Rahul Panicker

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Rahul Alex Panicker
Rahul Panicker 1.jpg
Born Mavelikkara, Kerala, India
Nationality Indian
Alma mater
Occupation President and Co-founder Embrace Innovations
Known for Co-founder at Embrace, and President and Co-founder at Embrace Innovations

Rahul Alex Panicker is an entrepreneur, best known as President and Co-founder of Embrace Innovations[1] and Embrace, a social enterprise startup that aims to help premature and low-birth-weight babies, through a low-cost infant warmer.[2][3]

Until early 2016, Panicker served as the President of Embrace Innovations, a social enterprise that designs and brings to market healthcare technologies for the developing world, starting with an infant warmer. The Embrace infant warmer costs less than 1% of a traditional incubator, and is currently being distributed across clinics in India, and over 15 developing countries.[4][5][6] He is also a member of the FICCI Health Innovation Task Force in India.[7] Starting 2016, he has been engaged in exploring and speaking about the potential impact of AI and what societies can do to prepare for the future, including at TEDx IIT Kharagpur.

Early life and education[edit]

Panicker was born in Mavelikara, Kerala, India [8] to Moly and P.C. Mathen Panicker of Kottarakara. He attended Indian Community School, Kuwait, and Sarvodaya Vidyalaya, Trivandrum, India, and hails from Vayalikada, Thiruvananthapuram.[9]

Panicker holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and a B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), India. He is also an alumnus of the design school at Stanford.[10]

As part of his Ph.D. at Stanford, Panicker worked at the interface of machine learning and optics. His thesis work used machine learning techniques to demonstrate a 10 to 100 fold increase in capacity of multimode optical communication systems. His work combined convex optimization, machine learning, adaptive optics and spatial light modulators.[11] He also worked at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, applying artificial neural networks to accelerator-beam controls.

Awards and recognition[edit]


Before starting Embrace, Panicker worked briefly at Infinera Corporation. While there, he worked in a team led by co-founder, President, and member of the Infinera Board, David F. Welch, Ph.D., in the new products group, working on ultra hi-speed optical telecom systems.


In 2007, while studying at Stanford, Panicker and a few other fellow graduates were part of a class, Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability, at the d.school at Stanford University. They were asked to create a low-cost infant incubator that could be used in developing countries.[22] They designed an infant warmer that worked without electricity, was expected to be low-cost, and was designed for use even by rural mothers in developing countries. After the class, they co-founded Embrace (non-profit), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, in 2008 to bring their project to life.[23] The non-profit entity, Embrace, donates infant warmers to clinics in need, and the for-profit social enterprise, Embrace Innovations, sells the warmers to other clinics.

Embrace has also been awarded the INDEX: Design to Improve Life award in 2011,[24] and the Fast Company Innovation By Design Awards, 2012,.[25][26]


  1. ^ Mischler, Michèle. "Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2013". Schwab Foundation. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ Dooley, Sean (Dec 17, 2010). "Embrace Infant Warmer Could Save Thousands". 
  3. ^ Ahmad, Samreen (April 9, 2012). "Spreading life-saving warmth". Tehelka. 
  4. ^ Deepa, Balakrishnan (September 12, 2012). "Portable incubators in 4 states a new lease of life". CNN-IBN. 
  5. ^ Udayabhanu, Prem (24 December 2015). "The Keralite who made it to MIT's top 35 Innovators' list". Manorama Online. 
  6. ^ Ranganna, Akhila (18 January 2016). "Saving Lives: How Rahul Panicker Developed a Low-cost Incubator for Newborns". 
  7. ^ IANS. "National innovation council to build an ecosystem for healthcare products and services". health.india.com. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  8. ^ Sirnate, Vasundhara (3 October 2009). "Embrace of Life". Open Magazine. 
  9. ^ Udayabhanu, Prem (24 December 2015). "The Keralite who made it to MIT's top 35 Innovators' list". Manorama Online. 
  10. ^ Bagchi, Shrabonti (September 19, 2011). "SAVING LITTLE LIVES". The Times of India. 
  11. ^ Panicker, Rahul (2007). Compensation of Modal Dispersion in Multimode Fiber Systems Using Adaptive Optics Via Convex Optimization. Stanford University: Stanford University. p. 76. ISBN 0549355774. 
  12. ^ "35 Innovators Under 35, 2015". MIT Technology Review. 
  13. ^ Quarterly, Technology (November 30, 2013). "Innovation awards And the winners are.." The Economist. 
  14. ^ "Bangalore-based startup founders win Economist Innovation Award". The Economic Times. November 6, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2013". World Economic Forum. 
  16. ^ Mischler, Michèle. "Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2013". Schwab Foundation. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  17. ^ OZLER, Levent. "Best in Show of the 2012 International Design Excellence Awards". Dexigner. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  18. ^ Thorpe, Devin (September 30, 2012). "28 Award Winners Highlight Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship". Forbes. 
  19. ^ "Rahul Panicker @EmbraceInnov & his health tech #startup story of creating portable infant warmer #YTatMakeInIndia". February 17, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Young Turks". April 16, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Echoing Green Fellows". Echoing Green. 
  22. ^ "Embrace: A low cost infant warmer". Retrieved April 18, 2012.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  23. ^ Platoni, Kara (January–February 2012). "Baby, It's Cold Outside". Stanford Alumni. 
  24. ^ The Daily News Staff. "Embrace, Stanford enterprise, wins Index Award". The Stanford Daily. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  25. ^ Wilson, Mark. "The 11 Winners Of Our 2012 Innovation By Design Awards". Fast Company. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  26. ^ Kuang, Cliff. "Why Good Design Is Finally A Bottom Line Investment". Fast Company. Retrieved September 11, 2012.