Prasad Akella

Dr. Prasad Akella is an engineer, executive, and entrepreneur. Building on the core belief that technology has to empower people—not replace them as has been the orthodoxy for maximizing productivity since Frederick Taylorhe has created billion dollar markets by envisioning and commercializing deep tech products in three very different areas: robotics (cobots as lead @ General Motors), business social networks (as co-founder & VP @ Spoke), and computer vision/AI/video analytics (as founder, CEO & chairman @ Drishti).

A global executive and general manager, Prasad has been a founder, board member, CEO and executive in companies large (e.g., GM, SAP, TR) and small. He has built and led teams, ranging from GTM to R&D, across the US, Japan, India, EU, Russia, and Mexico, and has lived and worked in India, US and Japan. Prasad serves on the Optessa board and previously served as chairman of the Drishti board till its recent acquisition by a Fortune 100 manufacturer.

Dr. Akella and his work have been recognized with a number of awards over the years including the IEEE/International Federation of Robotics’ Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Robotics and Automation (IERA) Award, 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, ASME’s Best Paper Award, IEEE’s Anton Philips Award, 4 National Science Foundation grants and IIT’s HAL Award. He has 8 US patents issued, with several more under review.

Prasad is a Fellow of the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and of the SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers). He 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).

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