This interview details Ketos, an indoor farming technology company based in the United States. The interview is with Meena Sankaran, CEO and Founder of Ketos.
What is the origin story of Ketos?
Having grown up in a country like India, where 18% of the world’s population lives but only 4% of the world’s water resources, every human has a special relationship with water. Water has always been on my mind, but rather subtly, since having access to expensive filtration or 24/7 running water wasn’t the norm growing up. Having an hour of water every day through a tanker and being able to filter or heat your water was how the majority of the population and myself managed. I was alarmed knowing that 5 million people die every year because of a lack of clean water, and realizing that through my childhood that I was one of the lucky few that survived many water-borne illnesses unscathed.
After 15+ years in the tech industry, I wanted to begin a movement and begin building a company that could bring together the best of interdisciplinary sciences and technology to monitor water in real-time, so we can unleash the power of managing and effectively having safe water as a human right. Clean Water should be accessible and affordable especially given the time in which we find ourselves - where technology has taken us to unimaginable heights, yet, some of the most basic human problems aren’t given much attention.
As a result, KETOS was founded in 2015, and we have worked tirelessly to transform the water industry with the goal of making water safer today and sustainable for future generations.
The name “KETOS,” a derivative of “CETOS” referring to Orca in Greek, symbolizes our commitment to water, oceans, and the planet as a whole.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing Ketos in the future?
In some ways, our challenges vary from one market to the next. In the Controlled Environment Ag space, KETOS is aligned with the overarching industry objectives related to minimizing water usage, conservation, and reuse. These objectives are making their way into other industries as well. As we see these changes across industries, public health and access to clean water will only improve. Such audacious aspirations require movement across the board - from policymakers, corporations, and consumers. The good news is that we see increased attention to these issues, and momentum continues to grow.
What is unique about Ketos compared to competitors?
KETOS is unlike any other technology or substitute process for water quality monitoring. The ability to deliver a flexible, interoperable, interchangeable, accurate, fully automated robotic system with a powerful AI-enabled software platform in an affordable manner creates the possibility of a behavioral change toward water monitoring which is long overdue.
KETOS autonomously monitors over 30 different water quality parameters, including Potassium, Nitrates, Orthophosphates, and Calcium - and does so without any operational downtime for installation, maintenance, clearing, calibration, or upgrade. Probes, for example, require manual intervention, manual cleaning, and manual calibration, and online instruments require downtime for installation, maintenance, clearing, and calibration.
In addition, KETOS delivers water quality data as a service - easily accessible from the cloud with actionable insights at the click of a button.
How do you measure the impact of your company so far? (Revenue, Employees, Customer Quantity, Production Volume) etc?
We are extremely proud of the reach and impact that KETOS has had to date. The KETOS Solution is currently installed in five countries and 26 US states. KETOS has generated over 249 million data points while monitoring 29bn gallons of water and creating a CO2 reduction of over 1,885 metric tons across various industries, including Agriculture, Industrial, and Municipalities.
As a company, KETOS operates in 3 countries - US, India and Estonia while also representing ethnicities across 10+ countries and speaking 26 languages as a team to address this global issue. KETOS also operates sustainably as a manufacturing organization besides being a purpose-led company at its core.
What have you learned that you wish you knew when you joined the company?
Starting a business from scratch is a huge undertaking- particularly when it’s an integrated hardware and software solution. One of the biggest lessons that we have learned is that the pace of adoption can vary significantly from one industry to the next. While our solution serves the Municipal market and solves many of the problems around lead, copper, and other contaminants today, they have been the slowest to adopt. In contrast, controlled environment ag (CEA) is the industry where we have seen the most rapid growth - primarily due to the user's comfort level with technology, data, and integrating new technologies into their systems.
Another customer-specific lesson we’ve learned is that the head grower in a controlled environment ag scenario, for example, will have vastly different requirements than a water operator in a municipal or industrial application. Parameters like Potassium, Nitrites, Nitrates, Orthophosphates, Magnesium, and Calcium are most important to our CEA clients, while heavy metals are the parameters that interest our Mining and Automotive clients.
How can people connect with you or learn more about Ketos?
If folks are interested in learning more about KETOS, they can email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our website at ketos.co, to download product overviews, case studies, and data sheets. People can also find us on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.
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