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Forging A New India – Making Space Explorable For The Next Generation

“Look at the sky, we are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work” – Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

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Dr. Srimathy Kesan, Founder and CEO of Space Kids India(SKI

Dreams!

Every person in this universe has their own dreams.

And everybody desires to fulfil their own, right?

But do you know there is someone who worked to fulfil the dream of others?

A dream of a group of secondary school students to launch a satellite.

Big dream, isn’t it?

And this dream of students was owned by Dr. Srimathy Kesan, Founder and CEO of Space Kids India(SKI).

Let us tell you how she made the dream of a group of students, a success.

Also Read: A Social Commerce Platform That Has Changed the Way Indian Women Earn & Do Business

A Brave Soul, A Kind Heart

Married at the age of 18, Dr. Kesan did not succumb to the typical marital lifestyle and aspired to earn her own living. She inspired others by the strength she’s shown in her life. During her school and college days, she was a:

  • Paratrooper
  • NCC Best Cadet, and
  • National Level Basketball champion
Dr. Srimathy Kesan, A Brave Soul, A Kind Heart
Source

She showed remarkable strength when she returned to her professional career after a gap of almost 16 years.

In an interview with Education Brainiac, she explained how she was a devotee of fate.         

Her exact words were:

“When the right time comes, everything will start falling into places, but you should keep on trying with passion.”

And yes, how she keeps on achieving milestone by milestone is enough to prove this.

The Aims And Objectives

Dr. Srimathy Kesan explained how she edged the youngsters’ interest in coming past the common culture of studying by cramming.

Her venture Space Kids India (SKI) runs on the objective to arouse interest in space endeavors among young children.

Space Kids India (SKI) runs on the objective to arouse interest in space endeavors
Source

The future of our country doesn’t need to take any big degrees like PhD to play with space.

All they need is practical knowledge, and an out of box thinking.

Through her distinctive programs, Dr. Kesan aims to opt out of  the conventional Indian education system and map the new road to “Room Education” for young creators.

So What Inspires You, Dr. Kesan?

When asked about her inspiration for what keeps her going ahead, Dr. Kesan shared that her kids were and are her source of inspiration.

She also said that working with students gives her power.

In fact, she went as far as to say that they are the whole and sole reason behind her being fiery and obsessive with her work.

working with students gives her power
Source

The young minds have ideas; ideas that when given an atmosphere to nurture, turn out to be great achievements.

She teaches her children and herself to find practical solutions to her problems.

Bookish knowledge is good, but it’s the practical field experience that lets them become, in her words, “more procreant”.

Also Read: A Self-Sufferer of Speech Disorder Turned Into a Helpful Entrepreneur

Was The Feat Easy, Or Were There Difficulties And Setbacks?

Well before asking Dr. Kesan about this, what do you think about the question above?

For a woman, who got married at such an early age, what would it have been to get back to the professional field of work after 16 years?

Family pressure? Societal pressure? Or well, just personal low self-esteem?

Dr. Kesan recounted how she and her team learned the experiments all alone
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But comically, the first difficulty our icon mentioned was, how they faced experimental problems due to less equipment during their initial stages.

Recollecting that it was so hard to utilize daily life appliances without the availability of the science labs from the start, Dr. Kesan recounted how she and her team learned the experiments all alone.

There are even more obstacles she might have faced while being a lady in the space industry.

Dr. Kesan told that she’s an fervent devotee to the motto, “No Pain, No Gain.”
And, from where she’s started to where she’s today, it all is a declaration of the same.

Space Kids India? What Could A Bunch Of Kids Even Do In Front Of The Ph.Ds?

When thinking about making high school students compete with Ph.D. scientists, even the idea seems comical.

Well, not to the icon, of course!

The dream of dispatching a satellite by secondary school students worked out in 2015.

The youthful researchers of SKI planned and dispatched the first-ever “Close to Space Launch Vehicle” (NSLV), an inflatable satellite named NSLV KALAM 1, after Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

The satellite was set to travel to the stratosphere.

It helped SKI make various records. The most prominent being registered at the Limca Book of World Records for being the first understudy group to dispatch swell from India, that arrived at a height of 1,07,000 ft.

World's Lightest Satellite - Kalam SAT
World’s Lightest Satellite – Kalam SAT (Source)

SKI also programmed and launched the “World’s Lightest Satellite” known as Kalam SAT. It was completely 3D printed, estimating 3.8 cubic cm, and weighed 64 grams.

It was dispatched by NASA alongside many other experiments on the Terrier Orion sounding rocket on 22 June 2017, from the Wallops Island flight office in Virginia.

