They veered off the beaten track to follow their dream. They found their calling and did something satisfying and meaningful. Meet these enterprising boys and girls who’re making a difference to the society with their startups.
Sowmya Nanjundaiah, CEO Incite helps companies reimagine and manage their businesses in the digital economy. After an MBA from University of Massachusetts, she returned to India. The lady who now runs an award-winning wine consulting digital agency with Pratap Thumboochetty states, “ I completed my education from Mount Carmel College and went to the US. To me, entrepreneurship is about building a business and that’s what I wanted to do as a CEO. At our office, every team member is an entrepreneur and has the freedom to innovate and excel. I get my inspiration from the commitment that each of the team members show. In any start up, one of the key challenges is to ensure long term commitment. We have a lot of challenges that include being very hands-on.”
Talking about fun at work, she adds, “ We have weekly yoga classes and stress buster games, picnics, retreats to a farm house in Goa; we cook together and there is always music in the office. We also visit an orphanage and an old age home every month.”
Another entrepreneur who returned from the US to give back to her homeland is Likitha Bhanu, CEO Terragreens. She devised gluten-free organic quinoa upma and will soon launch organic cereals, pulses, spices, oils, sweeteners, beverages and ready to cook breakfast mixes. “ I did my engineering in biotechnology from VIT Vellore. My mother played a huge part in influencing me as she is passionate about organic farming and we always had a kitchen garden growing up. She also put up a two acre farm, which is now 40 acres.
After engineering, I took the entrepreneurial plunge to make nutritious and healthy food available to many. It is rewarding to work with many farmers. The major challenges I faced was my inexperience, as I was very young. Although I’m 23, I learnt fast.” Besides her love for organic lifestyle and belief that small tweaks in lifestyle can bring great changes in the quality of life, Likitha is an artist. “In my free time, I paint. I’m also passionate about baking and travelling. I’m also reviving ancient grains and research and development of new ones.”
Looking at what was happening to women and children in Bengaluru, Gautham Kalathur decided to devise Ava, a personal safety enabler by Save my Soul. Talking passionately about his start-up he states, “It is developed, designed and manufactured in Bengaluru and is the first safety enabler app-ware to address personal safety, especially for women, children and the elderly.” After a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Rutgers University, New Jersey, the Bengaluru boy knew that technology was his forte, so offering cost effective technology solutions came naturally to him. “ The idea behind Save My Soul was born from a need to create a social solution. There’s a lack of a robust safety app in the market. Ava is easy to carry, easy to use and is a modern day safety talisman for women who do not want to be held back by late hours or long commutes or lack of companionship,” explains the managing director, BMS ILS, adding. “ I like to go on long treks and am very passionate about mountain biking.”