Charles Vijay Varghese – The cartoonist-entrepreneur who sows AI in farm fields

Charles Vijay Varghese – The cartoonist-entrepreneur who sows AI in farm fields

Kochi-based Charles Vijay Varghese is a new age entrepreneur who can make a robot do some toddy tapping – something that would have looked like a sci-fi comic concept a few years ago. Varghese, in fact, has already made a machine that taps Neera (coconut sap), not toddy.

Varghese, who has excelled in the fields of engineering, entrepreneurship and also art, is the founder of Nava Design & Innovation Pvt Ltd. Nava, the start-up company he founded in 2016, has developed SAPER, the 'World's First Coconut Sap Tapping Robot'.

The device, which has won patents in 28 countries, including India, epitomises the philosophy that drives Varghese's entrepreneurial ambitions. Varghese wants to use AI and Robotics to enrich agriculture sector. This tradition-weds-modern approach towards agriculture is an area which would see a lot of investments.

Varghese's concept had received many awards and recognitions and won the prestigious National Startup Award 2020 under the Agriculture Productivity domain.

At Nava, Varghese tries to make maximum use of his experience of over 13 years in project management, sales & marketing and design consultancy.

The primary focus of the company is to help farmers and farmer producer organisations (FPOs) gain better profits and increase productivity to meet the national and international demand.

Singularity University – Silicon Valley has recognized Nava Design & Innovation as one of the top 25 startups in India. The company has received seed investments from IIITMK via Brinc accelerator and also won the Altair Startup Challenge among other national and international recognitions.

Varghese's company is also aware of the importance of making value-added products, a key component to keep agri-businesses sustainable. The company aims to scale the device to serve the global markets in the demand for value-added products like coconut sugar, jaggery, coco honey, coconut cider vinegar, etc. It also works towards a larger aim of women empowerment by opening up new avenues for the female workforce in the value-added production sector.

Charles is an engineer from M Kumarasamy College of Engineering in Tamil Nadu. After graduation, he did a post-graduate diploma course in 3D animation from Image College of Arts, Animation and Technology (ICAT), Chennai. He is the recipient of the Kerala Cartoon Academy Award in 2005. Charles was an assistant unit manager at Khimji Ramdas in Oman. In July 2017, he quit his job and incubated his company in Kerala's Maker Village.

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