Today, in a first-ever White House Demo Day event, US President Barack Obama honoured three Indian-Americans among others for their innovative and path breaking startups which have had a major impact on people’s lives. President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Demo Day focused on inclusive entrepreneurship, welcoming startup founders from diverse walks of life and from across the country to showcase their innovations.
Unlike a private-sector Demo Day, where entrepreneurs “pitch” their ideas to funders, innovators from around the country joined President Obama in demo day event in Washington, DC, to “demo” their individual success stories and show why we need to give every American the opportunity to pursue their bold, game-changing ideas.
The three Indian-American entrepreneurs and startup founders, all three are women, were honoured at this first-ever and one of its kind event hosted by White House are –
1. Privahini Bradoo
Born in India, Privahini has been raised in Oman and New Zealand, and educated in Boston, Bradoo pulls from diverse life experiences to lead her company and make a positive impact in the world.
Startup founded – BlueOak
San Francisco, California-based startup BlueOak founded by Privahini finds the treasure in trashed smartphones. Every day, U.S. consumers throw away enough cell phones to blanket 50 football fields. To Privahini Bradoo, people might as well throw away their jewelry: one ton of cell phones contains as much gold as 70 tons of gold ore. Seeing a business opportunity, Bradoo founded BlueOak. BlueOak is an electronics recycling firm that harvests the valuable precious metals out of old smartphones and TVs. BlueOak is building low-cost and environmentally friendly refineries to recycle critical metals from e-waste. Their flagship refinery is located in Osceola, Arkansas.
Check BlueOak’s fund raising news in Techcrunch.
2. Ann Marie Sastry
Startup founded – Sakti3
With over 25 years of experience and 120 scientific publications, Dr. Ann Marie Sastry is a leading materials science researcher who leading a startup that is developing the next-generation of low-cost batteries. After spending 17 years as a Professor at University of Michigan, doing research for DARPA, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and other sponsors in government agencies and the private sector, Dr. Sastry decided to found her company. Sastry’s startup Sakti3 is using materials science to develop the next generation of solid state lithium batteries that will power mobile phones, computers, and even cars.
Sakti has been recognized for its innovative approaches with several technical and business awards, including recognition as One of the 50 Smartest Companies in MIT’s Technology Review, an IHS CERAweek Energy Innovation Pioneer (2014), in MIT’s Technology Review as one the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies (2012) and the winner of the World’s Top Ten in the Energy Category (2011). The company is now scaling its prototypes in pilot production.
3. Suma Reddy
Startup founded – Waddle
Waddle is a mobile, friend-to-friend discovery platform to help find the best places to go by using friends’ ratings, reviews and recommendations. Suma Reddy is a co-founder of Waddle, former Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, and an MBA graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Suma decided to go into tech over a year ago, with a goal to develop a fun and useful product that would allow friends to help each other discover great places to go. She began developing her networks and skills by learning UX Design from New York’s The Flatiron School and becoming an NYC Co-Director of Lesbians Who Tech.