Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nuziveedu Seeds conferred BioAgri Company of the Year 2013 Award

New Delhi: Nuziveedu Seeds Limited, the largest Indian Seeds company has been conferred with BioAgri Company of the year Award 2013 at the 11th Annual Biospectrum-ABLE Awards. Mr. Venkat Rao, Sr. Vice President, Nuziveedu Seeds received the award on behalf of the Company at a glittering ceremony held in Bengaluru. This is the fifth time Nuziveedu Seeds has won this prestigious award and consecutively won it for the fourth time.

The Biospectrum-ABLE Awards, being among the most credible recognition platforms for Indian biotech and agriculture industry were conferred on the basis of Industry Survey conducted by BioSpectrum along with Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises - ABLE in June-July 2013.

Speaking about the prestigious award, Mr. Mandava Prabhakar Rao, Chairman and Managing Director, Nuziveedu Seeds said “we are humbled to have received BioAgri-ABLE Company of the Year Award for 2013. This award, for the fourth consecutive year, acknowledges our team’s commitment towards providing the farmers with the best quality seeds time and again. In pursuit of this task, we have introduced a new generation cotton hybrid ‘Bhakti BG II’ last year, which has given the best results to the farmers this season. Nuziveedu Seeds has been constantly focusing on producing the seeds which yield higher output to the farmers.”

Nuziveedu Seeds offers more than 340 hybrid seeds and varieties of 30 field crops and vegetables and its modern technologies to Indian farmers through its extensive sales and distribution network in 17 states across India. With strong R&D capabilities and one of the largest germplasms in the country, company produces and markets other field crops like Maize, Paddy Sunflower, Sorghum, Pearmillet and vegetable crops. Nuziveedu Seeds’ marketing team conducts farmer education programs on new agronomic practices to increase productivity. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ram Koganti remains grateful for chance to compete in national bee

