S. Rajagopalan has been using principles of science and business to ensure that useful and profitable ideas from India’s research laboratories reach and impact communities in need. He founded Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE) to provide the missing, yet critical, link between inventors who have not realized the market value of their products with entrepreneurs eager for new products and opportunities.
Towards this, Rajagopalan focused his energy on creating a young, dynamic and entrepreneurial team, constantly alert and scanning the academic environment for new and innovative ideas. Emphasising the discovery of new innovations, making them market ready, and taking them to the hands of the entrepreneur, TIDE worked on 54 innovations in a period of 14 years, and were able to successfully pass on ten of these ideas to entrepreneurs. These innovations primarily focused on renewable energy, microenterprise and waste management. By ensuring that usable technology like energy efficient stoves, dryers and kilns are used by a range of small and medium entrepreneurs in their professions, TIDE’s work in the areas of energy conservation and renewable energy has resulted in an annual saving of 30,000 tons of firewood and around 45000 tons of CO2 emissions. Additionally, TIDE has worked closely with entrepreneurs and communities to create a momentum for the use of rainwater harvesting, and technology for composting and solid waste management in urban areas.
Towards building a strong culture of entrepreneurship development, Rajagopalan ensured that empowering small entrepreneurs was a critical part of the organisation’s core values. Today, TIDE entrepreneurs have had a total turnover of 7 crores, having earned profits about 1 crore through distributing and using TIDE’s technology.
Having built the foundation for TIDE, Rajagopalan found his successor in Svati Bhogle, also an Ashoka Fellow, in 2004. By 2007, Rajagopalan had stepped down from his position as CEO of TIDE, and moved almost completely into academia. Today, he is a professor at the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore (IIITB) where he teaches courses on Geographic Information Sensing (GIS) and remote sensing, as well as course on economics and development for masters students. He also founded and heads the IIITB Innovation Centre, which has become a hub for ICT research, innovation and enterprise in Bangalore. Founded in 2009, the Centre has incubated a range of startups addressing education, health, gaming and community participation through information technology, like TutorVista, Learning Labs, and Mapunity, another Ashoka Fellow organisation.
*This profile was updated in January 2014. Read on for the Election Profile