Meet the team

Hands behind the curtains

A committed group of individuals have come together in perfect unity to present you with this



Pavan

Founder and CEO

"Pavan 'I just want to make stuff' Kumar 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

Co-Founder and CCO

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.

Balu

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.

Ojasvi

Tech Maker

Ojasvi is our newest member. She recently completed her B.Tech in Electronics and Communications Engineering. Initially a relatively straightforward student - ‘All I did was staying in my dorm and studying like a good little teachers’ pet!’ - Ojasvi decided to branch out and take part in clubs, events and competitions. A part of a college tech club that is now a company, she was also awarded the Campus Diaries 25 under 25 award, given to youngsters who are making some impact in the world. This is apt for Ojasvi, who believes that social change is her raison d’etre. She is excited about machine learning and robotics, the area of her focus. In her free time, she enjoys taking online courses and reading books.

Richard

Bio-Hacker

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.

Abhijith

Biz Dev Manager

As soon as you walk into Workbench Projects on any given day, one wide smile and a set of interested eyes will definitely greet you. This people-centric individual’s job so to speak, is to know everybody’s job. As the Marketing and Business Development Manager at WP he ensures to engage various communication channels with the right people at the right time to market any product or service with a consumer-centric approach. Either way, what brings Abhi to WP, it’s growth. It’s building, and we’re not looking at just making projects here, we’re talking business.

Kiran

Auto Mech Maker

Kiran, a recent addition is a simple man. He loves his automotives and like every 20 something his passion is bikes. Now you might have noticed dudes vrooming about on orange-black death traps and basically raising hell, but our fellow here is different. Different how, you may ask? Well, he intends to be the man who gives you your next high-speed fix. Kiran, just like his intent face upon hearing an idea for the first time, is the one novelty you’d find among many electric bike supporters when he puts down a simple fact, ‘You can’t have the power, the hum and that perfect sound of an IC Engine no matter how cool your electric is, which is why you’ll see me building a hybrid at WP’ Fixated with how things work, taking up mechanical engineering instead of automotive was a no-brainer. Coz’ now not only you know how your engine is made, you also know how the machine that builds these engines is made, smart fella that!

Ranjitha

The (Actual) Apprentice

A new entrant to the WP family, Ranjitha, the very first woman is a female mechanical engineer (yes, we’d love to find more of those around!) with an eye for mechanisms and aesthetics. Someone who’d rather like to visualize and see the inner guts and gore of a machine than sit in front of a screen for hours chatting with the keyboard(metaphorically). A maker by heart, Ranjitha is just the kinda personople (our kinda personople) you don’t want to see slogging away in the deep recesses of some office dungeon. An IES aspirant, who upon being asked why IES and not something else, simply suggests with a twinkling smile to compare the satisfaction between a monotonous 9-to-5ver projects for people you’re not even sure exist, to one of actually helping build for a country without blaming the system for every obstacle faced. Why Workbench Projects? It’s the kind of creative freedom and the far-out projects that I am able to be part of (#Proud) instead of replicating and manufacturing foreign designs for a living.

Nikhil

Metal Bender

The first time Nikhil saw Workbench Projects he realized two things: he now knew makerspaces in India were damn interesting places to be at and that he could learn his way into modifying his bikes JUST the way he wanted to. After finding out about Workbench Projects online (Thank You Insta!!) his first visit to the ShopFloor resulted in the filmy/proverbial ‘click!’ during a short but memorable conversation about Kings Of Restoration with a similarly-inclined Balu Sir. This ‘click’ brought him back and again with every spare moment spent in learning the ‘new’ and jumpstarting the slightly rusty. As someone who’s dipped his toes both in the Start-up and Multinational world, Nikhil is a fella with lots of feathers poking out of his hat.

Swaroop aka Farooq / Andrew / Subodh

3D Fabricator

oh how do we describe this always smiling suspicious fella? (Smiling even when he just got handed an urgent 12-hour print at 10PM) A master in mechatronics (both professionally and skill-wise) Swaroop has one simple motto which we at Workbench sometimes (ONLY sometimes) take for granted, The dude can’t say no to a job. Now while this seems like a very cumbersome habit to possess, it has brought him the diversity in experience most engineers he’s seen in college don’t seem to have. While his primary love is Robotics, his motto has brought him a varied experience of the 3D printing world, having interned for one such company, Swaroop knows his way around these printers both inside and out and now is definitely the guy you should be on the hunt for if you’d like to get anything 3D’ed.

