- The list showcases “ambitious sole proprietors, self-funded shops and pre-revenue startups” across the U.S., “all with under $10 million in revenue or funding.”
At least 46 Several South Asian Americans are included in the third installment of Forbes ‘Next 1000,’ a list of inspiring entrepreneurs and small business leaders who are redefining what it means to build and run a business amid the new normal. Presented by Square, the list spotlights a total of 1,000 entrepreneurs, announced each quarter, in installments of 250 standouts. Forbes says the list showcases “the ambitious sole proprietors, self-funded shops and pre-revenue startups in every region of the country, all with under $10 million in revenue or funding and infinite drive and hustle.”
South Asian Americans in the Fall 2021 class include:
Nitin Agrawal, 35, of Austin, Texas, co-founder and CEO of Interstride, an edtech company that gives international student support services to higher education institutions. Founded in 2017, the total funding to date for the company is $1.5 million.
Rashi Arora, 30, of Jersey City, New Jersey, founder, Cuddlytails, which helps people build communities around their pets. Founded in 2020, the Jersey City-based company helps people make dog-loving friends and also book reliable dog-sitters or dog-walkers. Cuddlytails has also raised $156,000 in funding and seen user growth of 70 percent as workers return to offices.
Arshad Bahl, 53, of Scarsdale, New York, founder, Amrita Health Foods, which produces plant-based protein snacks that are free from top allergens, and has more than 100,000 clients. Forbes says “Bahl got the idea to start Amrita Health Foods after witnessing his son use a gluten-free and dairy-free diet to aid in his recovery from autism and gastrointestinal issues.” He left his job at IBM to launch Amrita Health Foods in 2012.
Robin Bansal, 46, of Easton, Pennsylvania, co-founder, Bansi Holdings, which now owns 15 retail locations as a franchisee of Palm Beach Tan, Hand & Stone, Plato’s Closet and Style Encore with more than 150 employees.
Ansh Bhammar, 24, of Boston, Massachusetts, co-founder, ForagerOne, which began as a Johns Hopkins dorm-room startup by co-CEOs Bhammar and Yash Jain and technical cofounders Michael Ashmead and Nitin Kumar. “The university research network that connects students and faculty with an eye on accelerating interdisciplinary research got a real Covid boost when education went virtual,” Forbes says.
Ami Bhansali, 38, of Mission Viejo, California, founder, Chai Diaries, a specialty organic tea brand, available through Whole Foods, H-E-B and others. Despite Covid, the company more than doubled its revenue in 2020.
Vikas Bhatia, 46, of Tampa, Florida, founder, JustProtect, helps companies protect their electronic data by offering a software platform that helps simplify the process through automated internal and external assessments for third-party vendors.
Anita Chatterjee, 38, of New York, founder, A-Game Public Relations, whose clients have included Payal Kadakia of ClassPass, the Grammy-winning musician Ne-Yo and CAVU Venture Partners. “As a female entrepreneur of color,” Forbes says Chatterjee’s stated mission is to “raise the profile of female and minority founders and ensure their stories are told in the world’s top media outlets.”
Yasar Chaudhary, 28, of Nashville, Tennessee, co-founder, Eat Well Nashville, which provides prepared meals for busy individuals trying to maintain a healthy diet. Established in 2016, it is now the largest healthy meal delivery service provider in the Middle Tennessee area, it serves more than 25,000 customers.
Ravneet Dhaliwal, 38, of Leesburg, Virginia, co-founder, Night Watch Specialized Urgent Care providing acute and urgent services, quality treatment, and onsite lab and diagnostic testing for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses. As demand grew due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dhaliwal opened a second location. In total, the facilities serve around 2,000 patients a month.
Akshay Dinakar, 24, San Francisco, California, founder, Tangible Teleportation, a tangible solution for distance-separated families to keep in touch. TTC does this with kits that include arm-like pillows that allow users to literally hug each other in 2D and FaceTime.
Reetu Gupta, 49, of Redmond, Washington, co-founder, Cirkled, a platform that allows Gen-Z to showcase their achievements to share with colleges and employers. Its goal is to help students create a portfolio that captures their hobbies, volunteer work, and other achievements.
Rohan Gupta, 25, of Chicago, Illinois, co-founder, Quillbot, an A.I.-based app, which helps to make writing painless by transforming your jumbled thoughts into comprehensible manuscription. According to Forbes, the company has over 4 million monthly active users. Gupta and co-founder Anil Jason have now raised $4.25 million in venture funding.
