Workbench Projects began as an idea that plagued Founder and Director Pavan Kumar for two years. His first question every time he meets people who introduce themselves as engineers is “what have you engineered?” The blank looks that invariably followed convinced him of the need to build an institution that could rekindle the spark of creative productivity in what he calls an inert society. He’s got a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Mechanical Engineering. He was head of products and communication at Brains for Science and Technology Aided Reforms in Society (BrainSTARS). Before that, he was an Associate Process Engineer with 3D Systems Inc in South Carolina, USA, where he worked on optimising 3D printers. His energy levels are off the scale and the only way to calm him down is to grab him and shout out a new idea.
Anupama Gowda, Workbench Projects other founder director, is the hand that runs Workbench Projects. She is a master of ceremonies, operations and logistics, making sure that everything is right where it needs to be. Her passion is to create creativity: developing the right conditions to spark and set off a thousand creative pursuits. She led Kali-Kalisu, a joint initiative of the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan and India Foundation for the Arts staying grounded to grassroots work. As Founder Director of Open Minds Education Initiatives initiated an alternate pre-school in Shivamogga. As former Director of Brains for Science and Technology Aided Reforms in Society (BrainSTARS) spearheaded thier pioneering maths activity centre called NumberNagar. She is the Managing Trustee of a not-for-profit organisation called Yuva Chintana Foundation and is on the Board of Nrityagram, an Odissi Dance Gurukul. In all her busy schedule buy her a watermelon juice and tell her all about your plans, she’ll sort you out.
Raghav is a corporate finance and strategy consultant with a special interest in startups, financial sevices, financial product design, social enterprises, financial services policy and policy issues in general. He has international experience in financial services and corporate finance of over 12 years in multiple roles and a track recordfor taking on and successfully managing turn-key initiatives. He works closely with senior managements of several financial institutions, financial inclusion players and technology start-ups in designing strategy and refining execution. On the policy side, he has worked in assessing pricing, tariff and contract structures of large infrastructure PPP projects for governments and academic institutions and in assessing the effectiveness of business correspondent models to MFI’s for a large large multi lateral agency. He has intimate familiarity with domestic regulation, finance eco-system an markets and has spearheaded 10 NBFC acquisitions, registrations and collaborations for geography and business line expansion and has assisted clients in several and investment transactions.
Master Craftsman + Shopfloor Manager
40 years ago, Balu had a dream. He wanted to create a space where people without access to workshops could come in and exercise their creativity. Today, he has found a place doing exactly that, and intends to build on this old dream of his to infect other people with the maker bug. Balu never allows himself an idle moment. Whether helping people with their wood or metal work, or creating his own wacky puzzles, he hates letting the mind sleep. He has a diploma in electrical engineering and has been a Senior Under officer at the NCC. Although he has the capability and experience to work with various materials, he enjoys wood for its versatility. “I am not bound by money”, he says, always preferring the intellectual and personal fulfilment of having conjured an elegant puzzle or having created a beautifully finished piece of woodwork.
Amogh is not afraid to get his hands dirty doing anything that he can get his hands on! He is a strong believer in making mistakes and learning through them, and his knowledge and skills are the the result of countless projects gone wrong, before he got them right! He also loves to use his skills to design and handles all our digital fabrication.
Richard is the resident biologist and eccentric. He prefers working on unconventional and unknown ideas over tried and tested ones. He studied Engineering Biotechnology from Manipal Institute of Technology and has worked in areas ranging from beer brewing, to the downstream processing of menthol and the production of biofuel from algae. Richard believes in the power of engineering and entrepreneurship to solve some of the biggest environmental and social challenges we face today.
Gopi has loved tinkering around with electronics, gadgets, machines, and appliances since he was a young boy. He is an expert when it comes to amplifiers, balanced bots, pen plotters, PCB milling, CNC, circuit design, and 3D printers. He is interested in building IOT products for the industry, working on wearable technology and building DIY 3d printers, plotters and CNC machines. He is our in-house electronics expert.
Chef + Caregiver
Whether you’re hungry or badly in need of a chai, Mary aunty has got you covered. Be warned though, just like aunties everywhere, she’ll always say you haven’t eaten enough!
Owen has worked in new product development and as a consultant in Financial Services for over 8 years. As a world traveller he is hungry, ambitious and values history, loyalty, delivery excellence, Juggaad and sustainable Innovation. He has attacked client challenges in Dublin, London, Frankfurt, Moscow, Singapore, New York, San Francisco, Florida, Bangalore and Mumbai. He has recently returned from a year consulting on Innovation in Asia and has responsibilities in Brazil and North America
In addition to consulting and speaking on coworking and social/shared workspace focused projects, Mike is fascinated with creating dynamic and engaging sponsorable content, programs and products paired with innovative marketing campaigns. Pairing his passions with his skill sets, Mike has recently co-founded Communitas, a new agency based in Chicago, IL dedicated to bringing experiential marketing to coworking spaces around the world. Clients have included: LivingSocial, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Google, Smithsonian Enterprises, Rosslyn BID, REach: the National Association of Realtors’ Tech Accelerator, the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC) and Coworking Alliance of Asia Pacific.
I build connected devices and systems for them to connect to.
I also love building interactive installations and quirky objects that evoke or express emotion.
