Malav is a young Indian entrepreneur who founded LifeCradle, a start-up aimed at making cost-effective cardboard incubators specifically designed for developing countries. The project was presented at a United Nations symposium in Rome and led Malav onto Forbes “30 Under 30” 2017 list in Europe and India
“Looking at the needs of the developed world coming from a developing nation gave a whole new perspective to my work.”
What do you consider your nationality to be?
I was born and raised in India. I came to London in 2014 to study Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) at Royal College of Art and Imperial College of London.
Why did you choose London?
I have come to London purely because of my field of study. As a product designer I wanted to study the engineering aspect of product development and IDE was one of the best courses bridging the gap between design and engineering.
After finishing my masters my goal was to have a start-up and London is a major hub of innovation, providing entrepreneurs with connections, exposure and resources.
Do you remember any personal challenge in adapting to the local culture?
Yes. Saying ‘Sorry’, ‘Please’ and ‘Thank-you’ every time. Being extra kind even when it is not needed. Let’s say I came from a society where we don’t expect the other person to be extra polite and it also does not mean that it is rude. Especially, when good friends expect to say ‘Sorry’ and ‘Please’, this was not something I was used to.
Was there any key encounter that helped you, personally or professionally?
There are many Indians in UK and when I came here I stayed up as a paying guest with an Indian couple who helped me throughout two years of my studies, especially with Indian food.
Do you think your professional experience would have been the same if you stayed in your country of origin?
Definitely not. As an entrepreneur my start-ups would have been at a completely different stage. The UK have provided me with many big opportunities and exposure which I might not have got anywhere else. For example, forming a company, getting patent filed and acquiring funding was way faster and easier here than it would have been elsewhere.
How do your origins inspire your work?
Looking at the needs of the developed world coming from a developing nation gave a whole new perspective to my work. For example, my startup LifeCradle that makes cost-effective cardboard incubators are specifically designed for developing and under-developed countries. While working here I always remembered the problems faced by people back home.
What about the local influence?
There are systems and infrastructure here that are tried, tested and proven to be working. After knowing the types of facilities available I tried to implement them in my work in a way that can create an impact back in the developing world. With LifeCradle the inspiration came from Finnish Baby boxes, provided to each child born in Finland with basic supplies for the first 6 months leading to a lower infant mortality rate in that country.
How is your work usually received by local people? Do you have any specific story?
My work is received very positively here. In fact, LifeCradle was one of the winner at a Pitch@Palace competition hosted by HRH The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, at Oxford Biostars, at Vatican Youth Symposium by United Nations in Italy and it also helped me get into Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe and India list of 2017. I think local people here have an eye for social innovation and they understand the urge and need of such products that helps the society.
What message would you want to share to British people who don’t know your work yet?
To help and encourage more social enterprises that are trying to bring changes in the lives of people and fulfilling their needs.
What are your plans for the future?
My goals are to channel my entrepreneurial spirit into developing a system of sustainable and affordable healthcare at the grassroots, thus giving back to the society.
Where is home?
Ahmedabad, India – If I get an opportunity, I would love to settle down there.
What words/ideas do you associate with ‘Foreigner’?
Different culture, Distance, Strange, Adventure and Exciting.