Podcast/Video Interviews by Stephen Ibaraki

A Chat with Dr. Nirmalesh Sampath Kumar: Entrepreneur; CEO of Mycelium Sona Biotech Pvt. Ltd.; Led team Hiremee into the finals of Global XPRIZE $5 Million Rapid Reskilling competition; director at Sona College of Technology

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Dr. Nirmalesh Sampath Kumar.

 Dr. Nirmalesh Sampath KumarDr. Nirmalesh Sampath Kumar, (following his schooling from the Montfort School, Yercaud), attended Sona College of Technology to complete his undergraduate study in Mechanical Engineering. He was then selected as an Erasmus Mundus Scholar to complete his Masters in Nanoscience and Biotechnology from KU Leuven, Belgium and University of Grenoble, France respectively. Following this, he received the prestigious Marie S. Curie Fellowship to complete his PhD in Quantum Nanoscience in Germany and Science and Technology Management in the UK.

He gave up his post doc opportunity with the University of California Berkley to begin a startup in Nice, France in 2016, (a startup made new generation W-Lan devices). Within a few months of its incubation this technology company, Connectdness, was acquired for it's IP. This experience led to his newfound interest in deep tech startup. After a short stint as the Incubation Manager with TU Munich, he ventured into the field of knowledge transfer, identifying R&D projects and ideas in the lab that could become potential start-up companies. He has been responsible for the creation of at least six deep tech-based start-ups in Europe.

On his return to India, he was invited to begin working with the Sona Group leading impact-driven projects and spin-offs. One of his first standalone projects with the group was the development of the Anadhanam platform, (a tech product to help combat food waste and redistribution). He also co-authored the Smart Villages book with Chocko Valliappa, the CEO of Sona Group, on the various impact-driven activities done by the group.

Following this, he led the Global XPRIZE $5 Million Rapid Reskilling competition, where he led the team Hiremee into the finals and into being among the top 4 in the world. He is also a director at Sona College of Technology, where he leads Valourisation and International Collaborations. He also heads the Sona groups $8 Million FIBRE smart fabric project with the United Health Network and other universities in Canada.

Currently, he is the CEO of Mycelium Sona Biotech Pvt. Ltd. (MSB), a JV between the Sona group and the Mycelium Biotechnology group from Australia. MSB is a mushroom based biotechnology company that deals with multiple products, from performance nutrition, animal nutrition, packaging, leather and alternative meat made from mushrooms. He was there from its conception and is the man behind building its world class facility currently located at Salem.

Recently, Nirmalesh became a Chevening Fellow at the University of Oxford by the UK Foreign Office (FDCO).