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The Beginnings of an Innovative Entreprenurial Journey

In April of 2002, Dr. A. K. Sengupta, Managing Director of the Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT), an industrial interface organization of IIT, India’s Leading Institute of Technology, gave a talk on the prospects of entrepreneurship as an alternative career option.

Post Dr. Sengupta’s call to action, the merits of entrepreneurship as an alternative career option were hotly debated along campus corridors and over email among the attendees. Over time, a group of seven students and five of their professors decided to start a company called KritiKal Solutions. The seven students were Anoop Prabhu, Ashwani Gautam, Dipinder Sekhon, Jatin Sharma, Nishant Sharma, Nishant Sharma (yes, there were two founders with the same name) and Soumyadeb Mitra. The five faculty members who decided to work with KritiKal were Prof. Anshul Kumar, Prof. B.N. Jain, Prof. M. Balakrishanan, Prof. Prem Kalra and Prof. Subhashis Banerjee. All founders (students and faculty) were from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT-Delhi.

This was not another run-of-the-mill idea or venture. Instead of building a web application or a software product, they chose to develop cutting-edge technologies that would transform the future. The R&D ethos was always a part of the corporate DNA at KritiKal. The decision to initially focus on Computer Vision and Embedded Systems within this vision was largely driven by the personal and professional interests of the founders of KritiKal. In August of 2002, KritiKal became the first student-faculty led technology startup to have successfully incubated from within IIT-Delhi. The founders’ vision – “Creations for Tomorrow” – encapsulated a two-point agenda – to build a company that produces cutting-edge technology products through disruptive innovations, and a company that effectively leverages the transfer of technology from academia to the industry.
In addition to developing its own products and compiling rich store of its own license-able intellectual property, KritiKal has in the last 19 years, been responsible for over 60 product realizations. It has worked with over 300 customers in North America, Europe, India and Southeast Asia. KritiKal’s Team of highly experienced Engineers, Developers & Innovators now numbers over 173. In contrast to in-house R&D teams (many of our clients do have internal R&D teams), KritiKal’s Innovators get to work on projects across different industry verticals. They bring those insights into the ideation process naturally fostering “out-of-the-box” thinking that is so critical to successful innovation. Our deep ties and work with IIT academia keeps us on the cutting-edge (or in some cases the bleeding-edge) of the latest scientific thinking and emerging technology frontiers.