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About Prasad Akella

Dr. Prasad Akella is a serial entrepreneur/intrapreneur who has created technologies that empower humans throughout his career. He has helped create three massive market categories—twice in manufacturing and once in business social networks.

First, in the 90s, he led the General Motors team that led the creation of intelligent assist devices including “cobots”—collaborative robots. Cobots, the fastest growing segment in robotics today are projected to be a $12+B business in a few years, marry the power of robots with the cognition of humans. Second, in the early 2000s, as cofounder of the social networking pioneer Spoke, he envisioned & built the first massive business social graph—a category that is worth trillions today.

Today, as the founder of Drishti (, Prasad is targeting his third category creation. This time he’s asking “What happens if you combine the cognition of AI with the flexibility of humans?” There is $2.2T in US GDP alone that is interested in the answer.

Dr. Akella and his work have been recognized with a number of awards over the years including the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Leadership Award, CBInsights’ AI100 List, Forbes’s AI50 List, World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer, GM’s “Boss” Kettering Award, IEEE’s Anton Philips Award, ASME’s Best Paper Award, 3 National Science Foundation grants. He has 5 US patents issued, with several more under review.

Prasad holds a PhD in Robotics from Stanford University (Edgar Meakin Fellow), an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross Business School (High Distinction, Beta Gamma Sigma), and a BS from the Indian Institute of Technology (HAL Award). 

Prasad's work has been featured in..

Prasad's Blog

Jan 7, 2021 – Tim Walter

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Jan 7, 2021 – Tim Walter

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Jan 7, 2021 – Tim Walter

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Books by Tim

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Sean Paul, Director, UCLA Corporation