UCL News


7 questions with Ragav Manimaran

13 May 2016

This week, we put seven questions to Ragav Manimaran, a medical student set to graduate in 2019, who is also President of the

7 questions with Ragav Manimaran co/" target="_self">UCLU Entrepreneurs Society and co-founder of Kickstart London.

Why are you interested in this subject and what do you plan to do in the future?

The Medical course at UCL is challenging but also extremely rewarding. It helps you to develop a thorough understanding of human biology and clinical conditions, while also enhancing your problem solving skills. To me, Medicine is one of the most effective ways of using the latest advances in science to have a positive impact on society and I've had a great experience with the course so far!

This year, I have been doing an intercalated BSc in Medical Physics and Bioengineering. It has been quite a change to go from reading anatomy textbooks to solving differential equations, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

My research project was to design an ultrasound phantom (model) for doctors to practice complex minimally invasive heart procedures. It was a really exciting project because I was able to use 3D printers to create my models.

In the future, I hope to combine my medical knowledge, background in bioengineering and entrepreneurial insights to pursue ideas in the biotechnology and digital health industries. I hope to create effective solutions to some of the most challenging health care problems that we face today.

What is the most interesting thing you've done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?

UCLe team

Getting involved with the UCLU Entrepreneurs Society (UCLe) has been the most rewarding experience for me at UCL thus far. I've had the privilege of working with an amazing committee to lead one of Europe's largest student-run entrepreneurship societies. We managed to secure £15,000 of funding over the past year and we have also established partnerships with eight companies, such as Playfair Capital and Individuum. This allowed us to put up an exciting calendar of events this year featuring prominent startup CEOs and Investors.

A particular highlight of the society has to be 'The Fund', our very own small-scale Venture Capital Fund. As students, we have invested £7000 in equity-free capital to 8 successful startups this year, adding to our cumulative total of over £20,000 in investments. This is one of the only student-run VC Funds in Europe and the Fund team, led by Bartu Kaleagasi, have done a great job of streamlining and enhancing our investment process.

This year, we worked alongside our peers at LSE to initiate 'Kickstart London', the first cross-university, student-run pre-accelerator programme active across London university campuses. The aim was to bring together the best students in London so that they can get real start-up experience from our structured programme.

We helped to organise the programme launch which attracted applications from 55 early stage companies and 260 prospective team members. We accepted the top 8 teams onto the programme and they successfully developed their products, ranging from drones to facial recognition payment systems, through our weekly workshops.

Our society has seen tremendous growth over the past year and the committee has helped hundreds of student entrepreneurs to realise their ambitions. Consequently, we were chosen as the 'Best University Society' in the UK at the NACUE Leaders Summit 2016'.

Vishal Sharma made a great pitch on the day to convince the judges that we deserved the £3000 prize money. This achievement is a national recognition of the 2015/2016 committee's outstanding work with the startup environment and has inspired us to pursue even more ambitious projects in the future.

Special mentions must go to Pablo Lubroth (Treasurer), Vishal Sharma (Events), Bartu Kaleagasi (VC Fund), Victor Chan (Ventures), Yi Jia Loh (Marketing), Indrajeet Mandal (Startup Support), and Andrew Stahl (Sponsorship) for their contributions to our success.

Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL?

My favourite place for lunch has to be Café 49, which is right next to the Brunswick. They do the best freshly made sandwiches and pasta around! As a bonus, they also give you a free piece of fruit with your lunch! What more could you ask for?

I've been going since first year and I can imagine that you'll find me there at lunch for many years to come, even after I've finished my degree at UCL. I definitely recommend going there if you haven't already come across it.

Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London:

The Lion King Musical - this is definitely one of the best things to do in London, providing you can get your hands on some tickets of course! I was lucky enough to get student-priced tickets through the UCLU 'Give it a Go' scheme and the seats were amazing. I definitely recommend doing the same!

Brick Lane Market on Sundays - This isn't too far from campus and the food is outstanding. It's the sort of place where you can find great new food every time you go!

Hyde Park - This is definitely one of the best places to go and relax during the summer.

If you were Provost for the day what one thing would you do?

I think that UCL does an amazing job of fostering innovation on campus and it has established itself as one of the most successful entrepreneurial institutions in the world. The recent launch of the 'UCL Technology Fund' to invest £50 million is a great example of UCL's ambitions to support the amazing research being done on campus.

In order to further UCL's global impact in terms of innovation and enterprise, I would aim to build connections with some of the top institutions in the USA. Having worked over the past two years to establish connections between the UCLU Entrepreneurs Society and the Columbia Organisation of Rising Entrepreneurs, it is clear that such partnerships have helped our society to grow from both a national and international perspective.

For the past two years, Columbia students have even visited us in London. I think that formalising an innovation partnership, in a similar manner to the Yale - UCL collaborative, with universities such as Columbia, Harvard, Stanford and MIT would prove to be a catalyst for developing partnerships between European and American startups. I know this would take more than a day to do, but I would at least try to initiate it.

Who inspires you and why?

I think Elon Musk is one of most prolific innovators of our time. He created PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City all in the space of just 20 years! His achievements show that you can bring your ideas to life as long as you are willing to work hard enough.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I'm a fan of hip-hop and grime music! I even managed to get a selfie with Stormzy outside Koko after his event.