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His heart beats for the disabled

Just 19, Anugreh Sehtya is already the proud owner of a company. Anugreh runs Hybrid Idea which started as India’s first assistive technology solution Design Company. It also provides comprehensive engineering solutions that help clients achieve their operational and business goals.

What makes Anugreh different is that his focus is to make lives better for the differently abled sections of society.

Ever since he was very young, Anugreh was really interested in building things. Incredible as it might sound, Anugreh started taking workshops when he was class IX. “Such was my passion to build things that I learnt myself how to code and build things from the help of the world’s largest university i.e., YouTube. I started off by making a home automation system, automatic irrigation system and many more projects. Impressed by my skills people called me for workshops on how to build stuff on their own. I was in Class IX,” says Anugreh, offering an early glimpse of his short, but a stunning career.

Anugreh made many more projects and was awarded nationally and internationally by various organizations, including University of Toronto and Intel. Even Government of India honoured him for his feats.

‘Everything was going well until the latter part of 2017. My father passed away. I never knew that death could come like this. I was depressed and shocked. I didn’t want the same thing that happened with me to happen with others as well. It was then I decided that I would use the skills that I had built over the years to help people now,” says Anugreh, talking about the tough days.

Anugreh was keen that his products should be useful for society, especially for the ailing and weaker sections. First, he made wearables for the visually challenged.

“I started by making a wearable for the visually impaired. I named it EyeQ. So, what EyeQ did was that it observed, understood and narrated what is happening in front of the visually impaired. I showcased EyeQ at a top Innovation Summit in the country. That Summit had Fortune 500 CEOs, CXO. People were very impressed with EyeQ,” says Anugreh.

So impressed was a top CEO that he asked Anugreh to build some solutions for children affected with autism. For the record, Anugreh was just 17 years old then!

“Imagine the CEO of a big company asking a 17- year- old to build autistic solutions. That surprised me and made me think that I should start a company where we build products and make solutions for the specially abled people. This will fulfill my goal of helping people and satisfy my monetary needs as well. This led to the formation of Hybrid Idea. I realized that I can’t do it alone so I approached my friend, who is now my co-founder. We have been making solutions for people with special needs like the visually impaired, people with communication disabilities and transportation disabilities. We are also working with various non-profit organizations to make our impact on a much larger level. That is how our story began,” says Anugreh.

The company also provides engineering solutions for companies to achieve their operational goals and business goals.

“For example, we are working with a client on fire suppression system. The current solutions in the market detect fire only when half of the damage is already done. We have created an AI tool which detects even the smallest of fire with pre-installed CCTV cameras sending an alarm to the user within five seconds,” says Anugreh, talking proudly about his latest achievement.

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A quick chat with Anugreh Sehtya:

What was the spark or trigger for you to start something like this? Does your family have a business gene?

After my dad passed away, I felt like nobody else should go through what I have gone through. It was then that I realized that I will build products to help people now. Also, when the chairperson of Dhruva Institute of Management offered me to build solutions for autism for a hefty amount, I also got to know that both of his grandsons were autistic. This made me realize that if I'm able to do this, I'll able to achieve my goal of helping people and fulfill my monetary needs as well.

When children of your age were playing cricket, you were running a business model. What was the response from society, your parents and even relatives?

Most people advised me to just concentrate on my studies and take up a 9-5 job as everyone does. Of course, later they were convinced.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle was financing. How did you manage money?

My father was a businessman too. The skills that I learnt from him helped me shape the model of Hybrid Idea. The chairperson of the aforesaid institution funded us for the projects made for autism. Apart from that, at Hybrid Idea, we also provide IT Services to other organizations. We have also scaled up our IT solutions and some of our solutions are being used in the Times Network building in New Delhi.

You have been feted by the Govt of India and other prestigious organizations. Can you tell us a bit about your interaction with Niti Ayog and all?

We had a meeting with Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairperson, NITI AAYOG. We told him about the work that we have done and how we have been awarded globally for that too. He was very impressed and fully supported us. We got various collaborations through NITI AAYOG.

Who is your biggest inspiration? And role models, if any?

My dad has always been my inspiration and the biggest source of motivation. He not only taught me how to do things but he himself led by example. He made me realize that what we call 'life' is made by people that are no smarter than us. Everybody has problems in their lives but the reaction to them is set by what their mindset is. And perhaps, that is the reason why I am going steady.

What, as per you, are those 5 habits of yours which helped you reach where you are?

  • Focus
  • time management
  • being empathetic
  • being proactive and passionate
  • Being Empathetic was the most important quality.
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