When most eighth-graders were preparing for or celebrating graduation in May, Ram Koganti was in Washington, D.C., competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
It literally was seventh months ago, but not to Koganti.
"It seems like forever. I've been so busy lately. I have high school to worry about," the Ottawa resident said while on a study break from finals.
In May, Koganti was in his final year attending Wallace Grade School northwest of Ottawa. His advancement to the national bee began in February, when he took first place at the La Salle County Spelling Bee. One month later, he captured the Peoria Journal Star Grand Final Spelling Bee. The latter win earned him a spot in the national bee.
To be a top competitive speller, one has to study every day. But since the national bee is open only to middle school students, the 14-year-old Koganti no longer has to study spelling.
"It frees time up to do other things," he said.
A freshman at Ottawa Township High School, Koganti is in the Chess Club and plans to play tennis in the spring.
"High school is fine. I'm enjoying it," he said. "It was a big change the first couple of days, but hopefully you get used to it."
Koganti may not think much about the spelling bee, but it's worth taking a look back.
For a couple of years, he aspired to win the county bee, and finally did so Feb. 16, correctly spelling "sturgeon" and narrowly beating Owen Stoneking, of Waltham Elementary School in Utica.
The Peoria bee, exactly one month later, was more rigorous. After 31 rounds of competition on a Saturday, Koganti — donning the same "lucky" Navy blue Wallace Class of 2013 T-shirt he wore at the county bee — correctly spelled "outrageous" to finish ahead of runner-up John Offutt, of Mossville Elementary School, just north of Peoria.
"It was actually kind of fun. John and I competed together for a long time, and it was fun to see what kind of words we got," Koganti said in a March 18 Times article.
He was excited to be going to Washington, and so were students and staff at Wallace.
"Ram was a kid everyone in the building liked and respected, and, frankly, it was no surprise he got that far. With his kind of work ethic, you're bound to have that success," said Toby Coates, Wallace principal.
The national bee awaited contestants with a new rule — for the first time, vocabulary was included in the competition. In preliminary vocabulary competition, he incorrectly identified the word "perfidy" as "an instance of betrayal." The correct answer was "a humorous or satirical imitation."
Television cameras awaited Koganti the next day, and he admitted he was a little nervous.
"I went up to the podium and thought, "I'm on national TV. I better not mess this up,' " he recalled.
Koganti didn't. He correctly spelled "vivace" — a word meaning "in a lively or vivacious manner." In the afternoon, he correctly spelled "guariba," the Latin term for a brown howler monkey (also the name of a city in Brazil).
He also correctly answered another vocabulary question by completing the question: "If a plant is described as tubulifloral, it:" which he did with "... has hollow, elongated flowers."
Back at Wallace, televised competition could not be aired. Koganti's mother, Usha, texted Coates and reported her son's progress. The principal updated results through the school's all-call system.
As well as Koganti did on the second day of competition, he did not make it to the next day's final round.
"Ram didn't miss a single word onstage. But when they factored in the vocabulary, he didn't advance," Coates said.
Koganti was not disappointed in the outcome.
"I always have been glad to get where I am. It would've been nice, but I don't need that," he said. "I was pretty driven, but I'd rather look back on it with a happy feeling than be disappointed."
The national bee may be far from Koganti's mind, but he will not forget the support he received.
"I'm thankful for all the people of Ottawa and Wallace who really helped. I'd like to thank them for that," he said.
Son of Ramesh and Usha, a family practitioner, Ram is thinking of becoming an oncologist, which involves diagnosing cancer. He has been accepted at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, and expects to go there next year. Ram's brother, Vivek, graduated from IMSA last year and now attends the University of Illinois.
High school and oncology are a long way from spelling bees, but Koganti is grateful for the experience.
"It helped me become a better speller, but it was a good start to learning how to study and apply yourself. It was good motivation," he said.
Fortunate to find Ram — and his story
There are plenty of ways to find a good newspaper story.
Sometimes it's discovered through research and digging. It can land on a reporter's lap during a meeting. Or one can get a little lucky.
Last March, I attended the Class 3A-4A boys basketball state finals at Carver Arena in Peoria. The tournament ended at about 10:30 p.m. on a Saturday, and rather than drive back to La Salle County, I reserved a motel room and spent the night in nearby Morton.
The following morning, I bought a copy of the Peoria Journal Star — something I do no more than twice a year — with the intent of checking coverage of the tournament I'd watched the previous day. While looking in the news section, I came across the headline "Ottawa eighth-grader Ram Koganti is Grand Final Bee champion."
Shortly after driving back home, I went into the office and searched for the Koganti family's phone number. After a couple of calls I was speaking to Ram, who politely recounted his big day winning the Journal Star spelling bee.
"I was numb at first, then it dawned on me later. I couldn't believe I did it," he said that Sunday morning. Koganti gave me enough information to warrant a front-page story in the following day's Times.
What the Wallace Grade School student did was become the best speller among thousands of students in counties surrounding Peoria. Exactly one month earlier, he had won the La Salle County Spelling Bee in Ottawa. And about two months later, he celebrated his junior high graduation by competing at the national spelling bee in Washington, D.C.
Had I not bought the paper that day, would The Times be able to tell Koganti's story so soon? I don't know; Sunday is not a normal business day, and word might not have reached us in time for Monday's edition.

Yet I do know two things: It's been fun interviewing Koganti, and I never will leave Peoria without picking up a newspaper.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

US award for ophthalmologist Gullapalli Nageswara Rao

Gullapalli Nageswara Rao has been honoured with the `Outstanding humanitarian service award’ by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. 

The founder and Chairman of the Hyderabad-based, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Rao has been recognised for the eye care delivery model which he created with the Institute and his contributions to prevention of blindness globally. 

The award was presented to Rao at the Academy’s annual meeting in New Orleans, US on November 19, a press release from the Institute said. 

LVPEI’s model of Eye care, represented by a pyramid, emphasizes the creation of sustainable permanent facilities within communities, staffed and managed by locally trained human resource, and linked effectively with successively higher levels of care. 

Rao was also the recipient of "International Prevention of Blindness Award" of the Academy earlier. He established the Institute in 1986-87 as a not-for-profit, non-government one.

