After working as a banker, Alicia took up a full-fledged career in illustration as a designer for Chumbak, India’s trendiest home-grown souvenir company. A year and a half later, she set out on her own as a freelancer, drawing cute and quirky everyday cartoons for a sizeable and loyal online fan-base, and illustrating for some of India’s oldest institutions – like Tinkle magazine!
Anand is a filmmaker, playwright and artist, deeply interested in philosophy, evolutionary psychology and sci-fi. His first feature film, Ship of Theseus, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was touted as the ‘hidden gem of the year’. It has since gone on to win accolades worldwide – the only contemporary Indian film to be short-listed by the Critic’s Circle (UK) as one of 15 life-changing films of all time. Besides making films, Anand illustrates, writes songs, plays chess and dabbles in magic.
As a Civil & Environmental Engineer, Anu is passionate about providing more reliable government services to citizens. NextDrop began by tackling the problem of erratic water supply – in most of urban India, water is available only a few hours at a time or a few times a week, but residents have no way of knowing when. Working with operators in the field, NextDrop sends text messages 60 minutes before water arrives in your tap, while also offering utility boards the tools to better manage and track leakages in water supply. Anu has also been selected to the Forbes “30 Social Entrepreneurs Under 30” list
Hungary-born Balazs is a leader in the practice and theory of photojournalism, with a vision to reshape modern media practice for the 21st century. His multi award-winning work includes in-depth coverage of the Afghan war – much after media attention had turned to Iraq – and initial photography of daredevil Felix Baumgartner during his jump to earth from the stratosphere. His project ‘Facing Water Crisis’ is an independent worldwide expedition exploring the far-reaching consequences of water scarcity. The latter has evolved into Azdarya, an online documentary magazine solely dedicated to water, which he recently launched with his wife.
Photo credit: Ssgt Jeremy Colson
Elishai is the principle investigator of the Neuro & Biomorphic Engineering Lab (NBEL-lab.com) and an Assistant Professor at the Open University of Israel. In his research, Elishai studies the realm of brain-inspired machines, using artificial brains to develop new frameworks for robotics and vision processing. He is also the founding director of NBEL Innovation Workshops at Biohouse, Hadassah Medical Center — a design and engineering company which integrates computer-aided design, electrical and software engineering to develop novel medical solutions.
Elishai is an academic consultant at the Weizmann Institute of Science for Computational Neuroscience and a university lecturer for artificial intelligence, mathematical modelling, software engineering and computational biology. He is a graduate of Singularity University (2012, NASA Ames Research Center, California), INK fellow (2013, India), INK Trailblazer (2014, USA), Aeroli.to speaker (2016, Brazil), and Dean fellow for Neuroscience (2018, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel). Elishai Holds degrees in Life sciences (B.Sc), Philosophy and History (B.A), Computer Science (M.Sc), Bioengineering (M.Sc, PhD) and Computational Neuroscience (Post Doc).
Kelli is an American-born cultural anthropologist based in Indonesia, whose work focuses on the role of the media in the construction of religious identity. With a strong belief in the potential of new media to change perspectives, she is launching a collaborative platform to facilitate the circulation of stories and voices from the communities of Eastern Indonesia. Her work has landed her in interesting situations – she once lived with and studied the Toraja people of South Sulawesi, whose practice it is to live with the mummified bodies of their deceased relatives.
Param is the 19-year-old founder & CEO of Ecoviate, a research and development company focusing on disposable green-technologies. Since the age of 13, he has innovated bio-fuel preparation, designed highly effective bioreactors, created a device that mitigates motor vehicle emissions (currently patented), and many more. Param was named to the 2012 & 2013 Forbes ‘30 Under 30: Energy’ list for his work in green-technologies. Aside from being a Junior at Vanderbilt University, studying Mechanical Engineering & Economics, Param has consulted as a research associate and even a rocket scientist.
A CNN Hero of the Year 2012, Pushpa set up a home in Nepal for children who once lived in prisons with their incarcerated parents. For seven years, she has been running a centre to provide them with education, food, medical care and a happy childhood outside of prison walls. The children call her “Mamu” because of her loving and motherly care. With about 80 children still living inside prison walls, she is determined to bring them out and live out her promise as “Mamu” to these children in need.
While serving in the US military, Robin had a bone to pick with her big bosses: along with several other activists, she campaigned against the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, which forbade lesbians, gay and transgender people from serving openly. Herself a lesbian and survivor of abuse, Robin’s interest in girls’ and women’s issues led her to work with NGOs around the world for 10 years before starting her own NGO in Mumbai to challenge the status quo. Kranti empowers girls from Mumbai’s red-light areas to turn round the ‘victim’ status and become agents of social change.
Trained in classical neuroimaging at the Harvard-MIT-MGH Martinos Center and Stanford Medical center, Rohan started a company called BrainBot which helps people be more mindful through biology. His work is based on his first-hand research with sadhus and monks in the Himalayas, where he recorded their brainwaves and heartbeat patterns during meditation. This culminated in a forthcoming consumer wearable device for increased calm and emotional self-awareness
Sanvar Oberoi is the Co-Founder and Director of Finance and Digital Technology at Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO), a hybrid social enterprise transforming agriculture in developing economies. BOHECO is South Asia’s pioneering help company and is working with governements, scientists, farmers, industry and consumers globally to build an end-to-end ecosystem and self sustaining model which unleashes the supercrop’s tremendous socio-economic and environmental benefits at large scale.
