In Spring 2006, the second semester of his freshman year, while on track to follow both of his parents and his older sister in a career as a physician, Abhi Lokesh stumbled upon Dr. Kristin Joys’ Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship class. He took the class and for his final project, worked with two classmates to start a nonprofit that sold art in order to raise money to help alleviate the health and poverty epidemic in Swaziland. Abhi credits his experience in Dr. Joys’ class as the catalyst that led him to get involved in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center (EIC) at UF. He joined the EIC Ambassadors and served as a RA for the first YELS (Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership and Sustainability) high school summer program, in 2007.
These experiences offered Abhi the opportunity to spend time with entrepreneurs who were changing the world, to learn from and work alongside them. With help from Dr. Joys, Abhi & his two classmates applied for and won a $10,000 Projects for Peace Grant, taking them to Swaziland, where they worked with the Ministry of Health and WHO to pilot their ideas. It was here, in a small town in Swaziland, that Abhi and his partner Alex came up with Fracture, a revolutionary technology that takes photos directly from a smartphone (or any digital device) and beautifully prints them on glass to be displayed in people’s homes. Abhi graduated from UF in 2009, and in their first three years, Fracture raised over $2 million in capital, sold more than 50,000 fractures and built a team and facility in downtown Gainesville. 2020 is their eleventh year and Fracture now employs nearly 100 full-time employees and expects to sell over $25 million prints by year’s end.
Abhi is often asked to speak on campus, to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and changemakers. For many years he has served as our Social-Entrepreneur-in-Residence, sharing with and mentoring students.