India-Born Satya Nadella Leads Microsoft CEO Race: Report

WASHINGTON: The chase for Microsoft's CEO has seen many business chiefs enter and exit the potential list, except the software maker's cloud computing executive Satya Nadella, who has reportedly held his candidature in the lead position.

As Steve Ballmer takes bow out of the company, potential candidatures for his chair included Ford's Alan Mulally, Qualcomm COO Steve Mollenkopf and Nokia's former executive president Stephen Elop.

According to TechCrunch, Indian-origin Satya Nadella has managed to remain a leading candidate, as others fell in the stakes.

Nadella currently handles the cloud computing, and his prowess in less-proven with consumers, but his co-competitors such as Mulally who is not a technologist, gives the 44-year old a benefit of doubt for not having a thing about phones.

Vijayawada-based agri-tech startup Eruvaka raises Series A funding from Omnivore Partners

Eruvaka is Omnivore’s seventh investment in the country and the third this year.

Vijayawada-based Eruvaka Technologies Pvt Ltd, which makes on-farm diagnostic equipment for aquaculture farmers besides providing a analytics platform to help farmers,  has secured an undisclosed amount in a Series A round of funding from Omnivore Partners, an early-stage VC investor focusing on agriculture & food technology companies in India.

The capital raised from this round will be used to hire more people in its sales team and increase its reach. A portion of the fund will also go towards its R&D efforts to create new products, including optimisation of seed consumption.

“Omnivore Partners led a Series A financing in Eruvaka in September this year for a significant minority stake,” Omnivore’s venture partner Mark Kahn told.

He did not disclose the investment amount but the fund typically invests between $0.5 million and $2.5 million initially and $4-5million over the life of its portfolio companies.

Eruvaka was founded in October last year by Sreeram Raavi, an alumnus of Koneru Lakshmaiah College of Engineering (Andhra Pradesh). Prior to Eruvaka, he worked at Centillium Communications where he designed high performance semiconductor solutions for broadband access networks.

The firm manufactures on-farm diagnostic equipment which integrates sensors with decision tools for low-priced aquaculture monitoring and automation. It allows aquaculture farmers to actively monitor pond parameters and remotely control automated equipment (for instance, aerators and feeders). This can reduce cultivation risk, increase feed efficiency and allows for higher stocking densities.

Its equipment, called Eruvaka Floating Buoy, measures in real time the water parameters that are crucial for shrimp growth and survival. This floating buoy is connected to a mobile app which has various interfaces for the aquaculture farmer including SMS, voice call besides Android and web apps. Using this app, farmers can also monitor their pond data. When the water quality drops, an automatic real time voice alert is sent to farmers’ handsets which will help them in reducing the risk of shrimp mortality. It also offers a cloud analytics platform that suggests farmers to adjust the feed based on water quality data.

“Eruvaka has been selling its patented Floating Sensor Buoy across coastal Andhra Pradesh since May 2013. The firm is planning to expand to other regions in India in FY2015, and is also exploring export opportunities in South Asia and Southeast Asia,” Kahn said.

Omnivore Partners is a venture fund investing in early-stage agriculture & food technology companies in India. Currently it manages a $50 million fund. The Godrej Group is the strategic investor in the fund.

Eruvaka is Omnivore’s seventh investment in the country and the third this year. Early this year it backed Arohan Foods and Barrix Agro Sciences. Its portfolio companies also include Skymet Weather Services, Khedut Agro Engineering, FrontalRain Technologies and Stellapps Technologies.

Desi techie Geetha Vallabhaneni is Obama mascot on immigration

WASHINGTON: Citing the example of an Indian entrepreneur Geetha Vallabhaneni, whose Green Card saga underscores the tormented lives of immigrant aspirants and the pot of gold at the end of the economic rainbow, President Obama on Monday sought to shift attention from the health care fiasco to his other great battle, immigration reform.

