Nikhil Velpanur is a builder of things.
He quasi-dropped out of college when he was 20 to publish and edit a national counterculture magazine called Strange Brew. It was an offset printed, full colour, 48 page, 8000 copy a month labour of love in 2004. After a year of publication, the company turned into a media house that made award winning films and provided an outsourced ethnographic practice to many large companies.
He founded his next company letshead.to in 2006, which was a marketplace for massively discounted deals on food and drink, regarded as one of the first of its kind in the pre-Groupon era.
He was involved in cofounding two nonprofits - the Paradigm Shift foundation, which focused on education leveraging the momentum Strange Brew generated and turned it into social capital - and fightbonecancer.org, which has funded over 300 surgeries by letting people donate to patients directly.
He created 140verses.com, which takes random tweets and generates 4 line poems out of it, in an attempt to make poets irrelevant in the digital age, and prove the Infinite monkey theorem.
He was part of the founding team of the INK conference in association with TED, and setup the INK fellows program and built the first version of inktalks.com.
He sits on the board of li2 technologies, one of India’s largest robotics education companies and works with them to invent and explore ideas in physical computing - like, less3 - a low cost medical diagnostic system for rural india.
He is currently building approves.it, a mobile app that lets you approve and disapprove physical things, and intelligently graphs your relationship with things in the real world.
He was awarded a TED fellowship in 2009, and gave a talk at TEDactive 2013.
He dislikes sport, loves technology and is irrationally passionate about the idea of India.