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Founder Profile: Prateek Joshi — Founder & CEO, Pluto AI

We always get excited when entrepreneurs from outside the sector choose to focus their talents on water issues. Prateek Joshi of Pluto AI is a perfect example. After starting his career at Qualcomm and NVidia, Prateek is now an author of multiple books and a regular speaker on AI and Machine Learning, and has turned his considerable talents to helping utilities get the most out of their ever-expanding trove of data.

Give us an overview of your role, what your experiences are and what you are working on.

I’m Prateek Joshi, founder of Pluto AI, an analytics platform for water and wastewater plants to predict asset performance, reduce energy consumption, and minimize operating costs. Treatment plants face enormous challenges because of fluctuating asset performance and highly unstructured nature of the data. In order to solve these issues, they have to extract intelligence from this unstructured data scattered across multiple sources. It’s a huge pain to deal with! This is where Pluto comes into picture. Our solution uses Artificial Intelligence to analyze the data gathered from various sources such as SCADA, work order management systems, and event logs. This allows operators to take action in real-time to proactively solve those problems.

Where did you get the idea for Pluto AI?

I grew up in a small town in India with a massive water problem. This stayed with me through my education in computer science. When I started talking to potential customers in the water industry, I realized that this problem can be solved using Artificial Intelligence algorithms. I wanted to use my expertise in AI to solve a meaningful problem with a global impact.

What’s the value you provide for your customer?

Treatment plants collect data about flow rate, energy consumption, influent flow, and so on. But it’s difficult to extract critical information from this data because it’s unstructured and scattered across multiple sources. Pluto ingests all this data into a single platform and gives actionable insight to predict asset performance, reduce energy consumption, and minimize operating costs.

What has been your experience coming into the water industry from working outside the sector?

Even though the water industry is more traditional, people are very helpful and open to having a conversation. As they become more aware of machine learning, industry operators and users are beginning to appreciate the power of data. At the same time, it’s important to understand that the accuracy of Artificial Intelligence algorithms depends on the quality of data. Therefore, our goal is to build a bridge between the reality of the data and their expected outcomes.

What’s the impact you want to have on the water industry?

The water industry is increasingly using data analytics to drive efficiency. We want to be at the forefront of that data revolution to maximize the efficiency of as many water systems as possible.

As an entrepreneur coming to America from abroad, what advice would you give to others in your position?

My advice is to come to the US with an open mind. Looking back, I’m happy to have met some amazing people along the way who have had a huge impact on Pluto. The startup ecosystem here is fantastic, but you need to understand the culture in order to thrive in it. The support and guidance of this ecosystem is essential to surviving the first 12–18 months of the startup journey.

What’s in store for the rest of 2017?

We’re excited to continue our pilots and possible turn them into full-time deployments.

Sum up your IH2O experience in 3 words.

Impactful — Domain-knowledge — Mentorship