Kiran Jonnalagadda is a co-founder of HasGeek, where he’s on a mission to help people in the technology industry learn from their peers and discover new opportunities. HasGeek hosts several well regarded technology conferences and workshops, including The Fifth Elephant, India’s largest data and analytics conference.
Dina El-Zanfaly is a designer, maker, architect and educator whose research
examines new ways of human-machine interaction in making and its implementation in creativity and design pedagogy. She is a doctoral candidate in
the Design and Computation group in the Architecture department at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, where she also
earned her Master of Science in Architecture Studies (SMArchS) in Design and Computation while being a Fulbright scholar. She is also a co-founder and co-
director of Fab Lab Egypt (FLE), the first community maker space in northern
Africa and the Arab world. FLE provides both virtual and physical making
environments for young Egyptians, fostering creativity and innovation. Moreover, She worked on integrating two fabrication labs, in two STEM schools in Egypt under the USAID, and she helped in integrating the fab lab in the STEM
curriculum. Her work and Achievements have been selected by MIT to be
highlighted in the MIT news.
Neeraj is Founder & CEO at FormulateIP based in India and USA. Applying his
business and technical background, Neeraj assists clients in protecting and expanding
their domestic and international knowledge-based businesses using IP protection,
licensing and strategic planning.
Neeraj is Co-founder and Director at Excubator which provides guidance and
support needed to entrepreneurs for building a successful entrepreneurial practice.
Neeraj is Founder and Managing Director at Lawcubator which is a technology firm in
Neeraj is CEO at IIT Roorkee’s startup incubator called TIDES. Neeraj is Co-
founder of PanIIT Mentors which is a Nation Building Initiative under PanIIT.
Neeraj is Executive Council member and Treasurer for IIT Alumni Centre
Bangalore . Neeraj is founding EC member of Federation of Indo-Israeli Chamber of
Commerce (South). Neeraj is one of the experts at Swissnex India
(www.swissnexindia.org ) and advises Swiss startups.
A gold medalist from Jabalpur University he is a Post Graduate in Physics with Electronics &
Solid State Physics as specialization and PG Diploma in EDP & Computer Management. Joined
the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Govt. of India in 1979 and worked in several
capacities. He was the Director (Headquarters), of NCSM and was responsible for setting up 11
new science centres in the country; he is presently holding the position of Director Visvesvaraya
Industrial and Technological Museum, Bangalore and was also the Director of the National
Gallery of Modern Art. Has 36 years of experience in Science communication and science
popularization activities in the country.
Evelyn McDonald is the CEO of Scottish EDGE, a funding competition aimed at identifying Scotland’s, innovative, high growth potential entrepreneurial talent. Previously run by Scottish Enterprise for four rounds, Evelyn oversaw the spin out of the competition in Autumn 2014 to the private sector led Scottish EDGE C.I.C funded by RBS, Scottish Government, the Hunter Foundation and private donors. To date Scottish EDGE has awarded nearly £5.7 million to 170 businesses in Scotland. Excluding the 39 winners in Round 7 the businesses have created 479 new jobs to date, generated £21.6 million of additional turnover and attracted £18.7 million of external funding. The introduction of lending to the winners in Round 5 – Scottish EDGE and Higgs EDGE prizes are 50:50 loan and grant – has created a revolving loan fund to support future applicants. Prior to joining the EDGE in November 2014, Evelyn had a long career at the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, and latterly the Prince’s Trust, initially in pre-start support and then in operations. In 2002, she helped set up and run a successful growth fund which assisted over 300 Trust-supported businesses, including BrewDog and Aircraft Medical, providing access to loans of up to £25k and follow-on support. Evelyn is also an assessor of the Small Business Charter Award.
Sridhar is a business leader with a track record of converting ideas to business. Adept in formulating business transformation strategies, he is considered a thought leader in the knowledge services space in India, having helped multiple ITES and KPO companies to launch their research and analytics divisions, innovating business models and building contrarian/ orthogonal thinking. In his current role as a social entrepreneur, he is currently leveraging IoT technologies and its related analytics to build solutions in the areas of disability, craft and retail sectors. Sridhar has a Master’s degree in Biochemistry and an MBA in marketing.
Manojna Yeluri is the founder and principal legal consultant of Artistik License. She is a legal consultant and researcher, passionate about working with artists and professionals in various creative industries. Based out of Bangalore and Hyderabad, she advises artists and entrepreneurs on a range of legal issues by way of her website, specialized workshops, lectures and consultations. She undertakes research on important issues affecting the business of culture and has been invited to several platformsincluding WOMEX.
Nakul has more than 14 years of experience in the areas of business building, strategy, growth & technology assessment, innovation, and new product introduction. He has driven organizational growth initiatives, roadmaps, strategy, for product-based businesses in diverse sectors like healthcare, energy, retail etc. across diverse organizational domains. Winner of the 2015 Zinnov Award for Excellence in Category “Innovation Potential to Solve Large Scale Problems” for the EyeScreening and Detection Solution and one of the 6 finalists at the HIMSS AsiaPac Innovation award 2015 (Singapore), Nakul has an established track record of creating product innovations that solve challenging social problems. He also has vast experience in IP creation and co-creation, and its intricacies.