Meet Eshan Sadasivan, who invented a bag that doubles as a desk

29-year-old Eshan Sadasivan's company is the maker of the lightweight Deskit bag, which has a foldable study table attached for rural students, who often have to study without desks and face severe posture issues

Salil Panchal
Published: Feb 14, 2020 09:41:57 AM IST
Updated: Feb 14, 2020 09:49:06 AM IST

Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.

eshan sadasivanImage: Madhu Kapparath

Eshan Sadasivan | 29
CEO, PROSOC Innovators

In 2015, Eshan Sadasivan found a unique calling while teaching underprivileged children in Uttar Pradesh. In several government schools, “hundreds of students suffered from a bad body posture in the absence of proper tables and chairs”, says Sadasivan, CEO of PROSOC Innovators. The startup is incubated by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, from where Sadasivan has an engineering degree in industrial and products design.

For at least a year starting June 2015, Sadasivan worked on about 40 prototypes to create an ergonomic and durable school bag with the help of the Startup Incubation and Innovation centre at IIT-Kanpur. This led to the creation of the Deskit bag, weighing one kilogram, with an attached and foldable study table.

PROSOC (Products for Society) sells between 5,000 and 10,000 Deskit bags a month for free to thousands of students across 16 states in India. The cost is borne by corporates, (through their CSR activities) and non-profits. PROSOC has tie-ups with 60 corporates, including ONGC, Mahindra Susten and Lohia Group, at least 50 non-government organisations, and the state governments of Telangana and Jammu & Kashmir.

In 2019, PROSOC did a six-month pilot providing Deskit bags to 300 children in refugee camps in parts of Iraq.

PROSOC earned ₹2.3 crore in revenue through Deskit in FY19 and these are estimated to nearly double in FY20. Sadasivan is creating a lighter Deskit bag using recycled plastic (instead of steel and plywood currently) to make it more eco-friendly.

A seven-member team is also set to manufacture a low-cost paper-bag making machine—as an alternative to single-use plastic bags—and help generate employment to women working in the unorganised sector across Telangana.

See the full Forbes India 30 Under 30 list for 2020 here

“Deskit addresses a critical problem faced by schools pan-India. The paper-bag making machine project also has scope to provide huge employment to self-help groups,” says Sanjay Kumar, founder of startup Millet Bowl Food Products, who was an advisor to Sadasivan.

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(This story appears in the 14 February, 2020 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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