[Techie Tuesdays] Varun Banka - Techie with a social bent


Every week we've been featuring techies who have done great things, some of them have been college students, some were record holders in terms of exposure to computers at early age. But, this week we bring you a techie who does not hold a record in any of the above but instead is using his tech skills for social change.Varun Banka is a techie brain with a social heart. Varun is the co-founder of SocialCops, a platform to solve social problems using voice, apps and web technologies and Sweksha, an online listing for NGOs in India.

Early days

Born and brought up in Ranchi, Varun completed his schooling from Jawahar Vidya Mandir (incidentally it is also the alma mater of MS Dhoni) at Ranchi, the only time he had access to computer was at the computer lab in school during he once a week computer class for 30 minutes. Another way to access the computer was visiting a stockbroker's office in the neighborhood where he could just watch the trading on the terminal, looking at his enthusiasm the owner finally allowed him to use the computer for few minutes post trading hours before he shut down the office.

Varun learned html and made himself comfortable with Microsoft Frontpage before he designed a utility based application named Infosoft - which provided the listing of local business around Ranchi. The Application won a prize in a school exhibition.

College and Sweksha

Varun won a scholarship by Singapore Airlines which made it possible for him to pursue his undergraduate studies in Nanyang Technical Universaity(NTU), Singapore. At NTU Varun joined Microsoft Student Partner program and got exposed to Kinnect, Azure and other development programs by Microsoft. Varun developed a concept prototype implementation for Tracking human skeleton using Kinect on Windows Phone, after watching a rumor video and got inspired. The prototype was also featured on several blog posts by Microsoft and MSDN portal as well. Here is a complete video demonstrating the entire integration.

During his college Varun also started Sweksha - A platform to list all the NGOs in India. The aim of starting Sweksha was to connect people and NGOs together for betterment of the society. And the moment of realisation came when somebody from US wanted to donate to an acid attack victim after reading a post on Sweksha. The entire experience changed his life.

Varun says - "People were talking about augmented reality, but for me a simple blog could solve a real problem."

And so the foundation for his next startup "SocialCops" was laid. It was the same time when people started talking about corruption and everybody wanted to be a part of the change in India. And thus after meeting and talking to a lot of people the need to channelize the voice and enthusiasm of masses was validated. Varun started SocialCops to help crowdsource people to solving problems along with the government and eligible stakeholders to make the community a better place.

We wish Varun a great future.

You can say hi to him here, and get in touch as he is looking to hire.