Devesh Bharadwaj, 26

CEO, Pani Energy

Life Story: “What are the top problems for society for the century?” Devesh Bharadwaj asked himself while enrolled in the first year of a mechanical engineering degree at UVic. The question consumed him so much that he spent more time looking for answers than studying. That’s because the New Delhi native had two ambitious goals after coming to Canada for university–to do something that would bring significant value to many people, and that nobody else could.

Bharadwaj’s research brought him to the late Nobel laureate Richard Smalley’s top-10 list of humanity’s problems, which leads with energy and water. Bharadwaj immediately started research and development to build what would become Pani Energy’s keystone product, Pani Digital. The artificial intelligence platform optimizes the efficiency of energy-intensive desalination and wastewater treatment plants. 

Bottom Line: Bharadwaj founded Pani in 2017, a few months before graduation. Today, it employs a team of 20. The Victoria-based company has started commercializing its technology in Canada, the U.S., India, the Middle East and Singapore after testing it with wastewater plants in North America and elsewhere.