Gokul Ullas

GokulLI

Bachelor of Technology (Chemical Engineering) VIT University 

Bio

Gokul graduated with a B.Tech Chemical Engineering degree from VIT University (India). The university funded his team’s research into fluidization, which produced a paper that was published by the Journal of Applied Fluid Mechanics (JAFM) and was subsequently presented by his team at the Symposium of Malaysian Chemical Engineers (SOMChe). Out of a group of 300 students, he was given a job offer at U.S based W.R Grace’s Chennai office.

Gokul was on his way to a very comfortable life when the city in December 2015, was struck with the worst floods in its history. He was stranded with inadequate water, food, and sanitation for 4 days. Caused by illegal construction and mismanagement of water, the city was on its knees. As there was barely any connection to the outside world, he had a lot of time to think. He realized how sensitive the world was and that it required everyone to do their part. Right after this, he quit his job in search of his true purpose.

He wished to start a social business that would help communities. To bootstrap the business, he moved to Bangalore and worked as a Sales Manager for Viraltag. Here, he picked up skills in sales, marketing and leadership, which eventually helped him launch Soul Seams. The company would design and manufacture apparel for businesses and educational institutions. 10% of the business’ revenue would go into setting up small pop-up shops at children’s homes. Here, the children could choose any new t-shirt made by Soul Seams. The idea was to show the children that they had choices in life, irrespective of where they came from. This project was successful but operational issues forced the company to shut down.

Not giving up, Gokul decided to use the design resources he had to start a design agency called Saptaru that would cater to all design requirements of large businesses. The aim was to build up enough capital to restart Soul Seams with a better operational structure. Saptaru was able to land multibillion-dollar companies like Synthite Industries and Murugappa Group as clients.

To be a better change agent, Gokul realized that he needed to further his education into sustainability and systems thinking. During his roller coaster career, he has picked up an obsession towards the importance of policy and politics to the triple bottom-line. His relative successes had highlighted an obsession towards finding social, economic and environmental justice, through sustainable policy. He’d realized that if people don't get their acts straight by 2030, the floods he experienced would just be a common occurrence in the lives of many. These effects will be far-flung irrespective of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or social status.