Now, SKI is the only setup with the inconstant century to launch:

  • 2 suborbital satellites
  • 13 balloon satellites
  • 1 orbital satellite

SKI Co-curricular

Dr. Srimathy accepts that art plays a significant part in learning.

In such regard, SKI made history during the 2012 Olympics by turning into the first cultural unit chosen from an esteemed list of 22,000 performers to perform at the London Olympics.

SKI made history during the 2012 Olympics by turning into the first cultural unit
Source

Moreover, SKI has also facilitated various social occasions in India, Canada, and the USA.

Being a social activist, Dr. Kesan also inspires her children to work for society.

SKI delivered a short film on Breast Cancer, to make mindfulness among individuals from varying backgrounds.

Additionally, a music video delivered by SKI on “Female Foeticide” got critical acclaim.

A Source Of Inspiration For All Women Today

Dr. Srimathy Kesan is the first Indian citizen to be honoured with the ambassador status by the top 3 space organizations of the world; namely Euro Space Center, Russian Space Center & NASA.

She has won many awards including:

  • “Thanga Tharagai” award by NEWS 7, for “Women in Science and Technology”
  • “Best Social Entrepreneur Award 2019”
  • Abdul Kalam Award – for Science and Technology
  • Most Inspiring Innovative Entrepreneur Award – South Indian Startup Awards (SISA)
  • Women Icon 2017 by BERG and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Pride of India — 2016 awarded by CNBC and 1000 Petals Foundation, Bangalore
Dr. Srimathy Kesan at Women Icon Conference
Dr. Srimathy Kesan was awarded as the “Women Icon of the year-2017″, by BERG and NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY at Singapore on the 17th March 2017 (Source: Dr.Srimathy Kesan’s Twitter)

Not only these, but she’s also been a National Basketball player, a state-level athlete in javelin, shot put, and relay. She has also won 3 Mixed Doubles titles for Badminton.

She has also won several medals during her days of being an NCC cadet.

As per her, “Disappointments will be a triumph remainder one day.”

And we at the TBM desk hope that she, along with her team at Space Kids India, keeps on achieving all kinds of accomplishments in the space industry.

Also Read: How a Puppy Motivated This Woman to Take Entrepreneurship

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Entrepreneurship

This Entrepreneur is Aiming to Rule the Consumer Durable Sector

Even the promotion couldn’t stop him from leaving the comfortable corporate life.

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Bharat Kalia, co-founder, and CEO at Lifelong Online

A lot of industries in India operate traditionally.

They develop the products based on the customer needs, market them through various means, and make the revenue.

But, there is an entrepreneur who didn’t want to follow this old-school path. Instead, he innovated an alternative method to run the business.

What is this method about?

It is communicating with the customers, understanding their requirements which are not fulfilled by the existing brands, and then designing the solutions to meet their needs.

How could he get this idea?

Any guesses?

It is because he could realize these 3 facts about the customers:

  • Their needs are evolving
  • They search for modern functional solutions for the age-old challenges, and
  • Look for great value for money

After thorough research, he delivered innovative products, crafted with care, at the best prices, to ease his customers’ everyday living; through his venture known as Lifelong Online.

Now you may be eagerly waiting to know the identity of this mastermind.

He is none other than Bharat Kalia, co-founder, and CEO at Lifelong Online.

He co-founded this venture in November 2015 with Varun Grover and Atul Raheja.

From Cushy Corporate Life to Unpredictable Journey

Lifelong Online

Bharat followed the same journey as any engineer-MBA graduate would do.

Prepare day and night for the interviews, clear it, get the job, work, and, umm… keep working (what else can an employee do in the corporate space, right?).

After getting into corporate life, Bharat worked really hard to make his identity. He reached a team manager position from an associate within 5 years of working at the management consultancy firm.

After this promotion, he could have continued his job and could have climbed the corporate ladder even higher… But, the year 2015, which saw the rise of e-commerce in India, brought a twist to his life journey.

While working  at Bain & Company, a thought got stuck in his mind: No development or innovation has taken place in the home appliances and consumer durables sector .

Wait! There is a reason behind his thought – he had been using the same type of home appliances (and of course, with the same issues) that his parents used for nearly 20 to 30 years!

Even you might have faced this situation, right?

Bharat realized that the primary reason for this lack of development was that this product category contains bulky and inefficient methods of manufacturing and distribution.

