Bhargav Sri Prakash

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Bhargav Sri Prakash
Born Bhargav Sri Prakash
Chennai, India[1]
Nationality Indian
Alma mater University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
College of Engineering, Guindy
Occupation Entrepreneur Template:Br Engineer Template:Br Investment Management Template:Br Tennis player
Board member of FriendsLearn, Inc
Nirmana Investments
Shilpa Architects
Relatives Sheila Sri Prakash (mother)

Bhargav Sri Prakash is an Indian American entrepreneur[2] known for pioneering advances in life science research and innovation in global health.[3][4][5] [6] He is the inventor of Digital Vaccine technology for prevention of non-commmunicable and infectious diseases[7][8][9] and is the founding research translation and innovation partner of the Digital Vaccine Project at Carnegie Mellon University[10][11]

He is an engineer[12][13][14] based in silicon valley.[15]

Sri Prakash has worked in gamification.[16] He is the founder and CEO of FriendsLearn,[17] and is the Chief of Product for Fooya,[12] which is a mobile app clinically proven to induce improvements in health of children.[18][19][20]

He is a former professional tennis player[21] and junior national champion from India.[22][23]

Early life

File:Bhargav Sri Prakash Former Indian Junior Tennis Champion.jpg
Bhargav Sri Prakash Former Indian Junior Tennis Champion (1991, Sportstar: published by The Hindu), Chennai, India)
A photo of 13 year old Bhargav Sri Prakash being felicitated by Ramanathan Krishnan for winning the National Junior tennis championship

Bhargav Sri Prakash was born in Chennai, India.[1] He is the son of architect, urban designer and artist Sheila Sri Prakash and M. V. Sri Prakash.[24]


He was the top-ranked junior tennis player in the nation in the late 1980s and early 1990s.[22] He also played in international tournaments representing India. He had an International Tennis Federation world ranking of 761.[21] He was chosen by the All India Tennis Association for a scholarship to be trained by coaches from the Harry Hopman Tennis Academy and won an award from the Ramanathan Krishnan Endowment Fund in 1988. He played based on a strong serve and volley style of play, while he had a singlehanded backhand and a formidable forehand. In 1988, he won the National Ranking Tournament hosted by the State of Tamil Nadu for Juniors on Clay, by beating the top seeded player who was several years older than him. He was awarded the Best Sportsman Award by the tournament director - Mr Parthasarathy - for his sportsmanly conduct, grit, self-restraint and mental strength, during an episode when he was down two championship points down in the second set. Despite a highly questionable line call by the chair umpire and the crowd urging him to question the call, he went back to the baseline to continue the game and was able to save the two points matchpoints. He went on to win the game, as well as the next two sets, to win the match and the Championship.[25]

He played in the number one singles position and captained the Anna University team to win the South Zone Collegiate Championship and reach the finals in the Nationals.[26]

In 1999, he won the Men's Singles Championship held by the Tennis Club of the University of Michigan, although he did not have eligibility to play NCAA at the Varsity level, given his status as an international graduate student.

During a keynote he gave to aspiring entrepreneurs at the 2020 Business Conclave at the Shri Ram College of Commerce, he said "the best training I ever received for becoming an entrepreneur, were the lessons from playing competitive tennis. There is no better school to teach the merits of self discipline, delayed gratification, respect for your coaches, resilience, motivation to win by pursuing a dream and the mental lessons of dealing with failure." He also spoke about the origin of his interest in health, nutrition and fitness, from his formative experiences as an athlete.[27]



He attended the Sishya School from kindergarten through middle school. He was the youngest child in his class and struggled with balancing academics and traveling for tennis. He had a gift for Math, Science and could outperform academically despite missing classes due to travel for tournaments. [28] He finished high school from Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School where he chose a pre-med track with specialization in Biology. He had a talent for theater and was chosen to play the lead role of “Maxim” in Rebecca during his high school Annual Day Show.

Undergraduate Degree

He enrolled in the Birla Institute of Technology and Science but dropped out in his first semester and returned to Chennai because "the tennis courts on campus at BITS were tarred and the net appeared to be a hammock",[29] as he described in an interview. He gained an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, Guindy and was the charter secretary responsible for the institution of the Society of Automotive Engineers Student Chapter for the College [30]

Graduate Studies

He went on to attend graduate school on a research fellowship at the University of Michigan where he worked on thermodynamics, computational fluid dynamics and experimental tribology at the Walter E Lay Automotive Lab under Dennis Assanis[31] in Ann Arbor. He graduated with a master's degree in Automotive Engineering in 2000.[32][33]