It didn't work great at an event in San Francisco, California, where the President's advisers thought he'd find support and solace over an issue many immigrants are exercised about, in what was meant to be a tactical retreat from the drubbing he is receiving in Washington DC over health care debacle.

Earlier, Obama was introduced at the event by Indian immigrant Geetha Vallabhaneni, founder and chief executive of San Jose-based Luminix, who spoke about the 12 years it took to get her green card, and how she started a tech company after becoming a permanent resident. Obama picked on the theme to highlight how the US "invites the brightest minds from around the world to study here - many of them enrolled in the University of California system - and then we don't invite them to stay." The president called on the House to act on immigration reform and said he supports legislation that would beef up border security, and for those in the US illegally, an "earned path to citizenship."

Sudhakar Yalamanchili, have been elected as IEEE Fellow

Electrical and Computing Engineering faculty of Georgia Tech University, Atlanta, Sudhakar Yalamanchili, have been elected as IEEE Fellows, effective January 1, 2014. 

Dr. Yalamanchili attended Bangalore University, India, where he received his undergraduate degree in Electronics in 1978. Following this, Dr. Yalamanchili came to the University of Texas where he earned both his master's and doctoral degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1980 and 1984, respectively.

Upon graduation, Dr. Yalamanchili joined Honeywell's Systems and Research Center in Minneapolis where he worked as a Senior, and then Principal Research Scientist from 1984 to 1989. In both capacities, he served as the Principal Investigator for projects in the design and analysis of multiprocessor architectures for embedded applications. While at Honeywell, Dr. Yalamanchili also served as an Adjunct Faculty and taught in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. He joined the ECE faculty in 1989. He is currently the Joseph M. Pettit Chair Professor and his research focuses on customizable hardware/software for embedded platforms.

The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for advancing technology for humanity. Through its 400,000 members in 160 countries, the IEEE is a leading authority on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. The IEEE publishes 30 percent of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, and has developed more than 900 active industry standards. The association also sponsors or co-sponsors nearly 400 international technical conferences each year.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Padma Shri Dr.G. Bakthavathsalam, Pioneer of Coimbatore

Padma Shri Dr.Namburi.G. Bakthavathsalam is the Chairman and Managing Trustee of Dharmaveera K Govindaswamy Naidu Medical Trust, which runs the K.G. Hospital in CoimbatoreIndia. He was awarded a Padma Shri in 2005.Born on April 5, 1942 at Annur village of Coimbatore district and graduated (MBBS - 1964) from Madras Medical College, and also having obtained an MS from the same college, he had his post graduate training in Surgery in Mount Sinai Hospital, Chicago (USA).

KG Hospital

On the clarion call given by his father, Dharmaveera K. Govindaswamy Naidu, to serve the poor countrymen in the field of healthcare, he returned to India in the year 1974 to set up KG Hospital. Initially, ten beds were put up. It has now grown into a 550-bedded multi and super speciality and post graduate medical center - a "Centre of Excellence" recognized in India and abroad and this hospital has the pride of treating over 4 million patients.

Humanitarian Efforts

He established the K.G. Eye Hospital, where 85,000 free cataract surgeries have been done for the poor. He has conducted 200 free heart surgeries, 1,500 dialysis free of cost, screened over 300,000 people free of cost for blood pressure and saved 35,000 accident victims.
He provided free treatment to 250 bomb blast victims at Coimbatore in 1998 and contributed substantially for the victims of the Kargil War, Gujarat earthquake and the recent tsunami. The nursing college created by him has produced thousands of nurses who are employed overseas.

