Introduction

About

Sickle Innovations is a farming solutions company focused on improving conventional farming practices through design intervention. We work closely with farming communities and offer unique solutions based on their requirements.

About

The seeds for Sickle Innovations were sown at the Indian Institute of Science and the company, founded in 2013, was established in 2014 with the gracious support of IIM Ahmedabad’s business incubator, Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE).

Our Vision

At Sickle Innovations, we strive to become the trusted companion for farmers and labourers across India; doing our bit to help make farming profitable and financially sustainable.

Our Mission

Develop innovative mechanisation solutions to improve conventional farming practices through Design-Thinking.

Our Approach

On India’s micro-farms, we feel that problems related to non-availability of farm labour, low profits, labour drudgery are all equally solvable with prudent design and technology intervention. Our design approach is human-centred and we are committed to maintaining the highest standards; constantly and comprehensively evolving our field-tested design prototypes.

Designing and developing products that provide economic farming solutions for micro-farms make up our core focus.

Products

Our first offering is a handheld cotton-harvesting machine. This machine has been developed for Indian farm conditions and the technology is patented. We are also designing a milking machine for a leading dairy equipment manufacturer.

Products

For our portfolio website please visit www.hectare.in

Fruit Picking Machine

Be it king of all fruits, Mango or our very special Apple, almost all the fruits in our country are harvested manually. Mangoes are generally harvested using a stick with a basket on its one end. Mangoes are trapped in the basket and pulled down. This process is tedious and damages the fruit. When a mango is pulled from the tree, stem generally breaks from the nearest part from the mango, leaving a wound developed by sap which comes out during pulling.
We have developed a mango harvesting machine which shears the mango stem and transport is safely to ground without making any damage to the fruit. This product is already commercialised and various versions are being rolled out with the brand name Hectare.

Cotton Picking Machine

Though the second largest cotton producer globally, India faces many challenges in cotton cultivation, particularly in cotton picking which involves manual labour and accounts for one-fifth of total costs incurred. Intensive labour leads to health problems amongst labourers due to continuous stoop and injuries resulting in attrition. As a result, labour wages have increased, discouraging farmers to choose cotton crops.Sickle Innovations have developed a handheld machine with a patented technology that can double labourer efficiency and enhance farmer incomes by at least 50%. The ergonomic design ensures minimum stoop and entirely eliminates injuries from cotton bur pricks caused by handpicking.
The cotton harvesting using our design and quality of lint harvested by our machine was tested at one of India’s largest textile manufacturers. A pilot with 100 machines is being planned for the coming harvesting season. Based on user needs, we are also developing a self-powered fully automatic cotton harvesting machine.

Milking Machine

India is the world’s largest producer of milk, and has a bovine population three times larger than the United States of America, the second largest producer of milk. This clearly shows that milk production per cow/ buffalo in India is lower than other countries. Large numbers of bovine mean more labour required for milking since milking is done manually. Foreign machines are being imported but they are only designed for their parent country environments and cow breeds. These machines are not apt for Indian local desi breeds and are highly priced. The machines are thus not being used to their full potential as they are not designed for the local scenario.

Sickle has partnered with a leading dairy equipment corporate to design a customised milking machine that caters specifically to India’s bovines.

 

People

Everyone at Sickle is passionate to work for the farming community. Get to know more about our team members and advisors.

People

 

Team

 

I'm here because this is everything for me

Nitin Gupta
Core Member

Nitin is a Product Design graduate from the Indian Institute of Science. Upon graduating in 2013 he founded Sickle Innovations. After completing his Mechanical Engineering in 2008, Nitin was a Scientist at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for three years. His interests span arts, science and sport. He is an active cyclist and biker. He belongs to a town primarily driven by agriculture, and at Sickle, brings his experience to understand users’ needs in a better way.

I want to work on real life problems

Vinay Reddy
Core Member

Vinay was born into a farming family. He graduated in Product Design from the Indian Institute of Science in 2012 and holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Karnataka. He worked for Ashok Leyland briefly before quitting to pursue his passion for Product Design. His areas of interest include solar energy, agriculture, human factors, concept and mechanism design. He loves photography and Nature.

I am here because I believe in change

Harshad Sambamurthy
Core member

Born in Chennai, Harshad grew up in Singapore and Geneva, and graduated with a BSc. (Hons) in Sustainable Development from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. His deep-rooted interest in environmental sustainability and social development led him to join Sickle Innovations.

Prior to joining Sickle, Harshad was a Relationship Manager at IIM Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE). Outside the work environment he is a guitarist, rapper and Nature lover.

How'd we take the products to the end users

Hijaaz Ali Raza
Core member

Hijaaz belongs to a business family from Kozhikode, Kerala. After having completed his Mechanical Engineering from Cardiff University, UK he worked for Mercedes as a trainee engineer for a year. To follow his interests in finance, he pursued a Master’s in Business Administration from SIBM, Pune graduating in 2014. He was a Project Associate at IIM Ahmedabad’s business incubator- Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) before joining Sickle Innovations. He is a footballer, enjoys travelling and reading.

