Founders' Story

Industry resilience rises from the fire

How three entrepreneurs were driven to use satellites and AI to transform core industries and the world

In November 2018, California’s Camp Fire wildfire was a tragedy beyond measure. The deadliest and most destructive wildfire ever in the state. That year’s most expensive natural disaster in the world.

It was ignited by an electric transmission line.

It also sparked a far-reaching idea.

Through the smoke that had drifted to the San Francisco Bay Area, Abhishek Singh drove to a dinner at San Francisco’s popular Press Club with Rahul Saxena, a former colleague and fellow alum of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

The fire dominated their discussion as they recoiled at its destruction and were drawn to the satellite images of its extent.

Inventive, serial entrepreneurs, they wondered what information those satellite images might yield to find the cause of the fire. Or even prevent future fires.

Soon after, they pulled in Nitin Das, another brilliant coworker and IIT alum.

The three proven executives with enormous expertise in digital transformation, product development, engineering, operations, R&D, and data science, dove into the problem.

They saw artificial intelligence (AI) and satellite imagery had matured into mainstream, dependable technologies.

They saw that the world’s electric utilities needed better information quickly to mitigate their threats from vegetation and wildfires.

And they knew they had the skills to help.

AiDash is born

Early in 2019, they formed AiDash and immediately researched exactly what customers and partners knew and needed to know.

Quickly, vegetation management emerged as AiDash’s best first market to pursue.

Because vegetation is a common trigger for fires, vegetation management is often the single-largest line item in electric utilities’ annual operating budgets. Large utilities spend more than $100 million each year for vegetation management. In California alone, utilities spend a combined total of more than $1 billion.

But why the name “AiDash”? It’s a combination of “artificial intelligence” (AI) and not only the speed of “dash” but the information display of “dashboard,” all suggesting revolutionary operations. 

Personal commitment
to public vision

In 2019, investors did not yet see the size of the industry problem and its business opportunities.

But the AiDash founders saw it all so clearly that they ran the company for 20 months with no external funding.

AiDash’s first customer was Entergy, a Fortune 500 utility with a reliance on innovation.

By the end of 2020, AiDash had expanded its satellite-powered AI solutions to help mitigation and resilience for the potential catastrophes of wildfires, hurricanes, pipeline leaks, and power outages.

AiDash was transforming resiliency, efficiency, and sustainability in all the core industries, including electric utilities, gas utilities, water and wastewater, energy, mining, and transportation.

The company earned its first outside investment, through a $6 million Series A funding led by Benhamou Global Ventures and National Grid Partners.

Series B funding of $27 million was led by G2 Venture Partners and included Edison International and Shell Ventures.

The company
earns rapid acceptance

By the summer of 2022, AiDash had accomplished startling outcomes.

AiDash is deployed at over 75 customers of all sizes around the world on over 500,000 transmission and distribution line miles.

AiDash saw early on so many similar needs for satellite-powered insights. In addition to Intelligent Vegetation Management System (IVMS), the product portfolio now includes Intelligent Sustainability Management System (ISMS), Disaster and Disruption Management System (DDMS), and Integrity and Encroachment Management System (IEMS).

AiDash solutions are proven to:

  • Realize ROI from Year 1 of deployment.
  • Improve grid reliability by 10%.
  • Reduce vegetation expenses by 20%.
  • Reduce land and air sustainability costs by 70% to 90%. 
  • Help restore power 30% faster after extreme storms.

Now firmly established as a leading climate technology company, AiDash continues to create a greener, cleaner, safer planet from space.