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Prasad Akella

Board Member


Country or State

United States


I am an engineer, executive, and entrepreneur who has worked in companies ranging from ones I have founded to a Fortune 1. My experiences have resulted in a T-shaped global career, with depth in product and breadth across functions from marketing to R&D in industries from industrial tech to social networks. The primary thread through my career has been the envisioning, creation, and commercialization of deeply technical, cutting-edge technologies to empower people at work—in fields ranging from robotics to computer vision/AI/ML to business social networks. Where I have created multiple new categories. In the 90s while at General Motors, I led the creation of intelligent assist devices including ''cobots'' (=collaborative robots). Cobots, which marry the power of robots with the cognition of humans, are the fastest-growing segment in robotics today and are projected to be ~$12+B in 2027. Then, in the early 2000s, as cofounder of the business social networking pioneer Spoke, I helped envision and build the first massive business social graph—programmatically mining relationships in email and on the web to determine “Who knows who?” The category is also worth billions. Most recently, at Drishti, we are using our pioneering video analytics technology to combine the cognition of AI with the flexibility of humans to help them be more productive and avoid errors, product recalls, and deaths. We have built a sophisticated yet practical AI-powered video analytics product that works on the grimy, plant floor and delivers very accurate insights in real-time! I am a Fellow of the ASME and SME and a Stanford PhD, Michigan MBA, and IIT BS. My work has been recognized by awards including from the World Economic Forum, International Federation of Robotics, Forbes, Nvidia, National Science Foundation, GM, ASME, IEEE & Stanford. I hold 8 US patents in social networks, brand fraud detection, AI/computer vision, and manufacturing. You can reach me at or learn more at

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Current Position

Board Member at Optessa


Ph.D., Robotics/Mechanical Engineering

Past Talks

Automate 2022