Prasad Akella, Ph.D.
Dr. Prasad Akella is Vice President and Head, SME Marketing and an SAP Ventures Fellow at SAP. He and his team are responsible for product marketing SAP’s portfolio of business management (ERP, CRM, …) and business intelligence (BI, BPC, …) applications delivered on premise and on demand to small and medium businesses.
Prasad has been an intrapreneur/entrepreneur, has worked in the US, Japan and India, and has held a breadth of roles spanning from R&D and engineering through product marketing/management/strategy to M&A, business development and sales. He has created new product categories like social networks for business applications, online fraud detection for financial institutions, and intelligent assist devices for factory workers.
As an entrepreneur, Prasad has focused on creating and building companies that solve business problems requiring the discovery and use of information in large data sets. As a co-founder and Vice-President, Platform Products, at the social networking for sales prospecting pioneer Spoke Software, he helped create the Social Networks space while creating a business network that covers about 20% of the professional US population. As Chief Product Officer of Cydelity (acquired by Digital Envoy, March 2007), his team built an online fraud detection product for banks. As a sales and business development advisor to and member of the early founding team at Optessa, a supply chain company that has transformed the sequencing and scheduling challenges faced by manufacturers, Prasad helped raise the Series A round and sell a $M corporate deal at Ford. Prasad also serves as an Advisor to public and early stage companies on issues ranging from company creation and funding through product strategy and market entry to sales.
Prasad has also served as the India Country Manager Borland/CodeGear (acquired Embaracadero Technologies) where he helped create and execute their India market entry strategy and as a product manager at the ecommerce pioneer, Commerce One.
Prasad started his career in robotics – as a Staff Engineer in General Motors’ Manufacturing Technology Center, Warren, MI, where he developed & commercialized new technologies as an engineer/intrapreneur. During this period, he led the development of new technologies for in-house robotic production systems; these systems eliminated inefficiencies in the product launch process, saving $Ms in the process. He also led the Intelligent Assist Device technology initiative from concept to an industry-wide partnership to commercialization – in doing so, Prasad had to craft an industry strategy in which suppliers competed and cooperated at the same time. Prasad joined GM from Japan’s MITI Mechanical Engineering Laboratory, Tsukuba, where he was an NSF-STA Fellow. His doctoral work at Stanford was on the design, modeling and control of robotic hands.
Prasad was the founding vice-chair of the ANSI IAD safety committee and served on the editorial board of the Robotics and Computer Integrated Manufacturing Journal. He has ~20 technical publications, three United States patents for his seminal work on Social Networks while at Spoke [US7539697, US7512612] and fraud detection while at Cydelity [US20060236395], and ~10 software patent applications from Cydelity, Spoke and Commerce One at various stages of review (or oblivion!) with the US Patent Office. He is an elected member of Sigma Xi and Beta Gamma Sigma. Prasad loves teaching, and serves as a design coach in the ME310 graduate design class in Stanford’s Design Program whenever he can. He has also served on the TiE Entrepreneurship Institute’s Steering Team, helping create its curriculum.
Dr. Akella holds a PhD from Stanford (Meakin Fellow; IEEE Phillips Best Student Paper Award for doctoral research; Lincoln Silver Award for master’s project), an MBA from the Ross Business School at Michigan (highest distinction; Beta Gamma Sigma), and a BS from IIT Madras, India (HAL Prize for academic distinction). He has received GM’s highest technical award – the “Boss” Kettering Award – and awards from the IEEE, ASME and National Science Foundation for his work in robotics and social networks.
p.akella at ieee.org