File:Digital Vaccines by Sri Prakash - Lecture at Stanford School of Medicine.png
Inventor of Digital Vaccines gives a lecture during the 2017 Stanford MedicineX at Stanford School of Medicine, a leading academic conference for breakthroughs of technology in medicine
File:Bhargav NTLF 2020 NASSCOM.png
Bhargav Sri Prakash gives the Opening Keynote Session & Panel on Future of Healthcare & Technology - 2020 NASSCOM Technology Leadership Forum


Bhargav Sri Prakash is the Founder and serves as the CEO and Chief of Product at FriendsLearn, which he started in 2011, as a Fellow of the Kauffman Foundation. FriendsLearn is the research translation and innovation partner of Carnegie Mellon University Digital Vaccine Project and has pioneered non invasive needleless vaccine technology based on a neurocognitive computing platform aimed at pediatric populations, to prevent metabolic diseases and infectious diseases[34]


He started his first company, CADcorporation, in the year 1999, when he was enrolled as an international graduate student at the University of Michigan to commercialize his graduate research in math-based simulations for design optimization of automotive powertrain systems. The company was incubated by the eLab at the Ross School of Business and emerged from a class taught by Prof Joshua Coval[35]


After selling CADcorporation, he founded Vmerse in 2005, which was the first to market[36][37] with a gamified 3D virtual reality simulation platform for college recruiting and alumni relations.[38] He sold Vmerse in 2009.

Nirmana Investments

In 2008 he co founded a global macro quant trading and real estate securities investment fund called Nirmana Investments – and served as a managing director.[39]

Kauffman Fellowship

Based on his experience in the field of education technology with Vmerse, he was invited to serve as an entrepreneur fellow of the Kauffman Foundation in 2011, to incubate entrepreneurial models for planetary impact that can address education, health issues, and agriculture. During this time he developed the vision for digital vaccines and founded FriendsLearn.[40][41][42]

US Department of State

In recognition of his unique expertise in gamification, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and college recruiting, with Vmerse, and also because he was an example of successful student immigrant innovators and entrepreneurs in the United States of America, the US Department of State's EducationUSA awarded his startup company a contract to design and develop the world's first gamified simulation to recruit prospective international students from around the globe. This framework - "Your 5 Steps to US Study" - was launched for distribution via DVD-Rom in 2011 and then as downloadable App via facebook in 2012. It is currently installed at libraries in US Consulates around the world. Since 2011, 'Your 5 Steps to US Study' has served more than 1 Billion users globally.[43][17]

Awards and honors

Year Name Awarding organization References
2020 Digital Disruptor NASSCOM [44][45]
2019 Top breakthrough in technology Carnegie Mellon University - Year in Review [46]
2016 Design Thinking in Healthcare Award Stanford School of Medicine MedicineX [47]

Selected works


  • Kato-Lin, Yi-Chin; Padman, Rema; Sri Prakash, B (2020). "Impact of Pediatric Mobile Game Play on Healthy Eating Behavior: Randomized Controlled Trial". JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 8 (11): 354–369. doi:10.2196/15717. PMC 7710449. PMID 33206054. 
  • Padman, Rema; Sri Prakash, Bhargav (2017). "An Exploratory Analysis of Game Telemetry from a Pediatric mHealth Intervention". MEDINFO 2017: Precision Healthcare through Informatics 245 (2017): 183–187. doi:10.3233/978-1-61499-830-3-183. PMC 7710449. PMID 29295078. 


  • Sri Prakash, Bhargav (November 2020) (in en). School health programme: a new model for COVID-19 Response. Azim Premji Foundation : Learning Curve. ISSN 2582-1644. 

General Sources

  • Gupta, Deepti (June 2016) (in en). Escalation of Entrepreneurship in Assorted Segments in Indian Market. International Refereed Journal of Reviews and Research. ISSN 2348-2001. 


