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Crain’s New York Business Magazine: 40 Under 40 Class Of 2016

Press Release

Six Indian Americans were recently named to the 40 Under 40 Class of 2016 by Crain’s New York Business magazine.

Those recognized were Nisha Agarwal, commissioner in the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs; Miki Agrawal, Thinx, CEO, CMO and co-founder; Sarita James, Embark chief executive; Payal Kadakia, ClassPass founder; Gurinder Sangha, founder of Intelligize and Lit IQ; and Kal Vepuri, founder and chairman of Brainchild.

A daughter of Indian immigrants, Nisha Agarwal has dedicated her career to ending the prejudice faced by newcomers to the United States.

After graduating from Harvard Law School, she worked with a U.S. Court of Appeals judge to establish the Immigrant Justice Corps, a nonprofit that recruited lawyers to offer free legal representation to immigrants.

She caught the political bug after serving as director of the Health Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. There she was part of an effort to successfully lobby the New York City Council to require pharmacies to provide translations in languages common to each neighborhood.

In 2012, Miki Agrawal, her twin sister Radha, and a friend, Antonia Dunbar, co-founded Thinx Inc., which seeks to profit from making inopportune bodily functions convenient and comfortable while breaking taboos about discussing them.

With funding from varied sources, including a seven-figure investment from a garment manufacturer and $85,000 in crowdfunding, Thinx formally entered the market last May with period-proof panties.

With moisture-wicking, antimicrobial, leak-proof and odor-proof technology woven into their microthin layers, the undies can be worn with or without tampons, depending on menstrual flow.

In February 2014, Sarita James, a Harvard computer science graduate and Oxford M.B.A., parlayed her years at Microsoft and McKinsey — along with a fellowship at the White House —into the leadership role at Embark, brought in by private-equity firm Viking Asset Management to turn around the online college-application company.

In December, she launched EmbarkMatch, which lets young scholars input a few key metrics and receive and accept offers from universities. Last year, Embark processed more than 500,000 college applications, posting revenue of more than $3 million.

Kadakia’s company, ClassPass, offers subscribers the option to go to any class without having to take on expensive annual memberships. The subscription prices vary from city to city. In three years, more than 8,000 studios have signed on to the site in 39 markets, including Australia and England.

Kadakia started her business with $250,000 from friends and family, and has raised $84 million from venture-capital firms in the past two years. She also performs with a contemporary Indian dance troupe she founded in 2008.

In 2007, Sangha quit his job as a fourth-year associate at White & Case to work on making Securities and Exchange Commission filings more digitally searchable, saving attorneys endless hours of page turning.

On his own, he hired programmers in Pakistan and raised $4.5 million. Now 75 percent of the American Lawyer 100 firms use his Intelligize software, paying yearly subscriptions of $100,000 to $150,000,

Sangha's latest venture is a legal tech startup, Lit IQ, which seeks to protect lawyers from themselves by scanning legal documents for ambiguous or conflicting language and suggesting alternatives.

After graduating from Duke in 2003, with a triple major in electrical engineering, computer science and economics, Vepuri sold enough cellular-spectrum purchases to begin his life as an angel investor.

Since 2014, Vepuri’s Brainchild has launched three companies: The Arrivals — a direct-to-consumer outerwear line; Onomie, which combines skin care and makeup; and Hero, a smart medical appliance that turns the traditional pill-organizer into a connected device that can track medicine and order refills.

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