Opportunity is all around, if only you remember to keep your eyes open.
Raj Sareen ’04 may know this better than most, having used his technical knowledge and entrepreneurial vision to find solutions to problems he didn’t know existed in the first place.
Raj graduated from Florida Tech in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in space sciences before acquiring a master’s degree in physics from San Francisco State University. After college, he joined his family’s business, Tukatech, a design software and machinery company serving the fashion industry. There, he learned all he could about running a business and apparel design and production.
This deviation from his astronomical collegiate experience is a perfect example of how a quality education enables one to transcend industry boundaries. Raj’s strong physics background helped drive the development of Tukatech’s online size and fit prediction software—a disruptive technology for the apparel industry.
His work on 3D body scanning software spurred further ideas for Raj’s entrepreneurial spirit. Originally intending to help clothing manufacturers make better-fitting clothing, he wrote software to create a full-body camera from 21 repurposed Logitech cameras.
Before long, Microsoft Corp. released the Xbox Kinect, exactly what Raj needed to improve his design. However, he soon received a cease-and-desist order from Microsoft. Ever the persistent Panther, Raj resolved to forge ahead with his design’s development, knowing he was on the right path.
His determination paid off in 2011 when Raj co-founded Styku, which produces body-scanning machines that help users assess their body fat and set fat-loss goals. The machines are in gyms, research institutions and health centers in 30 countries worldwide.
Only a year later, Raj received another message from Microsoft—this time, inviting him to be part of its Techstars-powered accelerator program, an exclusive three-month program for startups.
“Being selected as one of 11 companies, out of a pool of 500 companies, gave us instant credibility, press and access to resources that might otherwise have taken years to attain,” Raj says.
With these resources and his tenacious Panther spirit, Raj led Styku from a prototype of repurposed cameras to a startup now valued at $30 million to $50 million in under a decade.
“I never could have dreamed we would be talking about an eight-digit valuation,” he says. “Sure, some big wins here or there helped us take massive steps forward. But the truth is, growing a company is a patient, slow process … with the faith that the hard work, focus and persistence will lead to new heights.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic calling attention to how risky underlying conditions like diabetes and heart disease can be, Styku is expanding its baseline health screening technology.
“We’ve got some exciting technology on the horizon that can further preventative care for the people who need it the most,” Raj says.
With three patents on his body-scanning and 3D-fitting work and several more pending, as well as proven success as an entrepreneur and inventor, Raj began a new venture earlier this year: Remasque. Drawing on his apparel and textiles experience, he set out to create a face mask for firefighters that not only filters out particulates but is comfortable.
The result is a mask made from bamboo—a sustainable, antibacterial fabric that fights moisture and odor two to three times better than cotton and is more breathable than most cotton and polyurethane versions. The patent-pending nanofiber filter blocks over 99% of particulates.
Now in the age of COVID-19, Remasque helps fight the pandemic’s spread by making the reusable, washable masks available to consumers everywhere. The product was featured on the “Today” show in August, praised for its multilayer protection.
“We’ve donated thousands to hospitals, gyms and schools in an effort to keep people safe,” Raj said, sharing the video via LinkedIn.
Current City: Los Angeles
Family: Wife, Khushboo; Children, Dilan, 1, and Sanaya, 4
Hobbies: Guitar, singing and, recently, surfing
Favorite Florida Tech Memory: That’s easy. Winning my first gold medal at Florida Interstate Rowing Association championships my freshman year.
This story was featured in the fall 2020 edition of Florida Tech Magazine. Read the full issue here.