Positions held

Bakthavathsalam has held numerous positions in his career in the healthcare sector and has chaired in the following positions:
He has served as President of:
  • Uro Lithiasis Project Scheme (ICMR)
  • Indian Medical Association (1986–87)
  • Association of Surgeons of India - Coimbatore
  • Accident Care Association of Coimbatore
  • Coimbatore Hospitals' Association
  • Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy of India (1991)


He has also been a member of national and regional committees in India, including the following.
  • Medical Council of India, New Delhi (1972–1990)
  • Planning Board, Dr. M.G.R.Medical University, Chennai (1994)
  • Planning Board, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore (1990)
  • Syndicate, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore (1983–86)
  • Senate, Bharathiyar University, Coimbatore (1990–93)
  • Board of Governors - Indira Gandhi School of Management, Pondicherry University (1990)
  • Executive Committee, Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Coimbatore
  • Tamil Nadu State Telephone Advisory Committee
He currently holds management positions in various KG Group ventures, including KG Hospital, The Kannapiran Mills, The Kadri Mills, KG Healthcare, and KG Information Systems Private Limited.


On Nov 10, 2009, he received the D.Sc. (honoris causa) from the MGR Medical University, Tamil Nadu, India. In 2005, He received the Padma Shri (for his work in medicine) from the then President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. He received Dr. B.C. Roy Award in 1984 from Prime Minister Rajiv GandhiSeva Ratna Award in 1999 from the Centenarian TrustVaidya Ratna Award in 2001 from Sri Adichunchanagiri Maha Samsthana MathSwamy Seva Puraskaram Award, Life Time Achievement Award from Salem Gastro Centre and “The Jewel of Coimbatore Award” in 2005.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lactalis to buy majority stake in Tirumala Dairy

France-based Lactalis Group, the world's largest dairy products maker, is in talks to buy majority stake in Hyderabad-based Tirumala Milk Products Pvt Ltd, as per a report in The Economic Times.

The report said Lactalis could pay up to $300 million for around 70 per cent stake, which could value the firm around $430 million.

Bolla Bramha Naidu, one of the four founders of Tirumala, told ET, "PE firm Carlyle, which owns a 20 per cent stake, would sell its holding while the four promoters would divest another 50 per cent, resulting in Lactalis owning 70 per cent. The negotiations are still on and clarity over exact stake sale could take a few more days."

In 2011, Carlyle acquired 20 per cent stake in the company for Rs 110 crore. It would score a multi-bagger with the proposed deal.

The remaining 80 per cent stake is held by the promoters Bolla Brahma Naidu, Danda Brahmanandam, B Nageswara Rao and N Venkat Rao.

Lactalis, which also controls Italy's Parmalat, has a presence in nearly 150 countries.

Tirumala was set up by Naidu and Brahmanandam along with B Nageswara Rao in 1998. The firm makes products like milk, milk powder, butter, ghee, butter oil and ice cream. While the company has been expanding into milk derivatives and value-added products, liquid milk still constitutes a major chunk of its sales. Tirumala is one of the top players in markets like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka with a strong distribution network.

Tirumala had recently come up with a Rs 500 crore capital expansion plan, which involves setting up processing facilities in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

WSU grad starts company with credit card, expects 2014 revenue of $500K

Ann Arbor-based AMF-Nano Corp. is the tech equivalent of "It takes a village to raise a child."

For founder and President Rakesh Katragadda, his company is the metaphorical child, born in 2009. The village is what has grown into a statewide entrepreneurial support system that has helped him reach about $100,000 in revenue this year and a projection of $500,000 to $1 million next year and up to $12 million in three or four years. 

Katragadda's company, which has three patents, makes wireless environmental sensors about the size of a penny that monitor water and air quality, temperature, humidity, soil quality and other conditions. It employs five and has had entrepreneurial support from institutions and people ranging from Troy to Traverse City to Iowa. 

Katragadda, 32, who got his master's degree in engineering from Wayne State University in 2007, worked on a retinal eye implant project for the Kresge Eye Institute, then as a consultant for Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corp., before using $30,000 in credit card debt to found AMF-Nano.

He now rents a small office and lab space at the University of Michigan's Lurie Nanofabrication Facility, where he designs and builds silicon-based sensor prototypes for uses including medical devices, manufacturing and agriculture.

Michael Drake, director of corporate relations for UM's College of Engineering, said the purpose of having for-profit companies like AMF-Nano use university facilities is that in addition to leveraging UM facilities for societal good, having private-sector users sharing space with students allows those students to learn lessons in product development and real-world demands. 