Colonel Vinod

Primary Space Man

You know stuff is gonna get done, (and done right by Jove!) when Colonel Vinod is in the space. Let’s just say, the first time we heard an actual Colonel (Retd. now but still!!) would be managing our space with us, the team was curious as a cat. And while myths around makers always seem to bring images of chaos and untidy little sheds, our team at Workbench revealed when Colonel’s order and discipline helped bring our ship in Tip-Top shape (we mean, more tip-top shape than before!). The gentleman, deeply intuitive about the needs of an organization both structure-wise and people-wise is just the kind of influence our maker-army needed. Funnily enough, Coln. has always been a man of new ideas, with an army background of over 36 years of experience he’s been a paratrooper ,a resilient state/national hockey player and in charge of logistics and administration up until the last year, upon being asked why us? He mentioned a wish to prove himself in a civil organisation(no one’s telling him we’re not the most civil organisation in town, shh!) While at the same time build his ideas out, some of which have been haunting him over a decade. To this we say ‘Welcome to the Family Colonel’

Evelyn

Advisory Member

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

Advisory Member

"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."

Tarun

Head of the Innovation Initiative

Prior to working with ICRC, Tarun worked in the UK NGO sector and with the BRCS. At ICRC Tarun’s previous posting was with the Economic Security Unit where he was responsible for promoting cash based approaches and overseeing the design of programmes in Africa, Asia and the Caucasus. Tarun Sarwal is currently setting up the Innovation Initiative at the ICRC. The purpose of the post is to facilitate innovation in support of humanitarian action throughout the ICRC. He manages an internal fund to support innovation pilots, makes external links to stimulate innovation, experiments on new crowd-sourcing innovation processes and is supporting the development of a global humanitarian lab to enable innovation across the humanitarian sector .

Owen

Advisory Member

Owen has worked in new product development and as a consultant in Financial Services for over 8 years. As a world traveler 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.

Manojna

Advisory Member

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 platforms including WOMEX. As a member of the legal fraternity, Manojna has had the opportunity to work with some astute legal scholars and institutions. She graduated from the NALSAR University of Law in Hyderabad, India with a BA.LLB (Honours) and earned an LLM or Master’s Degree from the UCLA School of Law, specializing in Entertainment, Media and Intellectual Property Law. She has previously worked with a corporate law firm, a digital legal publishing/education platform as well as a policy-research think tank. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad.

Saravanan

Advisory member

Saravanan Natarajan is an award winning passionate Creative Technologist, IoT Innovator, Storyteller, Maker, Keynote Speaker, Mentor, Guest Lecturer, Theatre Artist, Voiceover Artist, Trend Spotter and an Eco-Farmer with over 11 prestigious industry awards to his credit. He has been a key technology innovation consultant to bring alive 3D hologram stage solution for our Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during 2012 Gujarat election campaign. Currently, he is the Founder & Director at Gurupriyam Innovation Labs . At present, he is working on a range of IoT based products with cross platforms integrations that are focused on making people productive with objects that exist in environment around them. Our products are derived from innovation of cross integrating platforms ranging from RFID, NFC, Cloud, Low energy Bluetooth, zigbee, Cognitive, Gateway, Leap motion, Kinect, VR, AR, holograms, sensors, quadcopters, social API to name a few.

Sajith

Advisory member

Sajith Kandiyil head Avench systems Pvt Ltd (ASPL), an electronic product design and development company specialised in embedded systems, which forms the brain of all the machines created till date. Founded by a group of engineers with more than a decade of semiconductor industry experience in July of 2015, ASPL's solutions have become an integral part of the embedded eco system for industry leaders in various domains. Sajith is in the business of making technology adoption easy and beneficial to various business verticals and in the process creating products which plug the gap between what technologies has to offer and the needs which arise from time to time. He makes products which are quotable examples of how technology helps save time and effort and improves efficient making it more meaningful and important in today's demanding business environment. Their products and solutions have always stood out well on scales, in ease of use and magnitude of innovation making us the partner of choice even for many start-up companies who need embedded hardware products to make their offerings more meaningful.

