Six Indian-Americans were selected for Crain's New York 40-under-40 2016 class.
Six Indian-Americans were selected for Crain’s New York 40-under-40 2016 class.

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Six Indian-Americans have been named to the 2016 edition of Crain’s New York Business Magazine’s “40-under-40” class, a list dedicated to recognizing the city’s rising stars in the business community.

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 were among those recognized in this year’s selections.

Agarwal, a daughter of Indian immigrants, has dedicated her life and career to ending the prejudices newcomers to the U.S. face on a daily basis. After graduating from law school at Harvard University, she worked in the U.S. Court of Appeals to establish the Immigrant Justice Corps. The nonprofit recruits lawyers to offer free legal representation to immigrants.

After serving as the director of the Health Justice Program for the New York Lawyers for Public Interest, Agarwal caught the political bug, and became 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, with the help of her twin sister Miki and a friend, Antonia Dunbar, the trio founded Thinx Inc., which seeks to profit from making inopportune bodily functions convenient and comfortable while breaking taboos about discussing them. The company received funding from various sources, including a seven-figure investment from a garment manufacturer and $85,000 in crowdfunding. Thinx officially entered the marketplace last May with the introduction of period-proof panties for women.

In Feb. 2014, Sarita James, a Harvard University computer science graduate who also possesses an MBA from Oxford, combined the years of experience she garnered from tenures at Microsoft, McKinsey and a White House fellowship into a leadership role at Embark. Last December, she launched EmbarkWatch, which allows young scholars to input key metrics and receive and accept scholarship 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 its subscribers the option to go to any class without having to endure the cost of 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 a $250,000 investment from friends and family, and in the last two years has raised $84 million in further investments from venture capital firms. She also performs with a contemporary Indian dance troupe she founded in 2008.

Gurinder Sangha quit his job in 2007 as a fourth-year associate at White & Case to work on making SEC filings more digitally searchable, a process which costs attorneys endless hours of page turning. On his own accord, Sangha hired programmers from Pakistan and raised $4.5 million in funding. Presently, 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 named Lit IQ, a legal tech startup which seeks to protect lawyers from themselves by scanning legal documents for ambiguous or conflicting language and suggesting alternatives.

Kal Vepuri graduated 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, his company 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.