Devesh Bharadwaj

Devesh Bharadwaj
Devesh Bharadwaj

Category: Emerging Alumni Awards

Name: Devesh Bharadwaj

UVic degree and year: Bachelor of Engineering, 2017       

Current hometown: Victoria                                     

Birthplace: New Delhi

Devesh Bharadwaj is an engineer and the CEO of Pani, a company that is accelerating humanity’s transition to sustainable water with data and artificial intelligence (AI). Pani works with industrial and city-scale water facilities to reduce their costs and greenhouse-gas emissions. This is effectively turning one of the largest and oldest sectors, water, on its head– bringing AI and decarbonizing the water. He has since raised more than $10M while working with water facilities across Asia and North America. Bharadwaj and Pani have been recognized locally and internationally for research, innovation and leadership, including Forbes 30 Under 30, and, most recently, the Cleantech Group’s Global Cleantech 100 List. 

Q: Many people are not following one career for life. What other work might interest you in the future, even as a hypothetical?            

DB: My career interests are tailored to what I have understood to be the biggest challenges for humanity this century. I have a list of the top-five problems I want to solve and hope to spend most of my career solving them. Climate change and access to water (both to me are the same problem) is what I believe to be the most urgent so I am currently working on solving this. I expect to spend the remaining decade solving this problem. After this, I will focus my attention on solving the education problem by enabling basic and higher education globally. Following this, I will move my attention towards poverty, social inequality and healthcare. Naturally these challenges are tied to each other and will have different dynamics and impact in the next decade—excited to tackle these soon!

Q: What is a  favourite book you read in the last five years and why?

DB: Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant. Rethinking or questioning one’s decision making is an important tool in effective leadership and minimizing failure, but can be difficult to implement in a society where being right has been rewarded since childhood. This book excels in creating the fundamentals of rethinking knowledge and personifying a “scientist” in the pursuit for continuous learning, which can be applied in all facets of life, from day-to-day actions to significant global problems such as climate change, societal injustice and poverty.

Q: What’s a movie or television show that always makes you laugh?

DB: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air!

Q: What is your advice to younger people entering your line of work or who feel lost or confused about their future? 


1. Find a problem that is meaningful, excites you and is worth solving.

2. Spend a lot of time learning and stay obsessed with the market players, the customers, suppliers and enablers. Pay attention to what is missing from the market, what the customers need and what the future may look like.

3. Stay in love with the problem, not your solution.

4. You will fail many times and that is great. Soak in each failure as it teaches you what doesn’t work and brings you closer to what will.

5. Keep at it, no matter how difficult. Focus and hard work can achieve any obstacle.

Q: What’s a part of your daily routine that you can’t do without? Do you have a mantra that you can share?

DB: A morning coffee.

Q: What is your favourite memory of being a student at UVic?

DB: I absolutely loved learning engineering, especially thermodynamics. It changed the way I looked at and appreciated the world around me because I realized society is fundamentally similar to a bunch of Legos or systems working together after you peel off the layers.

Through these courses, I realized there are amazing things we have done, but there is also a tremendous opportunity to change. Anyone has the opportunity to participate and alter this system.


For the full list of 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, click here.