About Drishti

Our mission is to extend human potential in an increasingly automated world

The past

30 years ago, General Motors’ general assembly line had a problem: Workers struggled to safely install heavy parts like doors and dashboards. But robotics technology lacked the agility to perform the complex, variable processes.

They turned to Drishti’s now-CEO and Founder Dr. Prasad Akella, who led the team that developed the world’s first collaborative robots, or cobots, to solve the problem. The idea was simple but transformational: Combine mechanical strength and precision with human agility and adaptability.

Besides creating what is now a multi-billion-dollar market, Prasad came away with a profound understanding: That people and technology, working together, can amplify each others’ value and create something far more than the sum of their parts.

The present

Prasad eventually came to Silicon Valley, but a love of manufacturing — and the lessons from Detroit — stayed with him. He watched new waves of industrial technology come to market, but few of them built upon the lessons that technology should be used to augment people, not displace them.

In 2016, he decided to take on the problem himself. Instead of robotics, he turned to AI. The question he asked the market: What happens when you combine the creativity and adaptability of people with the cognitive power of AI?

The future

In the past century, manufacturing has passed through three distinct phases: craft production, then mass production, and now lean production. The common thread through all these phases is the central role of people in value creation.

In fact, few people realize just how central people remain to manufacturing today.  (Drishti’s own research with A.T. Kearney shows that 72% of manufacturing tasks are performed by human operators.)

It’s Prasad’s belief — and, in fact, the belief of all of us at Drishti — that we’re on the cusp of a fourth phase of manufacturing. We call it AI-powered production. And like the other phases, it’s built on the notion that people and technology, working together, will amplify each others’ value and drive transformational change.

Meet our founders

Dr. Prasad Akella

Founder & CEO

Dr. Prasad Akella transformed manufacturing in the 1990s as leader of the General Motors team behind the world’s first collaborative robots (“cobots”), projected to be a $12 billion market by 2025. With cobots, Akella advanced robotics to safely amplify workers’ physical capabilities. With Drishti, Akella returns to the factory to again enhance workers’ value and capabilities – this time, with computer vision and artificial intelligence in manufacturing systems.

Dr. Krishnendu Chaudhury

Co-Founder & CTO

Dr. Krishnendu Chaudhury is one of the world’s foremost computer vision and deep learning experts. Over his 20+ year career, he’s been directly responsible for some of the most groundbreaking technical innovations in the history of Google, Flipkart and Adobe. Today, he’s charting a technical vision for digitizing human actions in real time, a challenge that’s pushing the boundaries of computer vision and deep learning even further. Dr. Chaudhury is the author of the book, “Math and Architectures of Deep Learning.”

Dr. Ashish Gupta

Co-founder & Board Member

Dr. Ashish Gupta seeks unexplored problem spaces to grow large companies from seed. His career spans “firsts” that include unstructured data aggregation (Junglee, acquired by Amazon), BPOs (Daksh, acquired by IBM), online travel in India (MMYT), and an Indian venture fund (Helion). At Drishti (the first AI company to empower factory workers instead of displacing them), he is a part-time co-founder and active board member who is guiding the team on a journey he’s traveled before.


Described as a “revolution in TPS” by author Dr. Jeffrey Liker

Winner for outstanding results with Ford, DENSO and Hella

Named by nVIDIA as “Top AI Startup in North America”

2020 Forbes AI 50

Named as one of America’s “most promising artificial intelligence companies”

World Economic Forum

Named as a 2019 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum

Gartner Cool Vendor 2019

Named as a 2019 “Cool Vendor in Manufacturing Operations” by Gartner

Meet our investors

In June of 2020, Drishti closed its Series B round. Read the story >

Alpha Intelligence Capital logo
Benhamou Global Ventures logo
Emergence logo
Hella Ventures
Kauffman Fellows logo
Micron logo
Presidio Ventures logo
sozo ventures logo
SRI International logo
Toyota AI Ventures logo