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Avi Bhargava, BEng '09

(Electrical Engineering)

Smart solutions for sustainable agriculture

Avi Bhargava is bringing technology to the farm, in a bid to help the agricultural industry grow more crops, more sustainably.

The 2009 Electrical Engineering grad is co-founder and CTO at Ukko Agro Inc., a Toronto-based technology startup named for the Finnish god of agriculture.

Launched in 2017, the company helps farmers reduce uncertainty around the application of pesticides, water, and nutrients, resulting in higher on-farm profitability. Leveraging the power of IoT, machine learning, and agricultural science to provide real-time information, Ukko Agro is building solutions to solve the challenge of growing more food while optimizing crop inputs, and doing so sustainably. 

 “My key job is to ensure the business is growing and is well-supported by appropriate technology, processes, and talent as we develop quality products for the problems faced by our customers,” explains Bhargava. “Being in a startup environment, I get to wear different hats – from business to technology development to product management -- depending on the company’s needs.”

While electrical engineering was “an obvious choice” for Bhargava, as it “fuelled my curiosity of learning how the fast-moving world around me was powered on a fundamental level,” he says he wasn’t really certain what he wanted for a career during his student days.

“I completed three co-op terms that helped me understand better what I wanted to do, as well as what I didn't want to do,” he says.

Those co-op terms also helped him land a few job offers despite graduating into a recession.

He launched his career in healthcare technology before moving into technology consulting with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Deloitte for several years to diversify his skill set. Those positions led him to his current role, where he is focusing his technology strategies on maximizing crop yields.

Bhargava urges students to try out different career options through co-op opportunities, and to be ambitious.

“Prioritize learning and seek out challenging positions,” he advises. “It will help you move beyond your comfort zone, into the area where growth happens.”