I love to solve challenges

Akshay Randad
Product Designer

Akshay recently completed his B. Tech. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in management from IIT Gandhinagar. He was a GE Foundation Scholar Leader (cohort of 2013) and a summer intern at University of Washington in 2014. He likes to get involved in solving problems concerning the masses of the country. In this vein, he initiated the programme ‘Aplomb’ in 2013 in his hometown to address problems students residing in rural areas face. A percussionist with a penchant for dramatics, do catch him if you would like to chat on Product Design or Nanotechnology.

Design is what I love

Satya Krishna Ammu
Product Designer

Satya completed his bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from RVCE in 2014 and worked for a brief period of time at Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India PVt Ltd (HMSI). He joined Sickle Innovations because he strongly identifies with its mission to help farmers and it’s human centered approach. He is passionate about product design and manufacturing and his areas of interests include sustainable manufacturing and development. He is also an ardent debater and loves backpacking.

Love to work from IDEA to IMPLEMENTATION

Valay Patel
Product Designer

Valay is a mechanical (CAD/CAM) graduate from Nirma University. As a part of his curriculum, he interned for one year at the Space Applications Centre (ISRO). After graduating in 2015, he joined Sickle Innovations. He carries a bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering. His areas of interest are design, automation and robotics. He enjoys travelling and reading.

I'm here to be 'the change'

Harman Singh
Product Designer

Harman graduated in Agricultural Engineering from Punjab Agricultural University in 2015. As his father is a Central Government employee, he has travelled across most of India. Being an Agricultural Engineer has helped him understand and correlate modern day agricultural problems to its very core. He joined Sickle Innovations because he believes that innovative thinking is needed for bettering Indian agriculture in today’s world. His areas of interest are farm machinery, product design, prototyping and testing. He likes to read, watch movies, travel and play the drums.

Serve those who serve us

Vivek C
Design Intern

Born in Bangalore, Vivek is a graduate in the field of mechanical engineering from M.S.Ramaiah Institute of technology, Bangalore. His interests are engineering design, automobile technology, alternate energy sources and hybrid systems. He believes firmly in innovation being the child of imagination and creativity, he joined sickle to contribute to the company’s realisation of its vision, which he hails. He enjoys cartooning, playing football and running.

I'm here to learn and implement

Maneka Goyal
Product Designer

Maneka graduated as an Agriculture Engineer from Punjab Agricultural University in 2014 and is now pursuing her M.Tech in Food Technology and Management from the National Institute of Food Technology and Management (NIFTEM). She joined Sickle Innovations in order to understand the problems existing at the grass-root level and reduce the gap between farm mechanisation and farmers. Her areas of interest are farm mechanisation and product development. She loves to dance and play basketball.

I'm here to be 'the change'

Shanthmurthy MG
Design Intern

Born to an agricultural family, Shanthmurthy has always enjoyed working in the field. He is currently pursuing bachelors in mechanical engineering at R V College of engineering, He firmly believes in the advent of engineering & technology for improvising the farming methods. He worked as the Project Manager and Captain of TEAM CHIMERA – a research club working on hybrid technologies for pollution free environment. He is a tech geek who is equally passionate about thought provoking movies and TV shows. His innate desire to contribute his technical acumen to Agriculture and farming has landed him at the doors of Sickle innovations.

I'm here to learn and implement

Eshwarmurthy T
Design Intern

Eshwarmurthy T is a 4th year student of the department of Mechanical engineering at R. V. C. E Bangalore. He is part of a student R&D project called Ashwa Racing, where he strengthened his fundamentals in automotive and mechanical engineering. His primary interests are design and product development. He is currently an intern at sickle innovations. This opportunity is helping him to sharpen his skills with the human centered design approach.

 

 

 Advisory Board

 

I make sure they develop products which make business sense

Hemendra Mathur
Advisor

Hemendra Mathur is Managing Director at SEAF India Investment Advisors. He has over 20 years of experience in private equity, management consulting and banking industry in India, South Asia, South East Asia, Europe and USA. He is graduate from IIMA 1996 batch. Mr Hemendra advises Sickle on new business opportunities and new market domains.

They have to take the innovation to the user, that is why I'm here

Dr C V Natraj
Advisor

Dr. Natraj holds a postdoctorate in the field of Chemistry. He has received his education from the top universities of the world and was Director of Research at Hindustan Lever Limited. Later, he headed Unilever as Senior Vice President for nearly ten years. Dr. Natraj advises Sickle on strategy and business planning. He has been a key driving force in foundation of the company.

I make sure that they follow the complete design process

Dr Dibakar Sen
Advisor

Dr. Dibakar Sen is one the most celebrated personalities at the Indian Institute of Science. He is associated with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing at IISc and has served at the Indian Space Research Organisation and Steel Authority of India Limited in the past. At Sickle, he monitors and controls all aspects related to product design.

