May 5, 2020
Buzz Solutions ensures our digital lives have power by helping utilities analyze their infrastructure to detect faults, to highlight areas of risk, and to generally improve the reliability and safety of the network.
Buzz Solutions founders, Kaityn Albertoli and Vik Chaudry, impressed the Ulu Ventures team with their market insight, early customer traction, and product vision.
Ulu has a history of partnering with young and ambitious teams and we’re excited to be part of the Buzz story. We interviewed both Kaitlyn and Vik to find out how they went from a Stanford grad class to helping utilities keep our power infrastructure reliable and safe.
1) Tell us the big idea behind Buzz and how you came up with it.
Vikhyat Chaudhry Founder /CTO
We formed Buzz Solutions in a launchpad course, Venture Creation for the Real Economy, at Stanford University. The idea came from my Masters research project, where we leveraged drones to inspect and collect data around wind turbines to inspect and optimize their locations using predictive models. Kaitlyn Albertoli and I shared the same enthusiasm for the energy sector and discussed this idea of using my research to inspect wind turbines. However, very quickly we discovered this burning need for inspection of critical power infrastructure and to provide automation for this process. We interviewed 35 different power utilities and that’s when we focused on the application of the technology to power infrastructure. There was a bigger market and even bigger impact in preventing the aging of critical energy infrastructure as well as preventing power outages, storm surges, forced shutdowns and wildfires. We are providing a platform for scalable data management and processing using our fault detection AI, actionable insights and predictive analytics. This automates the infrastructure inspection process and saves utilities time and money, making energy infrastructure more resilient in addition to preventing power outages, mass disasters and wildfires.
2) Has the outbreak of COVID19 impacted your big idea?
Kaitlyn Albertoli CEO /Co-Founder
Since the onset of the pandemic, we realized the need for remote sensing, predictive analytics and actionable insights for grid inspections is more important now than ever. As one of the most essential businesses during this time, power utilities must still inspect and maintain their assets for both the transmission and distribution grid infrastructure. This is where Buzz Solutions plugs in with our fault detection, predictive analytics, and asset management capabilities to help automate the critical infrastructure inspection processes for utilities. We look to safeguard the world’s energy infrastructure, especially during this time of uncertainty with COVID19. Buzz is currently hiring and is looking to expand our team to grow this mission.
3) Who were some of your important influencers or mentors?
My parents both have been such positive influences in my life and my earliest mentors. When I was in high school, I launched a handmade jewelry company with beach-inspired designs. Given his expertise in sales, my father was the one who first taught me how to convey competitive advantage and value add of my products as I negotiated for retail shelf space in hotels in California and Hawaii. My mother was not only my first quality control specialist, she also showed me how to draft my first retail contract given her profession as a lawyer. They not only supported my passions, but helped me realize those passions as a reality.
Some of the key mentors and influencers for me have been my family and my research professors. My family has always supported my vision to bring a positive impact in society as well as pursue my passion for technology and entrepreneurship ever since I wanted to move to Silicon Valley from my early childhood days in New Delhi, India. My research professors (both in undergrad and graduate school) guided me on the right paths to create technology for societal good that ultimately led to working on a project/technology that led to the idea for Buzz.
4) Why did you want to work with Ulu Ventures?
One of the things that excited us most about Ulu was the hands-on interactions and data-driven approach throughout the investment process. We find each of our meetings with Clint, Miriam and Steve to be an insightful conversation around our core business offerings, go-to-market strategies, and approach to scaling our company. Further, the unique Market Mapping session provided us tangible insights with regards to market evolution and potential five years down the road in each aspect of our business offerings. We are excited to begin this journey with Ulu Ventures and for the collaborative road ahead as we grow and scale Buzz Solutions.
5) What are your dreams for your company?
We can aid the energy sector’s digital transformation and envision safeguarding the world’s energy infrastructure. Our dream is to play a critical role in the energy sector making smarter and more efficient data-driven operations decisions. Buzz will be able to help prevent power outages, forced shutdowns, and wildfires while also enabling accelerated adoption of clean renewable energy sources without creating further stress on infrastructure. We currently focus on protecting and modernizing grid infrastructure by delivering AI-based solutions that enable operations to become proactive and predictive in nature rather than reactive. We believe our solutions will expand beyond the power industry into multiple energy verticals including oil/gas pipelines, utility-scale solar farms, and wind turbine inspections. We dream of a future with resilient energy infrastructure as well as mass deployment of clean energy sources brought about through Buzz’s technology.