This convinced Bharat that the consumer durables sector needed a digital revamp. And he took this opportunity to begin an exciting yet unpredictable journey of entrepreneurship with Lifelong Online.

How Does Lifelong Online Work?

How Does Lifelong Online Work
Source

“Consumer data will be the biggest differentiator in the next 2 to 3 years. Whoever unlocks the reams of data, and uses it strategically, will win,” – Angela Ahrendts.

And Bharat realized this back in 2015, don’t you think?

Lifelong Online could create its identity in the consumer durable sector within a few years of its launch.

Do you want to know how?

By operating on the customer-centric business model.

Here are the business processes that Lifelong Online follows:

  • Identification of customers’ pain points through product review insights
  • Designing the product and optimizing the packaging and supply chain
  • Conducting the test launch of the newly developed product and collecting the feedback
  • Conducting market attractiveness check
  • Pre-launch quality testing
  • Product launch and distribution through D2C (direct-to-customer) model, and
  • Continuously managing and analyzing the feedback and improving every product

Bharat and his team started their journey by launching their first product – a mixer grinder.

And then there was no looking back for them.

Currently, it has a portfolio of products belonging to these categories:

  • Home appliances
  • Kitchen
  • Fitness
  • Grooming
  • Lifestyle, and
  • Accessories

Lifelong Online sells its products through its platform and e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Udaan. And became a fast-growing, digital-first consumer durable brand of India.

You may have one question in mind, “How is it possible for Lifelong Online to offer the products at competitive prices?”.

This is because Lifelong Online doesn’t own the factories that manufacture their products, but only lease them. Therefore, no capital investments and maintenance cost involved.

This asset-light manufacturing model with no requirement of middlemen in distribution (D2C model) helps Lifelong Online to serve the customers at the best market prices.

Pandemic Couldn’t Shatter Him

Pandemic Couldn't Shatter Him
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When there are no fish, anglers (fishermen) make nets, they say.

Because when again fishing begins, they would have more nets to catch the fishes.

And that’s what Bharat followed during the lockdown.

He destructed the team a little and repurposed them into product development. This made them have a variety of products to offer when the e-commerce market returned to normal.

A smart businessman, don’t you agree?

When the entire world got hit by the pandemic, do you know what Bharat gave the first preference to?

It was his team.

He made sure that every employee was working from home in their hometown during the lockdown. The graphic designers and finance team needed the desktops to continue functioning, and he arranged them too.

Hence, Lifelong Online could manage all the operations smoothly, even when the outer world was in chaos.

Richard Branson once said, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.”

And Bharat’s Lifelong Online is the best example. We, at the TBM desk, wish Bharat and his team all the luck and success. And hope they solve many more customers’ pain points and serve them with incredible products.

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Entrepreneurship

A Young Mind Who Dreams of Bringing a Holistic E-mobility Transition

He wants to free India from depending on foreign technologies and resources to manufacture efficient batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems.

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Akhil Aryan, founder of ION Energy

There was a boy who applied life hacks early in his teenage life.

Do you know what these life hacks are?

In the Indian context, it is nothing but the ‘Jugaad’ (Now you got it!).

He could pay his rent when he was in San Francisco, he could figure out how to start a business with no funding in hand, all with the help of the life hacks.

Amazing! Isn’t it?

And these life hacks made him realize one thing: If he finds a problem, and he would take the ownership to find the solution for it, he would definitely be successful one day.

And that’s what made him one of the youngest successful entrepreneurs of India.

He is none other than Akhil Aryan.

In 2016, he began his venture, ION Energy, which operates in the space of Battery Management System (BMS), and battery intelligence. Hence, ION energy aims to build the technologies to speed up earth’s transition to an all-electric planet.

The Idea Behind ION Energy

The Idea Behind ION Energy
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Did you know the problem faced by electric mobility inspired the idea behind ION Energy?

Akhil had a keen interest in the physics of energy and software since he was a young boy. Before ION Energy, he worked as CPO at Haptik until 2015.

He started reading about electric vehicles and wanted to find out whether electric mobility would turn into a big thing in the future or not.

At the same time, his father decided to sell his Skoda Superb car.

But Akhil insisted his father not sell, instead, keep it so that he could convert it into an electric vehicle.

In 2016, as Akhil was reading about electric vehicles, he found that these get built upon one fundamental component: the battery.

He read more books to determine the methods that would convert the internal combustion engine into an electric one. He ordered components online to manufacture the electric vehicle battery.

