Vignan Velivela
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I live in San Francisco and work at AtoB as a co-founder and CEO. I grew up in India and have previously studied at Carnegie Mellon and BITS Pilani.

With AtoB, we are building a sustainable transportation company to improve commuting and help reduce vehicular emissions and congestion in cities. We are lucky to be supported by some great folks/firms including Y Combinator, Bloomberg Beta, Naval Ravikant, Cyan and Scott Banister (early investors of Uber, SpaceX), founders of mobility companies like Chariot and cleantech companies like Google X (Energy) and climate-focused VC funds among others.

Earlier, I worked as an Engineer on robotics software for self-driving cars at Cruise Automation. Cruise is building a fleet of electric and autonomous cars for ridesharing services.

I was a Masters student in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. As a grad student, I worked on the CubeRover. It is a robotic rover being developed for scientific exploration of our moon. The project is led by Prof. Red Whittaker at CMU and supported by NASA. It would be the lightest planetary rover ever developed and the mission is scheduled for launch in 2021. Why? Studying the moon would help us understand Earth's own geological history as we share a common past. Smaller rovers would make planetary exploration cheaper and more accessible like cubesats did for earth imaging. Also, I find rocket landings to be awe-inspiring!

Before joining CMU, I was co-founder of Prajaloan, a digital lending company based in Bangalore, India. We were working on improving access to capital for individuals (Praja in sanskrit means people). During this journey, we built a peer to peer lending platform which automated identity verification (Aadhaar), risk quantification, enforcing digital contracts and payments.

I attended college at BITS (Pilani campus) in India. At BITS, I pursued a dual major program receiving a Bachelors in Electronics Engineering and a Masters in Economics. I completed my final year thesis at CSIR (New Delhi). My areas of focus were Sustainable Energy Technologies and Science Policy.

Twitter | Medium | Linkedin

Personal

1. I love and support the below organizations. Consider donating and feel free to send me others you like.

  • Internet - Wikipedia, Internet Archive, Mozilla, World in Data, FreeBSD, EFF, Plato (Stanford).
  • Education - TED-Ed, arXiv, MIT OCW, 3Blue1Brown, Akshaya Patra.
  • Planet - National Parks (US), Tompkins Conservation, Arbor Day, Nature Conservancy, Planetary Society, B612.
  • Women - Grameen America, Black Girls Code, Loveland.
  • Global - Iodine Global, Future of Humanity (Oxford), UN Refugees.
  • Basic Science - Cold Spring Harbor, IAS (Princeton), Santa Fe Institute.
  • General - Long Now, GiveWell, Effective Altruism, Life You Can Save, YC Research.

  • (Tip: I donate monthly through auto-payments. Found it more sustainable and easy to manage than one-time donations.)

    2. I am a life member of the Explorers Club. The club and its members have helped discover new frontiers of our planet and beyond for over a century (Famous Firsts). Coverage in BBC, CNN, Business Insider.

    3. Like biking and want to complete the Great Allegheny Passage.

    4. Attended a 10-day silent meditaion camp and trekked the Valley of Flowers in the Himalayas.

    5. Travel plans: Patagonia, both the poles. ETA 2020 (ish). Drop a note if you have any recommendations or tips.
    Publications
    sym

    Small Satellite Constellations: Promise of Internet for All
    Vignan Velivela

    Paper | Medium Post

    Over four billion people do not have access to Internet; that makes a huge two-thirds of the global population. In India, around two out of every three people lack this basic resource. Various access technologies are being developed in different parts of the world to bridge this digital divide. Amongst these technologies, the emergence of small satellites carries immense promise. These satellites are used for applications ranging from remote sensing to communications and climate and weather forecasting. This paper describes the promises and challenges of low earth orbit satellite constellations. It explores key technology trends, the regulatory environment and business potential which would make these audacious ventures possible.


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