Katragadda has formed a crucial relationship with General Motors Components Holdings LLC, a division of GM that is helping prototype a sensor to monitor tire pressure in cars at its large industrial sensor fabrication facility in Kokomo, Ind.

GM will also build AMF's sensors as he ramps up production for members of the Iowa Family Farms, an association of hog farmers. Sensor sales to pig farmers account for most of his current revenue. The farmers use the sensors to monitor the environment in barns.

GM Components Holdings has been trying to bring the Kokomo plant to full capacity since 2011 by forming partnerships and joint ventures. Brian King, the plant's business development manager, said he couldn't discuss specifics but could confirm a partnership involving sensor design and manufacturing. 

"Rakesh has a great technology and he's relentless," said Bill Mayer, director of entrepreneurial services at Ann Arbor Spark, who helped Katragadda get an investment of $50,000 from the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Microloan Fund.

That's a matching-fund program. G. Krishna Kumar, a Troy-based gastroenterologist, was the first investor in AMF-Nano and is its CEO. He said he met Katragadda several years ago and was intrigued by the potential for wireless sensors to be implanted in the human body to give real-time feedback on such things as aortic grafts. 

They decided the quickest and cheapest path to market was to target agricultural and industrial applications — which, unlike medical devices, don't require approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and costly trials.

"There are so many opportunities for the technology. It's my job to focus (Katragadda) and set a road map in front of him," said Arcadio Ramirez, a Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center consultant who helps early-stage entrepreneurs refine business plans and hone market opportunities.

Ramirez negotiated with GM and introduced Katragadda to Chris Wendel, a consultant with Marquette-based Northern Initiatives, a nonprofit community development corporation that provides entrepreneurs with access to capital, consulting help and markets.

Wendel, in turn, introduced Katragadda to Nikki Rothwell, who has a split appointment to the Michigan Agricultural Research Station and the Michigan State University Extension, both in the Leelanau Peninsula northeast of Traverse City, which is home of many vineyards. He also arranged a meeting between Katragadda and Lee Lutes, head wine maker and general manager of Black Star Farms, one of the peninsula's largest and most successful commercial operations.

Rothwell said MSU operates one weather tower in the Leelanau, which is hardly enough for the grape growers, whose slopes contain microclimates that can have different conditions just yards apart, conditions at some times of the year that can be crucial. 

Grapes lower on a hill might be in air warm enough where frost isn't a concern. A bit up the hill, frost could be imminent without growers taking action, she said. 

Rothwell said AMF's nanos could provide the kind of real-time data that keeps crops healthy, and she is pursuing a state grant that will verify how well the sensors work and their potential value to growers. 

The potential applications of the technology include frost protection, disease control and pest mitigation. 

Lutes said Katragadda is to deliver a proposal to Suttons Bay-based Black Star Farms in December to become a supplier of sensors. 

"Water monitoring, for example, is important, especially in sandy soils that are prone to drought stress. This is technology that can serve a multitude of purposes," Lutes said. 

Lutes said AMF can help not just with existing vineyard stock, but with a cloning project Black Star Farms is involved in to introduce particularly valued vines to his and his supplier's slopes. 

He is working on the cloning project with David Milarch, of the Copemish-based Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, who recently got headlines nationwide for successfully cloning a dying redwood planted by fabled conservationist John Muir in the 1880s on his ranch in Martinez, Calif.

Said Lutes: "I am certain these sensors can play a role in doing soil analysis and weather monitoring prior to planting to make sure we match certain clones to the right sites." 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Rare man with a rare mission

Rajagopal Kantamneni began helping poor kids suffering from major illnesses after his daughter died from a rare cancer

Rajagopal Kantamneni, 50, who works in a top tech company in Bangalore, got a call out of the blue from an oncologist in Hyderabad. "A 14- year-old boy, Syed Rahil, has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia - a cancer of white blood cells. His parents are too poor to afford the treatment. I will do the operation free of cost, but the other costs have to be borne by someone."

