact. While there have been startups on campus since the early 2000s, the initiative has picked up momentum since 2014.

The institute has put in place policies to support startups that have science and technology at its core, by alumni, faculty or others as long as there is a societal impact. Startups can also license intellectual property from IISc. Currently under incubation, which typically lasts three years, are ideas in domains such as space, healthcare, agriculture and biotechnology. STEM Cell takes 4-10% equity in such enterprises. As you know, IISc has been a research led institution… therefore, the focus has been on research and publishing papers in conferences. Not much thought was given to its relevance to society. You may become the top-ranked institute, but to the common man, it will be like, so what? said CS Murali, chairman, STEM Cell, explaining the philosophy behind the push. Untitled-6 Murali, an IISc alumnus who worked at Tata Consultancy Services , IBM and Cognizant, said the thought of giving something back occurred to him during the school centenary celebrations in 2008: Hundred years is a great number, but what can we do for IISc? He and a few of his friends started mentoring startups at IISc informally that year. After retiring from Cognizant in 2012, Murali got into it full time. The earliest ventures from IISc included bioinformatics company Strand Life Sciences and the handheld Simputer. Around 2001-02, the first wave happened… Strand Life Sciences, Simputer… that helped us understand what it was. Not all of them succeeded–Strand is an exception, said Bala Gurumoorthy, chief executive of IISc Society for Innovation and Development (SID). The second wave happened around 2008, when Murali and others came on board. In the last three-four years, it has seen an uptick. It probable that this is a reflection of the change in the country as well, he said, referring to the startup explosion in the last 10 years that created companies like Flipkart. SID, which was established in 1997 as a research and development bridge between industry and IISc, also supports entrepreneurship. The early engagements with startups did not have much support from the institute but that changed. Faculty members can be promoters or technical advisors and can hold equity. The policy, which came into being five years ago, allows them to spend one day a week in activities related to the company. They can take sabbaticals as well, allowing them to engage with startups full time. Every IISc-incubated startup gets a faculty mentor who a sector expert. For Rohan Ganapathy and Yashas Karanam, IISc has been an invaluable partner. The cofounders of Bellatrix Aerospace , both in their mid-20s and neither of them alumni of IISc, are building an electric propulsion system for satellites designed to use water as fuel. They were previously based in Coimbatore but were challenged by a lack of test facilities and expert advice. Coming here, we have been able to scale things up faster, said Karanam. We are working with several departments and working with professors, using a lot of lab facilities available at IISc–this is the greatest plus point. No other incubator would have helped in getting such a big space. We have got a 1,000-square feet lab space dedicated for us. Bellatrix is the only startup that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is working with, having ordered its system for satellite missions. Azooka similarly works with various departments in IISc to finetune various aspects. Within three years, IISc has helped us collaborate with the centre for nanoscience, we work with biochemistry, we take advice of molecular biophysics that helps us with structure, for liquid handling we take advice from the device instrumentation and control department, said Paul. Being able to access high-tech labs means costs can be reined in. If you want to use, say, scanning electron microscopy for some sample, you can go to a lab that offers this facility. You can get it done rather than thinking where to get this one crore or two crore worth equipment, said Navakanta Bhat, professor in the Department of Electrical Communication Engineering and cofounder of Pathshodh, which makes portable diagnostics devices. There are departments which also offer facilities to startups with special consideration, with discounted pricing. It is a big boon. The Tata Trusts are using Pathshodh device for its rural healthcare programme. Bhat has taken a sabbatical to work on Pathshodh. About 350 kilometres away, the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras has been consistently successful in nurturing intellectual property-led startups for decades. About 140 startups have been a part of the IIT-M Incubation Cell.

