(July 6, 2022) As his eleventh grade came to an end, Aaryan Singh found his hobbies fall by the wayside and his free time vanish as academic pressures began to mount. “I became very sleep deprived because I was handling school, the foundation I started during the pandemic and other extra-curricular activities. I had dark circles around my eyes,”the teen entrepreneur told Global Indian. The 17-year-old is the founder of Uninsomnia, an app to help teens deal with sleep deprivation by analysing their schedules, connecting with Fitbits, smart watches and health apps on their phones.
When Aaryan talked to his friends about his sleep problem, he found them all in similar situations. “All of us were pulling all-nighters to cram for exams, we were exhausted,” he says. When he did some research, he was “blown away by what he found.” In the United States, some 69 percent of teenagers face sleep-related problems and disorders, insomnia being the most common. The information on India was sadly lacking and Aaryan did research of his own, finding that fifty percent of high school students don’t get proper sleep.
That’s how, in 2021, Aaryan began working on Uninsomnia. Users get custom sleep tips because the app will analyse their google calendars, connect with Fitbits and smart watches and other health apps. “It tells you when to drink coffee, when to sleep and what exercises you can do to relax and sleep better. It can even suggest melatonin but only if prescribed by a doctor.”
Born and raised in Bhopal, Aaryan Singh describes himself as someone who has always been “very curious, always looking for information, in love with technology.” Growing up, he would ask his parents for toy cars and helicopters, not to play with but to be able to take them apart and put them back together again.
In 2020, Aaryan says, “the main journey began.” When the pandemic hit India, Aaryan was volunteering with a local organisation to help underprivileged and local children. “I was helping the kids with their academics, especially computer science.” One day, he noticed some of the children making beautiful artwork.
“They knew a lot about CS, they were discussing algorithms and coding languages. They were curious to learn skills but didn’t have the opportunities,” he says. So, he set up the Buy To Cure Foundation and ran the organisation for about a year starting October 2020. “We would take drawings from the kids and print them on mugs and other merchandise,” says Aaryan. “Buy To Cure sold these through its e-commerce platform and 90 percent of the funds went back to the orphanages.”
Building the foundation
Setting up the foundation involved building a network of over 100 organisations including NGOs, orphanages and schools. Aaryan also created a global team of volunteers and raised over ₹3 lakh in under a year.
During the second lockdown, the organisation was unable to deliver its merchandise. “We told a local government official about the situation and the team was given special powers to go outside the house and move around,” he recalls.
Aaryan, who wants to major in CS and entrepreneurship, also conducts skill enhancing workshops in entrepreneurship and coding.
This April, Aaryan began the LaunchX Entrepreneurship Programme. He will work with entrepreneurial students from around the world to launch a startup and learn from professors from Harvard, MIT (Sloan School) and The Wharton School. He has also been selected into the Dex School of Leadership and Entrepreneurship’s Class of ’23, part of The Dexterity Global Group, founded by globally acclaimed social entrepreneur Sharad Vivek Sagar. His daily life includes juggling academics, which are top priority, his volunteer work and building Uninsomnia as a “one-man army.”
Following through on his deep interest in AI and Machine Learning, Aaryan is a Veritas AI Scholar and an Inspirit AI Scholar. He received a full scholarship for the former, which he began in June this year. As part of Veritas AI, Aaryan is working with Venu Regunath (Dartmouth College), Katrina Brown (Harvard University), and Shravan Ravishankar (University of Chicago), to study data science and artificial intelligence. “The focus is on image classification, AI ethics and why they matter, deep learning, NLP and Language Processing and other topics related to AI and Machine Learning,” says Aaryan, who is also a Global Young Leader and Changemaker 2022.
Follow Aaryan Singh on LinkedIn