Nexleaf Analytics’ ColdTrace offersa remote tempera- ture monitoring system that is installed in health clinics and storage facilities and generates SMS
alerts to mobile phones about equipment failure and medicines reaching critical temperatures.
This innovation led to Nithya Ramanathan’s Nexleaf
Analytics, a non-profit technology company founded in
2009, winning at The Tech Awards — also referred to as
the ‘Oscars of Silicon Valley’ — in California last month.
The 2015 laureates, who received unrestricted cash prizes
totaling $500,000, were honored in five categories: the
Intel Environment Award, the Microsoft Education Award,
the Katherine M Swanson Young Innovator Award, the
Sobrato Organization Economic Development Award, and
the Sutter Health Award.
The Los Angeles-based Nexleaf Analytics won the Sutter
“We are very excited and so honored to meet so many
amazing people who are included in this group,” said
Ramanathan, co-founder and president, Nexleaf Analytics.
She, like many others, was at the event not just for the
honor, but also for lessons on how to “continue and sustain
Ramanathan, who has largely been mentored by her father
Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Distinguished Professor of Cli-
mate Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at
University of California, San Diego, said, “The training they
offer is incredible. One full day of very intensive lectures and
discussions and coaching practice session — all sort of
focused on helping the awardees get through their business
and get bigger.”
The impact, she said, was “tremendous.” Especially for so-
meone who didn’t start out with entrepreneurial aspirations.
Ramanathan, who holds a PhD in Computer Science from
University of California, Los Angeles, was once a chip designer at Intel and is now an assistant research professor at
UCLA, she said, “I never wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I
was very motivated by the idea of solving tough challenges.”
Cold Trace spoke directly to that motivation.
When Ramanathan learned about the problems with vac-
cine refrigeration some years ago — at that time her research
was focused on developing a personalized monitoring tool
for young mothers to help them to monitor their diets
and exercise — Nexleaf Analytics decided to study the issue.
They worked with partners and governments to learn the
problems nurses face in clinics, the challenges that fridge
technicians might have in getting refrigerators on time, and
the damage being caused because of refrigeration problems.
They spent years in clinics trying to understand the real chal-
lenges and problems they were trying to solve, she added.
And a couple of important things emerged from that.
“Freezing is one of the big causes of the damage, so the
study showed that some vaccines are sensitive to freezing
and some to over heating,” said Ramanathan. “(And) the vaccine device is needed allover, including the US.”
The answer was Cold Trace.
While other companies offering similar tracking catered
mostly to big hospitals or established entities in the US,
Ramanthan said, “Our target users are poor government
health administrations in need of help. We have designed
this technology specifically for them.”
And the Oscars of Silicon Valley go to…
and Rahul Panicker’s
Embrace win at The
Ritu Jha reports.
Giving back, the Manoj Bhargava way 4Page A18 Manoj Bhargava watches veteran Indian journalist Rajdeep Sardesai try out the centerpiece of his afford- able and clean energy project, an electricity-generating hybrid bicycle called Free Electric. The billionaire and philanthropist unveiled it in New Delhi November 27. The bicycle converts human mechanical energy into electricity. Depending on the usage, it can provide up to 24 hours of electricity after an hour of ped- dling. Designed and developed in America, it will be introduced in Uttarakhand first. Bhargava arrived at an understanding on this with the state’s chief minister December 4. Bhargava aims to distribute it across India eventually. Bhargava, who made his fortune through his company Living Essentials, which makes the energy drink 5-Hour ENER- GY, also made time for other initiatives of ‘Billions in Change,’ which he started to finance development and commercialization of technologies to help combat poverty. TWITTER.COM/SARDESAIRAJDEEP T WITTER.COM/BILLIONSNCHANGE
Nithya Ramanathan, left, of Nexleaf Analytics accepts at The Tech Awards. A16
December 11, 2015