IISc has nurtured about 28 startups, with more than half of them starting up since 2014. The aspiration is to bump up that number. Murali said about 8% of faculty members are involved in some startup activity or the other. While this is seen as an improvement from before, funding is a challenge. Money comes by way of grants and the corporate social responsibility (CSR) budgets of corporates. One main challenge our startups have faced is raising money, said Murali. Some of them have managed to raise a decent amount from grants. When we brought in investors, they looked at these companies, liked them but said it is too early for us. Siana Capital Management–led by technology outsourcing advisor Siddarth Pai and former managing director and chief executive officer of IL&FS private equity Archana Hingorani–wants to raise up to $100 million to help academic ventures get funding, ET recently reported. Siana Capital struck an agreement with IISc recently that enables it to review startups and gives it the first right to provide seed funding. The pipeline is looking healthy, said Gurumoorthy, with April having seen more than 20 applications thus far. IISc is working on building a network of alumni mentors to help companies. IISc has done this in the past, said Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner and head of education, KPMG (India). They have not done it like an incubation centre, the way they are doing it now. It is a timetested concept, and it is good that somebody like IISc, who represent research in India in very many ways, particularly, the basic sciences area it is good that they are coming up with this. One big success story could help pave the way for more. We have companies that will make a mark, said Gurumoorthy. But it is like making a movie–will we get a super hit? We (have to) wait. We will keep our fingers crossed. – Courtesy

IIT Delhi fellowship to research students and PhD degree-holders to launch start-ups

The Telegraph | Our Special Correspondent | Apr 18, 2018 |  IIT Delhi fellowship to launch start-ups |

Representational Image

New Delhi: IIT Delhi will become the first tech school in India to begin a fellowship to help research students and PhD degree-holders to launch start-ups with products developed through their research findings. IIT Delhi director Prof. Ramgopal Rao told reporters that the PhD incubator would be set up on its Sonepat campus in Haryana in four months.  At present, nearly 2,500 students are pursuing PhD in centrally funded technical institutions but hardly any opportunity exists now for them to start companies based on their research. PhD students usually pursue a career in academics. “We will give an opportunity to PhD students to launch start-ups by converting whatever they have learnt and discovered. They will get fellowship for three years to pursue their vision,” Rao said. He cited the example of Intel, which was started by PhD students. IIT Delhi will select 20 candidates based on their research and help them pursue their start-up initiatives. Those who have submitted their theses or have already received their PhD degree will be eligible, said IIT Delhi deputy director M. Balakrishnan. “If we can incubate 20 companies and two of them succeed, that will be a big achievement,” said Rao. The director said no other IIT or tech school in the country had started such a programme.

He said the IIT would send 50 of its students this summer to villages to understand the problems in rural India. The students will stay in the villages for a short duration. At an exhibition on Tuesday, the IIT showcased several technology solutions that have been developed at the institute. One such technology is about prevention of crop residue burning. Developed by researchers at the bio-medical engineering department, the technology seeks to make products such as disposable plates and glasses by using crop residue. Crop residue burnt by farmers in Haryana and Punjab is suspected to be one of the major contributors to air pollution and smog in Delhi. The IIT has also developed a nasofilter to purify air. The product developed by the textile engineering department can be put on the nostrils. – Courtesy

NASSCOM partners with Facebook to launch Design4India Studio bridging design and software engineering

Plunge Daily | Craig Cranenburgh | 

Startups will also get access to UX design process, resources, user testing and AR/VR toolkits to work on their products, find out problems and solutions on redesigning, live testing and search for the most impactful design changes to bring about rapid prototyping of features or products.

Nasscom and Facebook have partnered to launch Design4India studio as an attempt to bridge design and software engineering. The studio is located at WeWork’s co-working space and will act as a studio for web, mobile, augmented reality and virtual reality platforms for startups and designers. The Design4India initiative looks to integrate design and tech in order to enable design success for software products and the India’s startup ecosystem. The studio offers dedicated spaces for startups and designers to explore, innovate and build in collaboration. Startups will also get access to UX design process, resources, user testing and AR/VR toolkits to work on their products, find out problems and solutions on redesigning, live testing and search for the most impactful design changes to bring about rapid prototyping of features or products.

Satyajeet Singh, Head – Strategic Product Partnerships, Asia & South Asia, Facebook, said that design as an innovation activity is complementary to R&D, since it transfers research into commercially viable products and services, and bridges innovation with the needs of a consumer. He believes that design should be embedded in every step of product development, from its inception and not added as an afterthought. Ravi Gururaj, Founder & CEO, QikPod and Member, Nasscom Executive Council said: “The Design4India Studio is our first of many “Open for all” Design studios which is built to foster a culture of testing, learning, iterating and prototyping of products and services — in short: Getting design right. Now is the time for start-ups and scale-ups to pivot their business to meet the requirements of the consumers and I’m confident that this studio will increase productivity, collaboration, and innovation for the entrepreneurs and designers to come and grow together.” – Courtesy      /     Take a Look at  https://design4india.in/

I would be quite optimistic if I am an engineer in India even today: Rishad Premji, Wipro

Economic Times | ET NowDec 20, 2017 | Opinion |   Edited excerpts  |

In an interview with ET Now, Rishad Premji , Chief Strategy Officer, Wipro, says there is always employability for relevant skills.