He leads the BOHECO Innovation Lab, the organisation’s moonshot and fundamental research and nanotechnology domain. He has always been deeply affected by the growing number of farmer suicides and their state. He has mafe it his life’s mission to reinstate the status-quo of farmers, women artisans and producers in society and develop interventions to continually and sustainably improve their quality of life significantly. He’s a Ph.D research scholor in Business Economics and has been awarded the INK, Rajeev Circle and Ashoka Fellowship.
Satya’s 9 year long journey has ranged from scoring for Indian films to collaborating with Indian artists and musicians. While her artistic footprint has evolved from eastern traditional to western electronica, Satya’s spiritual vision is moulded by a blend of the two. Her label, Tabula Rasa, hopes to play a key role in revolutionizing the electronica movement.
Having grown up collecting exotic teas from around the world in her father’s old trunk, Snigdha went on to train as a Tea Taster in Sri Lanka. Under the tutelage of Tea Master Nao Kumekawa from Japan, Snigdha specialised in crafting hand-blended teas, and finally set up her own line named after her childhood treasure chest – Tea Trunk. Snigdha works closely with a number of tea estates across India to promote quality Indian teas – to her, India without tea is like France without wine. She next plans to launch a global learning hub for tea in India.
Sunil’s goal is to help Indians bridge the ‘language’ and ‘digital’ divides, due to the dominance of English on the internet and in technical published texts. He has developed digital dictionaries for mobile phones and computers with a repository of 9.6 million audio and textual words in 16 domains, like Legal, Agriculture and Pharmacy, in 22 different Indian languages. Educated in Marathi-medium in a village near Nashik, Sunil believes the root of the rural inferiority complex is the linguistic divide, due to which many abandon their education. He hopes to reverse this with his free platform
In 2011, along with a friend, Tushar Vashisht conducted a lifestyle experiment living at the government-stipulated poverty line of Rs 32/day. The experiment and its documentation gave scientific voice to the poor, creating empathy amongst India’s privileged, and providing concrete policy solutions to the government. It also inspired him to co-found HealthifyMe, the world’s first Indian nutrition and calorie tracker for healthy living. HealthifyMe has gone on to serve 15 million users and has raised $35M in equity capital.
Prior to this, Tushar worked as a banker, and also helped initiate the Indian Government’s Unique ID project.
Uma uses genetic data to understand the history, present and potential future of populations. Her early research explored how choosiness for mates impacts genetic variation, and the relationships between African click-speaking hunter-gatherer groups. Uma now applies her research to wildlife, using non-invasive DNA sources (like poop!) to investigate tiger population sizes over the last 200 years, connectivity between populations, and how species came to the Indian subcontinent, given their recent arrival to Asia. She is a National Board for Wildlife member, Ramanujan fellow and DAE Outstanding Scientist.
Vandana Srinivasan is a Playback Singer, Independent Musician and Live Performer based in Madras. Currently in her fourth year in the Film Industry, she has several noteworthy songs with reputed composers in Tamil as well as releases in Telugu and Kannada. She has toured the world with multiple performances in Australia, Canada, Singapore, Dubai; the most special one being at the London Olympics 2012 where she showcased Indian music along with her band Staccato. At the moment, she is actively collaborating with various musicians and hopes to release her album very soon
Andrea hails from Goa, and is currently a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab. Her research focuses on creating novel user interfaces in the smart-everything era. Recently, she invented a miniature, low-power 3D sensor for touch-less gestural input to mobile devices and other wearable tech (like the Google Glass). Andrea is also an aspiring tech entrepreneur – her startup, 3dim, is producing a compact, low-power mobile 3D camera. In her spare time she enjoys mentoring young geeks. In 2010 she co-founded the Media Lab Design and Innovation workshop series, conducted annually in partnership with top Indian universities
Karthik Reddy is the co-founder and Managing Partner at Blume Ventures, one of India’s leading early stage Venture funds. Blume focusses on seed to Pre-Series A stages of funding and has made over a 100 investments across its 7 year history.
Karthik’s stints at American Express, Reuters Instinet and Bennett Coleman (Times Group) have given him a breadth of experience across the US and India in Financial Markets, Technology and Media. He is an alumni of IIT (Roorkee), IIM (Bangalore) and The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.
At Blume, he has led the majority of the investments, and advises and serves on the boards of some of the leading investments at the firm – Zopper, Belong, Exotel, Grey Orange Robotics, Unacademy, Chillr, Healthify, Mettl, Nowfloats, Railyatri amongst other emerging stars. Blume has had early success through significant exits in companies such as Taxiforsure (to Ola), Promptec (to Havells) and Zipdial (to Twitter).
Neville is a Dutch architect who has been active in China since 2003 as the head of the Dynamic City Foundation, an international research platform investigating hyper-speed urbanization. At his design studio, Mars Architects, Neville works on sustainable projects on all scales – from buildings and furniture to urban master plans. Working on the premise that urban growth is essentially organic, Neville has applied his radical new Evolutionary Planning methodology in response to China’s accelerated and pressured market conditions. His most fascinating projects include the new Sino-Dutch Ecocity in Shenzhen and an ongoing sustainability strategy for Mumbai with the BMW-Guggenheim Lab. Neville is a 2013 INK Fellow
Ronak is the co-founder of NowFloats, a start-up aimed at make the internet relevant for India’s innumerable small businesses. NowFloats helps business owners without access to the internet or a computer set up and update their own websites entirely by SMS. An inventor at heart, this 2013 INK Fellow is also the co-inventor and chief advisor of Bolt, the world’s first smartphone charger for bikes, and the co-designer of a ‘Speech Glove’ which recognises finger gestures and converts them to speech