Nihal

Advisory member

Nihal Kashinath is the founder of IoTBLR, an open community for people interested in the Internet of Things and one of the largest IoT-focused meetup groups globally. Much of his time is spent growing the IoT developer and entrepreneur bases in India, disseminating technological know-how, organizing resources, and generally developing the Indian IoT ecosystem. Nihal also provides consultation on IoT strategy for companies looking to enter or expand in this space. He has a BE in Computer Science from RV College of Engineering and an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from the Indian School of Business.

Kumar

Advisory member

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.

Neeraj

Advisory member

Neeraj holds Bachelors of Technology degree from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Metallurgical and Material Sciences. He completed his M.S. in Mathematics from KTH in the year 2004 and PGPX in General Management from UCLA Anderson School of Management. Neeraj is Founder & CEO at FormulateIP based in India and USA. Neeraj is Co-founder and Director at Excubator, Founder and Managing Director at Lawcubator , CEO at IIT Roorkee’s startup incubator called TIDES, 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, Chairman for KTH Alumni India Chapter and is founding EC member of Federation of Indo-Israeli Chamber of Commerce (South). Neeraj is author of book “Creating & safeguarding a strong Intellectual Property Portfolio” which was written in collaboration with SIDBI, Adelphi and KFW Bank Germany. He is one of the experts at Swissnex India (www.swissnexindia.org ) and advises Swiss startups. He is also a senior mentor and visiting faculty in several engineering and MBA colleges. Neeraj also serves on the board of advisors of several organizations.

Vishwanathan

Advisory member

Vish co-founded FORGE Accelerator based in Coimbatore, and presently leads strategy, program planning, fund raising, ecosystem operations, startup investments, alliances, and general management. After having launched new products, businesses and startups, he has now taken up the challenge of launching new institutions with impact, development and global collaboration as core purposes. In the past 16 years he has managed business strategy, strategic innovation and product marketing in mid to large sized enterprises, and has helped over 25 startups take off with 360D support for business modelling, product planning, sales & marketing operations, and overall business execution. He has worked for 8 years in the global telecommunications industry in technical sales and marketing, product management, strategic alliances, and business strategy, while serving Cisco, Nortel, & Ericsson. He has 7+ years of resident international work experience in USA, Canada, Sweden, Israel and China. Vish received his PGDM majoring in strategy, entrepreneurship and marketing from IIM-Bangalore in 2011, and his BE degree specializing in electronics and communications from CEG-Chennai in 2000.

Nakul

Advisory member

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.

Mike

Advisory member

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.

Ankit

Advisory member

Ankit builds connected devices and systems for them to connect to. He also love building interactive installations and quirky objects that evoke or express emotion.

Sanjana

Advisory member

Sanjana Govindan Jayadev is a committed humanitarian and work across education, healthcare , livelihood and the animal welfare sector. She currently heads Fundraising and Grant management at AIFO India, an international non profit organization that works on enhancing access to healthcare in rural and remote, strengthen community healthcare systems, secure donor funding while spearheading new initiatives to improve financial sustainability of grassroots partners and use innovative low cost technology and partnership to improve patient treatment outcomes across 10 states of AIFO''s operations. She is founder of the Water Bowl Project, a citizen volunteer led initiative that brings clean drinking water to urban animals across 5 cities in India. Prior to this, she was Manager Fundraising at Dream A Dream , a Bangalore city based non profit working to bring life skills education to youths from backgrounds of poverty and vulnerability studying in government school, tuition centers. She has also worked with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as a public procurement policy analyst. Sheis the former Curator of the Global Shapers Bangalore Hub and current member,core team member of Swaniti, founding member of the Bangalore Cat Squad and she supports numerous Arts and Culture organizations that support rural artists and artisans. For her commitment to the humanitarian sector she was recognized by the World Economic Forum and was invited to participate at the Annual Summit in Davos in January 2015 and was among a handful of women invited from around the world. Today she continues to advise non profit organizations, philanthropic foundations and private donors on ways to give back while actively volunteering for the causes and organizations close to her heart.

Powered by Think201