Rishad Premji

What is your view on skilling in IT sector?
Given how much change is happening in the technology space, the lifespan of skills is becoming much shorter and as a consequence the need to upgrade faster is that much more important. Upgrading of skills, moving your capabilities into new skill areas is very, very important and organisations and the IT industry is very focused on helping people get there. Reskilling of people to move into new technology areas is a big focus today.

While it is about doom and gloom and hiring at Nasscom that you are part of, you sort of clarified, that there are enough jobs. Would you really put the onus there on jobs while it is the right skill set that is really required now?, It is not as bad as it is really made out to be?
There is always employability for relevant skills. Look I think there is a still a lot of growth potential in the industry from an employment standpoint as well. The speed may not be as fast as it has been historically but certainly there is an opportunity for growth. You have seen what the industry added last year which is 150,000 people net jobs. I think it will add a similar number this year. There is still a lot of growth in the industry both in terms of overall revenue growth and employability.

What would like to tell an engineering graduate who is at college right now looking for a job?
Be optimistic. There is huge opportunity in terms of what your engineering degree can do for creating employment whether it be with IT services companies, some of the product companies or in the start-up ecosystem. I would be quite optimistic if I am an engineer in India even today.
What would like to tell an engineering graduate who is at college right now looking for a job?
Be optimistic. There is huge opportunity in terms of what your engineering degree can do for creating employment whether it be with IT services companies, some of the product companies or in the start-up ecosystem. I would be quite optimistic if I am an engineer in India even today. – Courtesy

Facebook unveils programmes to boost virtual reality in India

The Times of India | PTI | Nov 27, 2017 |

Hyderabad : Social media giant Facebook today unveiled two new programmes for startups and engineering students in India, aimed at promoting new-age technologies like virtual reality (VR). The two programmes — India Innovation Hub (in partnership with T-hub) and School of Innovation (with Startup Village Collective) — will run parallel to other startup- focussed initiatives like FbStart that are run by the US-based company. India has the largest base of developers building with Facebook outside the US. “The partnerships demonstrate our commitment to contribute to India’s innovation ecosystem and make emerging technologies like VR a part of daily life,” Facebook Head of Platform Partnerships (India and South Asia) Satyajeet Singh told .

Globally, Facebook is betting big on VR technology with ‘Oculus’. Like many tech companies, it has also unveiled a VR headset called ‘Oculus Go’ for USD 199 that will be available next year. Virtual reality (VR) technology immerses the user in a computer-generated simulation of an environment, allowing the user to interact in that world. The India Innovation Hub will see Facebook work with 10 VR-focused startups. These startups will get access to training, mentors, workshops, research and Facebook’s VR Innovation lab as part of the six-month programme. Application process for the programme will open in January 2018. Singh said the startups, which could be at early and growth stage, could be working in any area as VR technology can have use cases across industries like healthcare, education, automobiles and others. School of Innovation programme, which will be open for engineering students, will have 10 teams that will work on building a next-generation product idea using VR. The teams will participate in a 20-week programme that includes online and in-person learning to develop their idea, build a low and high-fidelity prototype and then launch it for the customers, Singh said.Facebook, which counts India as its largest userbase after the US, has 217 million users here. SR ADI MKJ – Courtesy    –    FbStart   Take a Look at  Innovation Hub India,

Chennai girl Akshaya Shanmugam makes it to Forbes list with tool to combat addictions

