Purushothaman Gempuraj wanted independence and the satisfaction of doing what he wanted to do.

Books shaped my thinking. My father, an entrepreneur, would bring home books on self-development. I read these through high school and UG. I preferred books about successful people, their values and working styles to college texts. One book I value greatly is Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill. It told me of the importance of absolute self-belief, persistence, the wonders of a very strong mindset and dreaming big. It inspired me to believe I could indeed do something outstanding.

Unique culture

I joined IIT-M in 2009 to pursue MS in Biotechnology. Under Prof. D. Karunagaran, I did research in signalling and biology of cancer cells. The unique culture of IIT-M gave me access to plentiful resources across academic disciplines. I read, discussed bio-tech possibilities, attended inspiring lectures by eminent personalities. All this got me figuring out better and futuristic technologies. My time at IIT-M was a turning-point. I then knew I would be an inventor-entrepreneur. I wanted the independence and the satisfaction of doing what I wanted to. Starting a company at that age awards one the benefits of intense energy and creativity to develop good products. If I failed, I would still be valued for my managerial experience by large corporates. My parents' support for entrepreneurship was unconditional.

My team is working on a portable point-of-care diagnostic device suitable for the Indian market, especially rural areas where lab facilities are scarce. It is simple enough to be operated, even without technical skills. It can measure a wide range of target molecules within a few minutes. Our diagnostic device should be useful for medical professionals working in resource-poor settings.

Support scheme

The Office of Alumni Affairs and the Department of Biotechnology of IIT-M jointly introduced the “Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Support Scheme” sponsored by Dr. Shrikumar Suryanarayan to support students and fresh bio-tech graduates with aspirations to entrepreneurship. Professor Karunagaran graciously extended his support to our proposal. This scheme provides a seed funding of Rs. 10 lakh and access to departmental facilities for three years. We got support from IIT-M’s C-TIDES business incubator as well. We have registered our company as “Purius Nanosystems Private Limited”.

This kind of funding is vital for a start-up. Product development and commercialisation takes at least two years. Risk-capital is hard to get, and is the main reason aspirants give up their dreams even before starting. In India, there are no venture capitalists, no angel investors for start-ups developing technology products. Financial cushioning is crucial for novice entrepreneurs with very little knowledge of starting and running a company. It helps boost their confidence.

Steve Jobs is my inspiration. His craving for being extraordinary and developing life-changing products at Apple taught us to pursue new methods of diagnostics to improve the healthcare scenario in India. My dream is to build a great healthcare company which understands and satisfies the real needs of the common man. Our motto is: Live Great. We hope to be game-changers.

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