Kantamneni immediately agreed to raise the money, which turned out to be a whopping Rs 3 lakh. And the boy survived.Kantamneni is different from the other philanthropists in that he actively looks for poor children suffering from rare diseases in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. He works with doctors through the Kinnara Memorial set up with a corpus fund from friends in the US. Conducting camps in remote hamlets, they have so far helped 3,000 children, 80 of them with major problems.

In the 1990s, Kantamneni was living in the US, along with his family. His elder daughter Kinnara was born in 1995. A few years later, Kinnara accompanied her mother to India and suddenly one day, she stopped playing or even walking. Local pediatricians could not identify the cause, but in the US, she was found to have a tumor in the brain. She was suffering from Ependymoma, one of the rarest of cancers. Only 2,000 such cases have been reported in the last 50 years or so, the doctors said. She succumbed to it in 1999.

So Kantamneni returned to India and took up his life's mission. "We may think India is advanced but there are still so many places where people do not understand what diseases the children have. In a remote village in Andhra Pradesh, we came across a girl who was believed to be blind. Her parents told us that the girl was born with vision, but became blind as they could not afford treatment. We took her to an eye hospital in Hyderabad and found she had cataract. Upon surgery, she regained vision," he told .

They are not always successful. "We took a three-month old baby who was very weak to a big hospital, where the doctor suggested immediate surgery as the girl was suffering from multiple holes in the heart. We had spend almost Rs 2 lakh for medication. Post surgery, the doctor said the girl would be fine provided her parents did not take her to hill stations where the oxygen level is low. However, her parents, who were very religious took her to Srisailam for a pilgrimage and the girl died soon." he said, sadly.

Video on Kammas: Dominant Caste and Territory in South India by French Scholar Dalel

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nara Bhuvaneswari placed in the Powerful Indian Business Women List of Fortune Magazine

Smt. Nara Bhuvaneswari, Vice Chairperson & Managing Director of the Heritage Foods, named as most powerful business women in India, and placed at 45th Rank in the list of Fortune-50 most powerful business women for the year 2013.

Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc.United States (US).

Natco Pharma at record high, jumps 8% on US court ruling

US Supreme Court justice declined a request from Teva for a stay of an appeals court ruling that would strip the company's USD 4 billion-a-year multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone of patent protection in 2014, rather than in 2015.

Shares of Natco Pharma ( Rajeev Nannapaneni, CEO) gained of 8 percent, touching a record high of Rs 826 intraday on Thursday. Investors are bullish on the stock as US Supreme Court rejected Teva stay request in Copaxone case. A US Supreme Court justice declined a request from Teva for a stay of an appeals court ruling that would strip the company's USD 4 billion-a-year multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone of patent protection in 2014, rather than in 2015. 

In July, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in a patent fight that pits Teva against two teams developing cheaper generic forms of Copaxone: one with Novartis AG and Momenta Pharmaceuticals and another between Mylan and Natco Pharma.

In NSE This stock closes at Rs.792.20 with a gain of Rs.30.80 (4.05%)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ram Nutakki makes profits from second-hand products!