As he was going through this process; he realized, there are few concerns associated with these Electric Vehicle (EV), and Energy Storage System (ESS) batteries:

  • These are very expensive (constitute 40-45% of the total cost of the vehicle), and that these are complicated components
  • These don’t last for a longer time if the user doesn’t maintain them carefully

And he also found out the significant factors of an efficient battery, which are:

  • Shelf-life
  • Safety, and
  • Performance

What would make an EV battery last longer and perform better?

Akhil has an answer for you: It is the installation of BMS that improves the performance and shelf-life of lithium-ion batteries that power EVs and ESS.

He soon found out that no players in the Indian market were into BMS and battery intelligence. And the Indian electric vehicle manufacturers depend on either European or American advanced technology.

He wanted to change this scenario.

In 2016, Akhil launched ION Energy in Mumbai, which supplies world-class products and technology to the EV manufacturing companies and ESS for renewable energy.

And guess what? In the following year, Akhil could acquire a France-based company, Freemens SAS, an 8-year-old company operating in BMS space. And currently, ION has offices in India and France.

An exciting and unusual first year for a startup, don’t you think?

What Makes ION Energy Different From the Rest

Startup ION Energy
Source

How does ION Energy stand out from its competitors?

It is their BMS technology that is easily adaptable to India’s roads and the environment.

In 2019, his team could deploy BMS technology in 30,000 auto and scooters in India and currently export products to 12 countries worldwide.

Akhil revealed that there are many similar technologies and products present in the market, but they do not satisfy the needs of the Indian situation.

These products are usually exported abroad, and their cost is very high, which makes them inaccessible to the local customers.

And this is where ION Energy scores. ION Energy’s BMS technology is available at a comparatively lower price and has already deployed its technology in a larger volume, helping them gain customers’ trust.

This BMS technology is a cloud-connected system that allows them to see how their batteries are being used. The cloud system then analyses this data to improve the performance of their batteries.

Akhil expressed he focuses on building relationships with Indian and international companies that desire to have their battery system.

He does this by approaching the battery components assembling companies to sell his BMS technology, which later gets transferred to the vehicle manufacturing companies.

How Does the Future Look Like?

How Does the Battery Technology Future Look Like
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Akhil has a vision of localizing the Research and Development (R&D) activities in India and manufacturing top-notch products for EVs.

Currently, ION Energy is operational in 12 countries, including India, France, Germany, and the UK. And he is looking forward to expanding it further by raising funds.

In the financial year of 2019-20, he could witness the growth of 400%, which he is expecting to remain the same for the next 2 to 3 years.

Akhil, who got featured in Forbes Asia 30 under 30, shares that one should know the ‘what’ of their life, and then should figure out or experiment with how to achieve them.

He also believes that if you have an idea, share it with others to get their perspective and feedback on your idea.

He advises the aspiring entrepreneurs not to break the head to find a million-dollar idea. Instead, look out for the problems or inefficiencies and then start the venture to solve that problem. We, at TBM, wish and hope that Akhil and the entire team of ION Energy make India proud by launching their incredible products and technologies in the EV and ESS space. And inspire young minds to find and solve problems through their entrepreneurship journey.

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Artificial Intelligence

An ‘Alexa’ for Doctors? Why Not? Said This Techie

He is the mastermind behind the clinical voice assistant tool. And he has a vision of having healthcare professionals with no burnouts.

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Suki, clinical voice assistant tool

Hey Google!

Hey Siri!

Hey Alexa!

Hey Suki!

We’re sure that most of you are aware of the first three voice assistants and are using those in your day-to-day life.

Now, you might be wondering what this fourth one is?!

Well, you will get to know about that in no time but before that; do you know, 

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine states that physicians spend 27% of their time consulting patients?

And do you know where do physicians spend 49.2% of their remaining time?

It is in doing paperwork! And it also includes the use of the EHR (Electric Health Record) system.

The primary reasons behind physicians’ burnout could be:

  • No help available for doctors and physicians to do paperwork
  • Clinics and hospitals are reluctant to invest in clerical and administrative support

Well, it is! It is totally related to our talks.

There is a technology that can assist the doctors in the monotonous documentation work; saves the precious time of the patients’ as well as their own.

And that technology is Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Leveraging this same technology, a US-based startup founded by Punit Soni has developed a clinical voice assistant named Suki.

Suki app on appstore
Source

It is aiming to help doctors and physicians with documentation work, and create more time for doctors to treat their patients, which is indeed their primary job.

A brilliant move of technology into the healthcare system, don’t you think?

