Forbes magazine recently announced its 30 under 30 2021 list of Manufacturing and Industry. Several South Asians were included on the list for ‘creating the products, methods and materials of tomorrow’, according to Forbes.
Indian-American Joseph Varikooty, 24 and Lucas Frye, 28 are the cofounders of Chicago-based Amber Agriculture. Varikooty, a 2018 Thiel Fellow who dropped out from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Frye, who received a bachelor’s in agricultural economics and an MBA from the same school founded Amber Agriculture to help farmers monitor and manage their crops with sensors.
Its core technology is a wireless, kernel-like sensor that can flow with grain throughout the supply chain. By detecting moisture or incorrect temperatures, Amber (which has raised $2 million in funding) helps farmers protect grain from spoilage and capture high prices.
Indian-origin Krishna Manda, 26 from New York is the cofounder of Etho. Manda was riding his motorcycle in Brooklyn when a car attempting an illegal U-turn collided with him, severing his right arm. While doctors reattached his limb with two titanium plates and 13 screws, Manda, a dropout of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, wanted to lower the risk of injury and death for other motorcycle riders.
With Parth Darji (who is over 30), he founded Etho to create smart helmets that would give riders information on GPS, speed and nearby vehicles with a heads-up display that let them keep their eyes on the road.
Immigrants Sahir Zaveri, 28 (from India) and Dave Lee, 28 (from Taiwan) are the cofounders of King Children, a sustainable eyewear company that guarantees zero waste in an industry they say is notorious for overproduction.
At King Children every pair is made to order and custom fit using 3D printing, enabling the brand to deliver only what customers want. The Brooklyn-based company has raised $2 million from Great Oaks Capital and others.
Indian-Canadian Randeep Singh, 28, Kevin Han, 28 and Andrew Walker, 29 founded Montreal, Canada-based AON3D right out of college to design 3D printers that use a wide range of high-performance materials.
Customers print high-strength parts at a cost that is as little as a tenth the standard rate, allowing affordable production of even small volumes. It’s raised $14.2 million from backers including SineWave Ventures, AlleyCorp and Y-Combinator. Customers include Siemens, NASA, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
As immigrants from developing countries, Payam Pourtaheri, 27 (who is from Iran) and Ameer Shakeel, 26 (from Pakistan) had seen how synthetic pesticide use and misuse contaminated the environment. As students at the University of Virginia, they founded AgroSpheres to make bio-based crop protection that could replace those chemicals.
Their proprietary bioprocessing and manufacturing AgriCell platform, for which they have 30 patents issued or pending globally, enables a suite of biocontrol products as alternatives to synthetic chemicals. With $11 million in funding, AgroSpheres has set up partnerships with a handful of large, global corporations whose names it cannot disclose.