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Pride of Chennai – A list of people that make Chennai proud". Itz Chennai. January 2012. 
  2. Dr Deepti Gupta (June 2016). "Escalation of Entrepreneurship in Assorted Segments in Indian Market". International Refereed Journal of Reviews and Research. ISSN 2348-2001. 
  3. Josephine Tolin (14 January 2020). "Engineering Alum Promotes Childhood Health Education through Digital Vaccines". University of Michigan. 
  4. Scott Barsotti (December 2018). "Can Kids Game their Way to Better Health?". Carnegie Mellon University. 
  5. Stephanie Desmon (1 March 2021). "Video Game Helps Indian Children Choose Healthier Food". Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 
  6. ANI News (31 July 2020). "Indian health-tech pioneer develops the world's first digital vaccine candidate for COVID-19". Times Now. 
  7. Katie Barry (4 December 2020). "Digital Vaccines for COVID-19 and Beyond". Brown University Alpert Medical School. 
  8. Correspondent (13 January 2018). "Fooya! founder in patent war over digital vaccine with US pharma giant". The Economic Times. 
  9. Nikhila Natarajan (21 January 2018). "Indian start-up resists Boston firm's bid to trademark digital vaccines". Yahoo! News. 
  10. Caitlin Kizielewicz (10 February 2021). "Mobile Game that Uses Implict Learning Improved Children's Short-term Food Choices". ScienMag Science Magazine. 
  11. Ruapli Mukherjee (29 December 2020). "Now Digital Vaccines to help promote healthy eating in kids". The Times of India. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Jude Sannith (3 March 2017). "Fooya: A Game For Healthy Food Habits". CNBC. 
  13. Udhav Naig (3 March 2013). "Play and Learn". The Hindu. 
  14. "An app to help children choose healthy food". The Hindu Business Line. 28 December 2016. 
  15. Cromwell Schubarth (31 May 2013). "FriendsLearn Shows Food Fights can be Educational". Silicon Valley American City Business Journals. 
  16. Alex Linda (22 March 2013). "Fooya the crowdfunded game from India to teach healthy eating". 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Victor Rivero (6 February 2012). "You and Your FriendsLearn". EdTech Digest. 
  18. Stanford School of Medicine (March 2017). "Research and evidence backed approach of innovation towards implementing a digital vaccine for reducing risk of lifestyle disease". Stanford MedicineX: Abstract list of peer reviewed presentations. 
  19. Stanford School of Medicine (September 2015). "Neuropsychology based behavior design through mobile health gaming". Stanford MedicineX: Abstract list of peer reviewed presentations. 
  20. "A Nutrition Education Mobile Game Impacts Snack Selection in Middle School Students". The Obesity Society. 2 November 2014. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Sri Prakash, Bhargav (Player Profile)". International Tennis Federation. 1992. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Top Male Tennis Players of India". Times of India. 
  23. "Tennis in India and a list of Champions through History". This is My India. December 2018. 
  24. "Shilpa Architects – Leadership Team". Shilpa Architects. 
  25. Anna University (1996). "Achievements". Anna University Sports Board. 
  26. Editor (14 February 2020). "The Final Day of SRCC Business Conclave Concludes with Inspiring Lessons". DU Beat. 
  27. Krishnaswamy, M (April 26, 2018) (in en-IN). The Greatest Entrepreneurs of Modern India. 
  28. "A Journey for Health". Dina Thanthi. 28 August 2013. 
  29. Naig, Udhav (12 March 2013). "Play and learn". 
  30. "Fooya". University of Michigan Ann Arbor. 19 February 2013.,0. 
  31. UM CFE (13 August 2015). "Learn to become comfortable with the uncomfortable". University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship. 
  32. "Michigan Entrepreneurs Design Innovative Facebook Game". The Michigan Daily. 19 February 2013. 
  33. Carnegie Mellon University (10 February 2021). "Mobile game that uses implicit learning improved children's short-term food choices". ScienceDaily. 
  34. "From Idea to IPO in 14 Weeks". University of Michigan Business School, Dividend. Fall 2000.;jsessionid=0D1251743ACDE510344883CBD0981714?sequence=1. 
  35. UM Office of Undergraduate Admissions (29 August 2008). "Vmerse". University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 
  36. Ted Spencer (10 March 2008). "Vmerse". University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 
  37. "Center for Educational Outreach Conference Agenda". Center for Educational Outreach at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. 2009. 
  38. Sushila Ravindranath (20 March 2017). "Healthy lifestyle choices: Fooya helps change kids' behaviour towards food in a fun way". Financial Express. 
  39. "Kauffman Foundation Education Ventures Fellows". 
  40. Kauffman Labs (19 June 2013). "Kauffman Labs Entrepreneur Fellows". Kauffman Foundation. 
  41. Erin Kutz (10 February 2011). "Kauffman Labs Brings In Education-Focused Entrepreneurs from Massachusetts, Michigan, and Bay Area". Xconomy. 
  42. EducationUSA (June 2012). "Your 5 Steps to US Study". US Department of State. 
  43. Lakshmipriya Nair (5 September 2020). "Our Digital Vaccines Build Resistance to COVID-19 causing Hygiene related Behaviors". Express Healthcare. 
  44. "Bhargav Sri Prakash in conversation with Suresh Venkat". NASSCOM Technology Leadership Forum. 22 February 2020. 
  45. Correspondent (31 July 2020). "Indian health-tech pioneer develops the world's first digital vaccine candidate for COVID-19". Times Now. 
  46. Stanford MedicineX (30 September 2016). "Research and Development of Digital Vaccines". Stanford School of Medicine MedicineX. 
  47. Dr Deepti Gupta (June 2016). "Escalation of Entrepreneurship in Assorted Segments in Indian Market". International Refereed Journal of Reviews and Research. ISSN 2348-2001. 

External links

  • [1] – Official web site of FriendsLearn Inc
  • [2] – Official web site of Nirmana Investments
[create] Documentation