The Times of India | Ranjani Ayyar | TNN | Nov 16, 2017 |

Akshaya Shanmugam

CHENNAI: For the second year in a row, a Chennai native is among the innovators and entrepreneurs in the Forbes’ ’30 under 30′ list in the area of healthcare. The 2018 edition includes Akshaya Shanmugam, 29, the CEO of Lumme Inc., which is cracking the code to beat addictive behaviour by combining wearable technology, machine learning, and behavioural psychology. In January this year, 27-year-old Vivek Kopparthi had made it to the 2017 list for his contributions in neonatal care technology. After completing her schooling at Chettinad Vidyashram, Shanmugam went on to pursue engineering at Meenakshi Sundararajan Engineering College. In 2009, she moved to the US for higher studies. While Shanmugam was pursuing her PhD in an area that involves developing health monitoring systems outside hospitals, she met Abhinav Parate who was working on a thesis with wearables. With Parate and a few professors, Shanmugam set up Lumme to solve the global addiction problem. “Our platform automatically detects addictive behaviour, predicts indulgence in addictive behaviour, and prevents it by delivering clinically validated interventions. It also helps individuals gain better insights into their daily life and helps them understand the why, how, and what surrounding their lifestyle choices,” said Shanmugam.

A CUT ABOVE THE REST: Akshaya Shanmugam, the CEO of Lumme Inc., is among the innovators and entrepreneurs in the Forbes’ ’30 under 30′ list in the area of healthcare. The technology is in the process of being clinically validated and Shanmugam hopes to launch the product in the market by the summer of 2018. “The first phase of our launch is the smoking cessation platform. We will tie up with corporates so they can include this as part of their employee wellness programmes,” she said. ‘Predictions made with 95% accuracy in 2 trials’. Explaining how the platform would work for a person who smokes, Shanmugam says for the first two weeks, users wear the smartwatches and go about their routine. The platform passively monitors smoking behaviour and looks at other factors like the time of the day, their movements and social interactions. Itthen makes an assessment of the smoking patterns of the users and predicts when they are likely to smoke next. Based on the prediction, the platform is able to send an alert 6 minutesbefore they are abouttolight a cigarette. “We have had two national scale clinical trials and are in the midst of the third. With the first two, we were able to make predictions with95% accuracy,” shesaid. This work is the outcome of research conducted at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Yale School of Medicine. Lumme is funded by the National Institutes of Health and has raised $1.7 million in funding. “It is quite an honour to be part of this list. It is a validation that there is potential in the technology that we have developed. This only drives us further to make meaningful contributions to the field of healthcare,” said Shanmugam.  – Courtesy

This Anthyesti funeral Startup Made its Founder Vow to Make Her Presence on Earth Worthwhile to Benefit Mankind

The Weekend Leader |  G Singh| Kolkata | 01 Nov 2017  |

Shruthi Reddy Sethi, Anthyesti , Kolkata

Death is grim business, but Shruthi Reddy Sethi, a young, enthusiastic software engineer in Kolkata has made it her business to make it easier for those left behind. With her uniquely focused services, in just over a year, her company Anthyesti has notched up a turnover of Rs 16 lakh. Shruthi’s work begins in the aftermath of a life sadly ending. “Once we get a call,” she explains, “we first arrange for the hearse van and also ask if there is any need for preservation, such as a freezer box. “After the hearse van moves to the crematorium, we assist the family to procure the KMC (Kolkata Municipal Corporation) death certificate if they seek our help. We then offer them our priest package if they want.” Her company – Anthyesti – offers well-organized and efficient post-demise packages such as VIP hearse services, mobile freezer or embalming, repatriation of remains, and Shraadhs (a ritual to pay homage to the deceased in the family) for communities such as the Arya Samaj, Gujaratis, Marwaris and Bengalis. These services range from Rs 2,500 to Rs one lakh.

Yes, that’s right, Shruthi Reddy Sethi, 32, is a funeral services planner – officially the first such company in this sector in Kolkata. “I first shared the idea of setting up a company that provides cremation and funeral services, with my husband,” she says. He promised to support her. “But my parents,” she adds, “especially my mother, were very upset and said that this kind of ‘ignominious’ work was an insult for an IT engineer. She didn’t talk to me for a month!” Shruthi had moved to Kolkata in 2015 to be with her husband who had shifted there with his job. Originally from Hyderabad, where she completed all her education, she was the older of the two siblings, with a brother. Her father worked as an electrical engineer in Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), while her mother sold saris from the home to supplement the family’s income. Shruthi studied in Sai Public School till Class 10, after which she joined Little Flower Junior College in 2002. By 2006 she had completed a degree in engineering from Bhoj Reddy Engineering College and she left her home town. “I joined an IT company in Bengaluru as a junior programmer,” she says, “and moved back to Hyderabad with another IT job in 2011.”

