I’ve gotta give NASA credit.  It turns out the space program has delivered many many more terrestrial benefits and innovations than might be assumed at first observation. There’ve been a few folks lately on the show who’s original pursuits & passions took them closer to the moon than the average person. Today’s guest is among that elite group, having spent time in deep research for NASA’s space-walking astronauts; his co-founder worked for SpaceX. You can say these guys are used to shooting for the stars.

Nikhil Vadhavkar is the CEO and co-founder of Raptor Maps, solar lifecycle management software that they refer to as “The Slack for Solar” where collaboration between asset owners & stakeholders has truly become a data and software-driven obsession.  

Today we cover:

  • his “climate wakeup” moment, 
  • parlaying a $100k investment from Y-Combinator 
  • leveraging SpaceX, Gates Foundation, Accenture and NASA to build Raptor Maps
  • what “System of Record” & “Digital Twin” mean & why it matters

 Lastly, along the lines of SpaceX founder, Elon Musk (and perhaps inspired by his philosophy), we get into their decision to open-source everything:

  • All the data capture methodologies
  • Aerial inspections & hosting data (including historical data from other vendors)
  • Instructions on how to set up manned aerial vehicles, drones, etc 
  • Data set for doing Machine Learning on imaging anomalies 

 Why did they choose this path? What could it mean for your company?

Tune–in to hear more. I promise you won’t be disappointed with today’s high-IQ episode!

Nikhil is an MIT engineer, and his graduate research was thermal control systems for next-generation spacesuits. He met his co-founder in graduate school, and took Raptor Maps through Y Combinator in 2016.  You’ll get a much better understanding of why when you dig in here today. Raptor Maps has delivered critical data analytics to over 45 GW of solar PV plants in 38 countries, and many of you probably consider that it’s a drone-enabled data gathering company. You’d be wrong, as was I, and Nikhil forgives you. 

 You can read more about their story & my thoughts on it, as well as links to articles, books etc we discuss over on the blog.