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Dr. Lalitesh Katragadda

Lalitesh founded a startup in 1997 with 8 PhDs in the areas of AI and Machine Vision. This startup was Google’s first acquisition in 2002.


In 2004, Lalitesh co-founded Google’s first international engineering center in India. He retired as Head of India Products in 2014 after leading, inventing several products including Google Finance, Google Transliteration, Crowdsourced YouTube Subtitles, Crowdsourced Translation, Handwriting recognition for Indic languages. He advised the CEO on India and emerging markets strategy. He was noted as one of the 7 most influential Indians at Google by Economic Times and Silicon India.


Lalitesh Katragadda is a pioneer in crowdsourcing. His creation, Google Map Maker, tripled the world's digital maps corpus, mapping 3 billion people. Every map seen today on Google maps in 187 emerging countries was created by users overseen by machine learning and geometric algorithms he invented and built. The UN and aid agencies have used these user generated maps to assist and rescue millions.


He now focuses on India's Billion. As advisor to the AP Chief Minister, Lalitesh architected the AP Fiber Grid along with a revolutionary open business model to deliver 15 Mbps to each of its 13 Million households for less than $3/month. He authored India’s Open API policy, co-authored India’s software products policy and serves as an advisor to the secretary of IT (MEITY), Government of India.


Lalitesh advises India’s largest NGO, Tata Trusts, on technology driven transformation. He funds, mentors deep-tech startups in areas like smart grids, automated micro sewage processors and crowdsourcing platforms. He is currently driving the Avanti platform, a finance startup by Mr Ratan Tata and Mr Nandan Nilekani to deliver credit to millions.


Lalitesh has spoken at TED, Brookings and The White House. He received a PhD and MS from CMU in Robotics and Computer Science, where he led the CMU Lunar Rover Initiative. Lalitesh has a MS from Design Division, Stanford, MS in Aerospace, Iowa State and B-Tech from IIT-Bombay.


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