Career

We are expanding our design team and are looking for candidates who share our vision and passion for working on ground level problems faced by farming communities. If you share such a vision, we would love to hear from you.

Career

PRODUCT DESIGNER

Responsible for concept generation to rapid prototyping using a human-centered design approach. 1-2 years of experience is preferred. Candidate should be ready to work in rural communities for the initial phases of product development.

TRAINEE ENGINEER

Fresh engineer graduates who are looking for valuable practical experience and exposure in product development. Preference will be given to mechanical, production or industrial engineers.

Blog & News

Recent media coverage on Sickle Innovations.
We are also in the midst of starting a blog, so watch this space for more information coming your way soon!

Sickle at Valley

Sickle Innovations was selected to represent India as one of the country’s top-30 startups at the ‘Indo-US Startup Konnect’ Conference in Silicon Valley between the 26th and 27th of September 2015 co-organised by the Prime Minister’s Office. PM Narendra Modi was to attend the event and this was a huge opportunity for the company and promised to provide us with immense exposure.

From Delhi, I departed for San Francisco (via Frankfurt) on the 24th of September. After a comfortable journey, I reached late afternoon, checked-in to my hotel and had a chance to interact with my fellow colleagues before proceeding for dinner. Over spicy Thai treats, I met with a representative from a large agri fund. Upon sharing Sickle’s progress with him, he provided me with some very useful feedback and input on our immediate plans going forward.

Dinner talk complete and appetite well satiated, I retired to my room jet-lagged.

The following day, the CIIE team (Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship) conducted a pitching workshop for all participating startups. After presenting my pitch, I made a few iterations based on the feedback given. We had a bit of free time after this and I decided to explore the sights and sounds of the area and the indoor wonder that is Walmart.

Still jet-lagged, an afternoon nap was most welcome. The day ended with a chilled beer and a sumptuous Mexican bean burrito.

On the 27th, the day of the event, and of PM Modi’s visit to Santa Clara, we departed the hotel early on a magnificent (and excessively large) bus. The journey was lengthier than expected due to a marathon at the time. Reaching the venue, I set-up our stall. We practiced pitches a few times before taking to the stage.

The Prime Minister arrived amidst a sea of security personnel and a clamour of patriotic brouhaha. A group photo (which we had already choreographed at great length) was snapped and the PM later made his rounds around the stalls. Once he had left, the public were allowed to enter. They seemed to engulf the hall like a torrential flood!

My colleague’s brother is a student at UC Berkeley and I caught up with him after the event. He helped me on my pitch and we had a good laugh over a hot coffee. I also met a fellow alumnus of IISc. who was a faculty member at UC Berkeley.

PM Modi addressed an audience that afternoon and I had tickets. The environment was enjoyable, at times boisterous, with shouts and hoots of agreement from the majority Indian throng. Surprisingly, there were a lot of empty seats. Personally, I found the speech to be fairly underwhelming. I paid more attention to the introductory dance performances and Kailash Kher’s booming voice!

The ‘big day’ ended and I was back to the comforts of my bed as a helpless victim of fatigue.

I drove 110 miles to UC Davis the next morning, one of the leading agri-universities in the world. Reaching the agri-engineering school, I met the head of department. One thing I learnt was that there was no real need to email beforehand and schedule a meeting. Knocking at the door and requesting for 2 minutes was far simpler and more likely to receive a favourable response! I also interacted with members of the horticulture department, which shed some light on potential avenues Sickle could engage in.

I returned to Palo Alto later that evening and headed for the airport. My next stop was Boston.

That morning in Boston, (the hub for healthcare startups), I went along with TiE Boston to the Boston Mayor’s office and to the Massachusetts State Governor’s office. We interacted with the Lt. Governor as well. Funnily enough, the sleek security that boasted men and women in dark suits and shades reminded me of the movies.

After this, we headed over to MIT’s TATA Centre. I met with a Professor who works in the agri-sector in India and with a PhD. student (from IIT Delhi) working in dairy.

On my final day, I met with a representative from ‘Khet Works’, an MIT startup working on solar-powered pumps. A professor who works in precision farming made time for me and I briefed him on Sickle’s milking machine. I thereafter met a senior representative of the TATA center at MIT. Our meeting was cordial and he also mentioned that he would be able to connect us with a few relevant individuals/ organisations.

My day (and brief US sojourn) ended with a visit to the MIT museum (where no amount of self-resistance proved strong enough to the marvels on offer at the souvenir shop) before heading to the airport for my flight back to India.

Nitin Gupta
Founder & CEO

Contact Us

Have any queries? Or are you intrigued enough to meet us in person?
We won’t bite! Do drop us a line and we would be happy to get in touch.

Contact Us

Sickle Innovations Private Limited
CIIE Building, Indian Institute of Management (IIMA)
380015 Ahmedabad India