Richcore India develops and delivers biotechnology solutions that conserve food, water, and energy, in addition to improving health. They create animal origin free (AOF) proteins for pharmaceutical companies that manufacture medicines like insulin and vaccines. In fact, their solutions are already present in one in three vaccines and one in four insulin shots globally. Their various solutions are also suitable for industries as diverse as cosmetics, textiles, and dairy.
Subramani Ramachandrappa, Chairman and Managing Director of Richcore, shares his relatively accidental path to entrepreneurship and the limitless potential of biotechnology to improve the world.
What inspired you to start this company?
In the 1950s, my father migrated from his village to Bangalore, India, and survived as a daily wage weaver in the handloom industry. His perseverance and my mother’s acumen ensured that he moved from being a daily wage worker to a first generation entrepreneur, having his own little silk sari weaving setup. Over the years, he built his business to a respectable size and earned social respect as an honorable businessman in old Bangalore.
My life was all set: train as a textile engineer and join the family business. But, it did not play out as planned. My father passed away when I was in my third year of textile engineering courses, and in one day I was neck deep into solving a serious debt crisis as a legal heir. I attended more courtroom sessions, police station inquiries, and arbitration sessions than I did my engineering classes.
Upon completing my engineering in textiles degree, I tried my hand finding a job in the textile industry, which never materialized. With serious financial insecurity at home and nine dependents from a joint family, I had only one goal: earn more money. I did several odd jobs before joining Biocon (a leading biotechnology company in India) to sell enzymes for textile processing. I spent one year there, but the need of earning more money led me to pursue entrepreneurship.
With initial help from my employer who supported my venture’s early days, I became a biotech entrepreneur – something I never imagined when I completed my undergraduate degree. If I had my way, I would have pursued a career in the fashion and clothing industry.
Why solve the issues you’re working to solve?
When I founded Richcore, I asked myself, why am I doing what I am planning to do? The answer in my mind was absolute and clear: to create an environment where I can continue to be happy and impact the world in which I live. The biotech industry is wide and quite unlimited in the areas one can pursue. I choose to conserve food, energy, water, and health as the core segments, since these are resources my family and I use every day. These are resources that will be required by every living being and are resources which will continue to become scarce with time.
Why is your solution unique?
One may wonder how a company plans to conserve food, energy, and water and improve health at the same time. However, developing products and solutions for the above segments is actually very obvious to me. What we do is develop unique proteins and enzymes using living organisms, which are derived from nature. At the end of the day, the products we make use the same principals for development and manufacturing, but their applications are different and adhere to different regulatory guidelines.
In a way, Richcore has just started harnessing the strength of nature to provide solutions to some of the problems we face as a human race.
What has been your company’s proudest moment been to date?
I started the company in the confines of my bedroom without money or a team, but with a dream. Anything beyond that always made me proud. I cannot single out one moment of my work life that made me prouder than being acknowledged as a good son, a good family man, and a good leader of my team –someone who they can trust to have their backs.
What do you hope the world will look like as a result of your work?
My past life taught me real lessons about life, friends, and family. I know what matters most to me, and that success is relative. I am comfortable at both extremes of life, and that makes my life very simple. I believe the world will evolve to become more efficient in consuming food, water, and energy as well as maintaining and treating health. Our efforts are targeted at making a positive impact in these areas. The results of our efforts will be seen in both developed and emerging countries in achieving the global goal of better living for everyone.
This company participated in Unreasonable Impact created with Barclays, the world’s first multi-year partnership focused on scaling up entrepreneurial solutions that will help employ thousands while solving some of our most pressing societal challenges.