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Profile photo of an alumna at her workplace in the United Nations.

Meet some alumni who are using the skills they learned at the Middlebury Institute to make a positive difference in the world.

Why the Institute: Give Yourself a Professional Edge

My name is Ravi Kurani and I am the CEO and co-founder of Sutro. Sutro is building a robotics platform for autonomous testing of water quality. Water is used in terms of trillions of gallons around the world for farming, for fishing, for recreational water, and for drinking. However, the testing that we use is really, really old.

And so what we do is we automate that process so we know that water is safe to drink and safe to use. We do that through a little robot that we've actually designed, that remotely does the test for you. It sends the data back to the cloud, and more importantly, actually sends it to you.

So you can actually understand what you're doing with the water and why you need it. The idea actually started as an MBA student at MIIS with the Frontier Market Scouts program in India. It turned out that everybody was trying to create the Jack or Jane of all trades water filter, right, that was really expensive for the population that we were targeting, who were earning less than $2 a day.

However, when we went and we actually tested the water, it turned out that a simple five cent solution would do the job. And so, it kind of got me thinking, why isn't there this Google Maps for water quality? Why don't we know what the water quality is so we can actually treat it properly?

We've been around for two years now, and we have a team of about nine people. We've raised money from Amazon Ventures, we've been through the Bolt hardware accelerator, and from a company standpoint, we're actually still in the seed stage. So we're still prototyping, we're still deploying units, which in the next stages we'll actually move to manufacturing and commercial deployment.

I have a bachelors in mechanical engineering, and being an engineer is very, very different than running a business. As an MBA student, I really took classes in policy and in language. And that's the really cool part about Middlebury, is you're not just doing this core MBA, but you're really getting the ability to kind of expand the breadth of what your knowledge is outside of the business standpoint.

I was very quantitative in nature, just coming out of engineering. However, my finance education really got me outside the engineering mindset that I had studied for my bachelors, and got me thinking about how to actually run a business, build a business, and start something.

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