In 2009, she got married to Gurvinder Singh Sethi who worked in Tata Motors in Hyderabad. “Life was moving smoothly till my husband was transferred to Kolkata in 2011,” says Shruthi. Her employers let her work from home at first, but in 2015 when they asked her to move back to Hyderabad, she resigned. Shruthi had to plan her next step. “I wanted to do my MBA as I thought it would help me set up my business,” she recounts. “With a view to joining one of the year-long executive programs in IIM and other reputed B-schools, I took the GMAT exam and cleared it.” She got admission offers from IIM-Indore and IIM-Lucknow. She was about to get enrolled in one of them, when Siddharth Churiwal, a businessman friend, suggested: ‘Rather than spend that money on a degree, use it for bootstrapping your business. Have faith and you will find everything else on the way up.’ His advice took seed, even though Shruthi had no idea of the nitty-gritty and formalities of entrepreneurship. “The concept of a funeral service start-up was subconsciously in my mind,” she recalls, “as I saw my husband facing a lot of problems at the death of his maternal grandfather in 2014 – making all the arrangements for cremation and prayers meant that he didn’t have time to grieve with his family.” So that’s how she started setting up a company geared to efficiently and sensitively taking care of every aspect relating to the processes and ceremonies following a death, starting from embalming human remains to the conclusion of all rituals. She had the business logic for it. “There is a large population of single old people in Kolkata,” she explains. “There are many people who live all by themselves. They would be more than happy to find someone to help in their last moments.” In order to gain knowledge of the market and costs, Shruthi began to visit crematoriums, find out about the number of deaths every day, research charges for hearse vans, mortuaries, priests and pujas. People working in this male-dominated sector were mostly uneducated, and many were drunkards. “My friends and family thought that I had lost my mind as I was busy with the dead throughout the day,” Shruthi says. “It was very tough.”

Finally, Shruthi started Anthyesti Funeral Services Private Limited on 19 February, 2016, with an investment of Rs one lakh, which she borrowed from her husband. She is the founder-director of the company with 99 percent shares, while her mother, Suhasini Reddy – who came around to support her daughter – is the other director with one percent share. “It took me days before I zeroed in on the name Anthyesti, which means funeral rites in Sanskrit,” Shruti shares. The company started with two employees in a rented office space of around 1,000 sq. ft. The concept was new to Kolkata and while Shruthi invested in marketing, the gradual increase in her business was mainly due to word-of-mouth publicity. “There were no sudden breakthrough moments,” she says. “I built contacts with hearse van drivers and priests to be paid on a case-to-case basis,” she explains. “We got enlisted on Justdial in April 2015, from where I started getting calls for funeral services.” But people normally called for the hearse van and not for cremation or performance of last rites. Shruthi found a solution and purchased two freezer boxes in June 2016 and an air-conditioned hearse van with an investment of around Rs seven lakh. Now, bookings for Anthyesti’s can be made on the phone or online. The company now has six employees, receives around 35 orders every month, and its turnover has touched Rs 16 lakh in just over a year.

Wait there is more – with an eye on the future.

Anthyesti also offers services for pre-planning funeral service packages – ranging from Rs 6,000 to Rs 20,000 – for those who live alone. “Pre-death packages are an assurance to such clients that, should something happen to them all of a sudden, we are there to carry out the last rites,” says Shruthi. “Our legal agreements for this are prepared and vetted by experienced lawyers.” Anthyesti is filling a much-felt gap. “Death is a crucial part of life and it needs to be served with professionalism, poise and dignity,” says Shruthi. “Staying calm, sensitive and empathetic is what I and my team focus on.” Shruthi plans to expand and scale up through the franchising model by 2020. She feels her experience has taught her the value of money and the fact that death is the only truth in life. “Make your presence on earth worthwhile so that you can benefit mankind,” this mother of a four-year-old son says wisely. She also shares her mantra for women entrepreneurs: “Have belief and never underestimate yourself. Small things will take care of themselves when you aim big.” – Courtesy          /    Take a Look at    http://www.anthyesti.com/