Also read: Top Impactful Crypto Projects in 2021

The Beginning of Suki

Suki Co founder, Punit Soni
Source

The co-founder of Suki, Punit, is a techie guy who has served as lead project manager for 8 years in Google, and chief product officer in Flipkart.

He was mainly into the development of mobile applications and games.

So, how did this nerdy techie get introduced into the healthcare system?

It was when he shadowed the doctors in a clinic.

When he was in the clinic, there was a stressful situation wherein many patients were getting treated, and many intense works were taking place.

In such a situation, the most distracted persons he could find were the doctors!

Why?

Because he found them immersed in the documentation work instead of treating the patients.

This was when he came up with the thought of creating a tool that can assist the healthcare professionals in doing the paperwork. And hence they could focus on their patients with more care and empathy.

And in 2016, Punit started his journey in the healthcare industry by launching Suki.

A Much-Needed Tool for Physicians

A Much-Needed Tool for Physicians

How does Suki work?

This clinical voice assistant records, transcribes, and organizes doctors’ conversations with their patients. And then, it completes the data entry that is required for EHR.

By taking care of this tedious documentation process, Suki has enhanced the relationship between a doctor and a patient.

As per a recent white paper published by Suki, this voice assistant has increased the time spent by the doctors with their patients by 12% by cutting down the note-taking time by 76%.

This is undoubtedly a win-win situation for both patients and doctors.

How?

When a happy and stress-free physician spends more time with the patients, treatment would be more effective. And that would cause faster recovery.

And for the doctors, the application of voice assistant brings a financial benefit of  $30,000 or more a year on average.

And hence, Suki, as a tool, has improved the healthcare system by  :

  • Structuring the format of the healthcare management
  • Happier physicians with no burnout
  • Increase in the profit of healthcare organization, and
  • A better outcome for patients

In one of his interviews, Punit expressed that the feedback from the CIO (Chief Information Officer), CMIO (Chief Medical Informatics Officer), and administrators were critical for Suki.

But what mattered to him the most was how Suki would help physicians work professionally and make their lives easier.

He is undoubtedly the rarest technology professional who realized that physician burnout is the most critical public health crisis that had to be addressed.

The Challenges He Had to Face

The Challenges faced by Suki founders
Source

The journey of Suki was not a cakewalk.

Punit, and his technology team, had little to no idea about how a day would be like in a physician’s life, or they couldn’t spare time to observe and study their workflow.

So, to get access to the data that would help him develop Suki, he took physicians onboard as his colleagues.

Was it an effortless task for him to recruit and keep physicians in his team?

No, not at all.

It became difficult for Punit to create a workspace that could be ideal for both physicians and techies.

But he knew that to make Suki a success, both technologists and physicians had to work hand in hand. Therefore, even though it was challenging to understand each other’s work culture, ethics, and process, it was all worth it in the end.

The next challenge ahead of him was getting permission from physicians to introduce Suki in clinics and hospitals.

But most of the physicians did not agree to use the tool that was built only for them.

Why?

Before Suki, the technology field had developed many tools for physicians but not keeping them in mind.

These tools, instead of easing their work, added more burden on them. They used these tools only because the system forced them to do so.

When Punit approached them with Suki, most of the physicians were hesitant. But he assured them, saying that, if they used it, from day 1, their time spent on paperwork would reduce by 50 – 70%.

And guess what?

Physicians and the healthcare system agreed to welcome Suki.

And hence, it got its entry into the healthcare industry.

Even after Suki’s successful launch, Punit had to address questions regarding his intention behind this tool.

“Are you going to replace doctors with Suki?”, many curious people couldn’t resist but ask him.

He replied with an explanation that Suki has no intention of replacing doctors. But only to assist them so that they could do their job of treating their patients in the best way possible.

How could anyone think of replacing our super strong-minded professional folks, isn’t it?

What’s New in Suki?

Suki gets constant updates
Source

“It was a tough job to make Suki a reliable, seamless, perfect and consistent tool for healthcare, where one can not entertain mistakes,” says Punit.

He has plans of scaling up Suki and making it even more reliable and efficient.

In this direction, Suki has come up with a newly updated platform that incorporates data collected by Suki and teaches the AI to respond to the users faster and accurately.

And that is S3 or the Suki Speech Service platform. With this new upgrade, doctors can communicate with Suki casually, without confusing it.

Punit has a vision of making Suki an invisible and assistive tool to the healthcare professionals, and hopes that many technologies would show up to upgrade the healthcare industry.

We, at TBM, wish the team of Suki all the best for future endeavours. And hope that Suki would bring a smile on each physicians’ face because they deserve it.

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