Tara Gupta, 26, of Washington, D.C., founder, Map-Collective, a green-tech startup that digitally tracks and maps environmental data and users’ carbon footprints. Forbes says Map-Collective has $130,000 in funding to date, and “is currently pre-revenue and is in talks with some 200 companies with plans to grow a robust system of carbon tracking within the next 10 years.” Gupta is also the founder of Anamakos, a sustainable real estate development startup.
Akbar Hamid, 36, of New York, founder, The 5th Column, a creative consultancy that has worked with brands several famous brands and agencies. The firm now has offices in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. Last year, the company launched a new cryptocurrency division “that now works with the WAX blockchain as well as Magnetic, a top crypto investment fund,” Forbes says.
Sneh Kadakia, 35, of Princeton, New Jersey, founder, from HERE, which helps turn empty retail space into flexible offices. The company has two locations in suburban New Jersey, and rents flex desks for $8 an hour, $40 for the day, as well as a personal pod for $84 per day.
Ameet Kallarackal, 25, of Boston, Massachusetts, co-founder, Fisherman, which let restaurants build a webpage in mere minutes. “Fisherman hooked an $8 million valuation during its last venture round,” Forbes says.
Asha Kangralkar, 43, of Plano, Texas, co-founder, AVACRAFT, producers of quality, price-conscious culinary must-haves, which she co-founded in 2015 with her husband Vivek, also 43. Last October, Avacraft was endorsed by Jessica Alba on GMA and featured on local Amazon delivery vans. According to Forbes, “the company has nearly doubled since inception, growing to 60,000 customers and booking $2 million in revenue for 2020.”
Ammad Khan, 46, of Pleasanton, California, co-founder, IrisVision, a smart headset that helps people with impaired vision to see clearly. IrisVision has funding from the National Eye Institute and inked partnerships with Samsung and the SEVA Foundation.
Atul Kumar, 48, of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, founder, ClikSource, a HR technology company that uses artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence to connect employers with candidates.
Prem Kumar, 37, of Seattle, Washington, co-founder, HumanlyHR, which engages with and screens every job candidate who comes to a company’s job pages and social media. Kumar told Forbes that this method increases diverse hires. “Humanly currently has $1.1 million in funding, and 26 companies and more than 300,000 job candidates.
Rajan Kumar, 29, of Bloomington, Indiana, founder, Ateios, which creates customizable flexible batteries10 times faster than existing manufacturers with one-third the amount of capital.
Nehal Madhani, 36, of New York, founder, Alt Legal, a trademark docketing software launched in 2013. Madhani, a child of immigrants, now leads a team of more than 20 and serves about 850 law firms and companies.
Manasa Mantravadi, 38, of Indianapolis, Indiana, founder, AHIMSA, a colorful stainless steel line of tableware for kids which started as a text message chain between fellow pediatrician moms discussing chemicals in plastics. “With celebrity fans like Jessica Alba, Mayim Bialik, and Eva Longoria, Mantravadi’s company is projecting sales of $1.1 million this year,” Forbes says.
Avani Modi Sarkar, 37, of Edison, co-founder, Modi Toys, a children’s brand of toys and books rooted in Hinduism. She and her brother launched the company in 2018 on $25,000 seed capital, when they realized children’s toys and books lacked a diversity of race, culture and faith.
Deepica Mutyala, 32, of Los Angeles, California, founder, Live Tinted, a community-driven beauty brand that advocates for multicultural representation in the cosmetic industry. “In 2019, Live Tinted instantly sold out and amassed a 10,000-person waiting list for its first product, a vegan and cruelty-free multi-use color corrector called Huestick,” according to Forbes.
Ananya Pani, 45, of Middletown, Delaware, founder, Adaptive US, which help professionals get the core credentials and skills they need to become business analysts and move ahead in their careers. With its programs and money-back guarantee, Pani told Forbes that “the company is on track to increase revenues to around $750,000 this year, up from $495,000 in 2020.”
Jinesh Patel, 33, of Charlestown, Massachusetts, co-founder, UptimeHealth, which gives any outpatient facility, big or small, the resource of their own quality control department. UptimeHealth has raised nearly $2 million in seed funding to date.