If you've ever considered buying a second-hand smart phone or plasma TV, you've probably experienced the following pain points -- there's no way to tell whether the gadget is in good shape; there's no telling whether you've been gypped on its price; and you need to visit the seller to take delivery of your product.
These were the questions that confronted 36-year-old Ram Nutakki when he wanted to buy a used smart phone in mid-2012. "I realised that to buy a phone at half the original price, I had to meet three or four people and invest a lot of time and effort to find what I wanted. Also, there was no way to tell whether the product would work properly after the purchase," reveals Nutakki.
Defining 'Re-commerce'
After a little research, Nutakki realised there was a sizeable opportunity in the 're-commerce' space for lifestyle gadgets. With a consulting background in SaaS and e-commerce, Nutakki gave it some serious thought. "Re-commerce in India is confined to used cars, which is a big-ticket transaction. I found a huge demand for second-hand lifestyle gadgets, which is a considerably smaller-size transaction."
But he had to address something else, that had very little to do with actual commerce. "Indians are reluctant to make second-hand purchases because there is no guarantee on how long these products will last. Besides, there is the stigma of owning a hand-me-down," he explains.
All things considered, Nutakki felt it was best to open a brick-and-mortar store that would serve both buyers and sellers of used lifestyle gadgets. These products would be refurbished, if necessary. He finally took the plunge in April 2013 and opened a store in Hyderabad.
Taking The Plunge
The venture struck a chord with a former colleague, Mitesh Majithia, who came on board as co-founder, and between the two of them, Nutakki and Majithia earmarked USD 1 million for the project as seed funding from their personal savings. "We put a lot of thought into everything, from the location of our first store to store design and the brand name," reveals Nutakki.
"Through the brand name, we wanted to convey to the value-conscious buyer that there was no need to spend a bomb on a new gadget when you can procure one that is as good as new with a service warranty, for 30 to 40 per cent of the original cost," he reasons.
YNew is located at a prominent marketplace in the heart of the city, which is a hub for students and office-goers. "The store is strategically located and designed to grab eyeballs of people who are aspirational yet price conscious. The store offers three categories of products or 'screens' -- smart phones and tablets, laptops and PCs and LCDs and LEDs.
Revenue Model
The YNew store entertains both buyers and sellers. If you're a seller, store engineers will tell you on the spot whether your product is worthy of being resold as is or whether it needs to be refurbished. In the latter case, it takes just a day or two to make a product shelf-worthy. The product has to then meet 13 parameters before it is finally approved for sale.  The store also offers repair services.
YNew charges a 5-per cent commission on products whose sale value is more than Rs 20,000, 8 per cent on products whose sale value is between Rs 10,000 and Rs 19,999 and 12 per cent on products priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 9,999.
Once the transaction is complete, the seller receives the proceeds of the sale within 48 hours. As for the buyer, YNew offers an almost as-good-as-new product with a 30-day service warranty. It also offers extended warranty plans.
Since its launch in April, YNew has assisted 120-odd sellers including a select group of agents and refurbishers and has sold 350-odd gadgets. From a sale of Rs 1 lakh in its first month, YNew clocked Rs 14-15 lakh in September. No prizes for naming the fastest-moving gadgets -- smart phones and laptops.
Expansion Plans
Encouraged by the response, YNew is looking at increasing its footprint via the franchisee model. Franchisees will gave to invest Rs 15 lakh, which includes a sign-up fee, lease hire of real estate, store set-up costs and other supporting infrastructure. Nutakki has chalked out plans to launch nine franchise stores by the end of 2013 in Hyderabad and Bangalore.
While YNew has made its mark in Hyderabad and has ambitious plans to expand, it remains to be seen whether the rest of the country warms up to the idea of owning refurbished lifestyle gadgets.

Radisson Signs Cincinnati North CoCo Key Water Resort owned by VijayaKumar Vemulapalli

Ohio: The 257-room, full-service, water park hotel is expected to open November 15, 2013.

Radisson announced the signing of the Radisson Cincinnati North CoCo Key Water Resort, Cincinnati. The 257-room, full-service, water park hotel is expected to open November 15, 2013.

"The signing of this hotel reinforces one of our development goals to expand Radisson in key suburban markets," said Javier Rosenberg, chief operating officer, Radisson, Americas. "This addition plays a key role as we continue developing the Radisson brand as a powerful, globally consistent, first-class brand complemented by the Radisson 'Yes I Can!' service spirit."

"We are thrilled to begin a relationship with Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and its family of brands. We are confident that the consistency, value and leadership of this brand and the Carlson Rezidor system will result in a successful future for this hotel," said Vijayakumar Vemulapalli, owner of the Hotel Resort.

Located minutes from downtown Cincinnati, the hotels' amenities feature complimentary high-speed wireless Internet access throughout the hotel, an indoor and outdoor seasonal pool, a fitness center, a 24-hour business center, and meeting space to accommodate meetings from 10 people to 300 people.