Vaishnavi Jayaraman of EQuad Engineering Services helps you become a successful engineer

The New Indian Express | Roshne Balasubramanian  |  ENS  |  30th October 2017 |  She helps you become a successful engineer |

Vaishnavi Jayaraman

CHENNAI: In India, the unemployability of engineering graduates has been a concern for a long time. “On an average 1.5 million students complete engineering every year. But 4/5th of them are not employed,” rues Vaishnavi Jayaraman, founder EQuad Engineering Services. “Many students don’t know basic formulas and concepts by the end of their curriculum, as they are theory driven,” explains the gold medalist from SSN College of Engineering. During her MBA in entrepreneurship (part of Global Module at Google and Harvard Business School), Vaishnavi developed the business idea further. “Since minimal industry exposure was leading to unemployability of the students, I decided to give fresh graduates and engineering students practical and application-oriented training that focused on enhancing their technical skills. Industry visits are not taken seriously and are seen as a just a way to score marks. Same with mini projects — a lot of students buy these projects outside and present them. Then how will they get the needed hands on experience?” she points out.

Tapping the potential of these engineers in different branches, EQuad has so far trained several students. “Initially, we paid the students a stipend and trained them because it was an ‘I am an engineer why do I need training’ situation. Later, when they were turned down by companies because of lack of technical skills, there knew! We have recently started charging a modest fee, which goes into buying components and equipment for prototypes that students work on,” she shares. Students are trained by internal engineers with industry experience, for three months, focusing on specific skills and also current industry trends. With players such as TATA Motors, Reliance Power and Parry Agro in their list of industry partners, Vaishnavi also wants to tie up with educational institutions that are interested in teaching their students from the grassroots level. “Real time exposure to industry problems can make them the best version of themselves. And this is the change that we are trying to bring about,” she adds. – Courtesy     /   Take a Look at —->  http://equadservices.in/

AICTE, Fourth Ambit unite to build online communities for technical institutions

The New Indian Express | Express News Service |  28th October 2017  |

Fourth Ambit CEO Rahul Das and AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe with the MoU

KOCHI: In perhaps the biggest contract win for a startup from Kerala, Fourth Ambit Technologies, a firm that was virtually incubated in Kochi’s erstwhile Startup Village, has signed a pact with All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for setting up online community portals for over 10,000 technical institutions across the length and breadth of the country.  The deal will see the edu-tech company working with AICTE and its member institutions to leverage its online platform and technical infrastructure to set up private online community portals for AICTE approved institutions, a senior company official said. Such a community portal will help these institutions to onboard and engage alumni, parents, corporate partners and other well-wishers, thereby facilitating value for their students and faculty.  The MoU was signed by AICTE chairman Anil D Sahasrabudhe and Fourth Ambit CEO Rahul Das at AICTE office in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. “Setting up online community portals for over 10,000 technical institutions across the country and fostering multi-dimensional value for over 50 million users is a daunting task. But, backed by a robust tech platform, led by an inspired team, supported by corporate partners, enabled by AICTE and state universities, we are confident of creating history and nurturing a self-fulfilling value-based ecosystem,” says Rahul Das, CEO of Fourth Ambit.

A supporting ecosystem will be set up at the Fourth Ambit platform level by onboarding partners across themes like skilling, entrepreneurship, networking, jobs, internships, faculty capability building, higher education, social causes, and technology evangelism.“AICTE has signed MoUs with other organisations as well for leveraging quality initiatives for the students and faculty at large in terms of internship, job opportunities and skilling tests. We hope the project with Fourth Ambit will synergise the benefits of the same under one umbrella for the student community,” says AICTE chairman Anil D Sahasrabudhe. The project will be activated in a phased manner across the various states with the AICTE regional office and state universities playing a key role in the rollout. Fourth Ambit, co-founded by four classmates from Government Model Engineering College, Kochi, has been operational since 2012 with over 1,000 college communities already on its platform. – Courtesy    /  Download AICTE Circular  MoU between AICTE ans Fourth Ambit      /     Click here to Take a Look at  ——>    https://www.fourthambit.com/