Milan Patel, 56, Tucson, Arizona, co-founder, PathogenDx, a biotechnology company that develops, manufactures and commercializes pathogen testing technology. The company supplies equipment and testing kits to more than 100 labs. Established in 2014, PathogenDx’s technology can identify and detect up to 50 pathogens all in a single test.
Mona Patel, 40, of Tampa Florida, founder, radXai and CareFirst Imaging, which is developing AI to help radiologists. Patel moved from India to the U.S. in 2003 and founded her first company just three years later. “Since then, she has emerged as an 8x entrepreneur, starting ventures in industries ranging from real estate to healthcare,” according to Forbes.
Viral Patel, 41, of New York, founder, Radish Health, which aims to solve the cost, efficiency, and experience issues in the primary care medical system, by tackling the complexities of the system for its clients. The organization has served nearly 3,000 clients and has helped local governments reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Ritwik Pavan, 23, of Raleigh, North Carolina, co-founder, Linker Logic Technologies, which uses solar-powered wireless cameras, computer vision, and data analytics to help cities reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions while providing real-time parking data for citizens. The company has won government contracts with seven cities and raised $1.3 million in funding.
Deepika Pillai, 33, of Frisco, Texas, founder, Kula Village, an online marketplace for multicultural products–from books and toys to clothing and jewelry. Forbes says Kula Village “works with 50 sellers and has attracted more than 20,000 users without having taken any outside funding.”
Noreen Rana, 30, of Phoenix, Arizona, founder, Viable Research Management, which facilitates and manages trials with pharmaceutical companies, including a recent pivot to aid in Covid-19 research. Since 2018, VRM has treated thousands of patients and amassed seven-figure revenues.
John Rizvi, 50, of Coral Springs, Florida, founder, The Patent Professor, which helps inventors navigate the tricky waters of patent and trademark law. Rizvi has written books and helped numerous entrepreneurs scale their intellectual property into successful brands.
Yash Sabharwal, 51, of Austin, Texas, co-founder, CherryCircle Software which aims to redefine how manufacturing processes are managed for drug products to accelerate therapies to patients at lower costs.
Akhila Satish, 31, of New York, founder, Meseekna, which works with executives and their teams at companies and agencies to understand their decision making and metacognition (the “how” of thinking). Satish is also the executive director of The Science Runway, a nonprofit that pipelines some 500 girls annually into possible careers in the life sciences, and also founded CyberDoctor, a healthcare communications company, before stepping away to attend to Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
Prashant Sharma, 43, of San Ramon, California, co-founder, Secuvy, a cloud platform that uses artificial intelligence to automatically ensure companies are in compliance with global privacy laws.
Eesha Sheikh, 30, Richardson, Colorado, founder, Playpal, which helps people to pursue their healthcare goals by gamifying them. Forbes says Playpal’s “app uses machine learning to help personalize health recommendations for its users, then offers rewards for hitting certain goals, both within the internal game of the app as well as external rewards. The company has raised around $ 2 million so far.”
Rahul Sidhu, 32, of Redondo Beach, California, co-founder, SPIDR Tech, is trying to solve building bridges between the community and law enforcement. Its customer service infrastructure is currently used by 46 agencies in North America.
Pomy Singh, 32, of Jacksonville, Florida, co-founder, HipTen, a company providing insurance companies with Salesforce customer relationship management implementation and services. Singh told Forbes that her company is “100% women-owned, and its development team is 50% women.”
Dev Singh, 45, of Chicago, Illinois, is the founder, AiRo Digital Labs. A portmanteau of “AI” and “Robotics,” the company was set up to help introduce Digital 2.0 innovations to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries and was recently valued at $25 million.
Shivika Sinha, 36, of San Francisco, California, founder, Veneka, a wardrobe styling service featuring the world’s most sustainable, ethical and cruelty-free brands. Clients can consult with personal stylists to receive a “capsule” of seven to 10 styles per order, creating 25 to 50 outfits.
Raj Tut, 30, of O’Fallon, Illinois, founder, Gateway Multifamily Group, which has grown from a single trailer home into a residential property group with $55 million worth of real estate.
Geeta Verma, 54, Denver, Colorado, founder, LivedX an online platform that translates peoples’ life experiences into credentials by leveraging machine learning technology. With 1,000-plus users, LivedX helps them make a portfolio of valuable skills that are recognized by educational institutions and companies.