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About Us

Artificial Intelligence Expertise + Mission Critical Facility Experience

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Phaidra’s team composition is built on the premise that to deploy advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence into production, you must have deep domain expertise. Our team includes experts in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, cybersecurity, mission critical cooling systems, data centers, and industrial controls. Our team knows what customers need to meet 21st century expectations of continued growth with reduced resource consumption.

Our Backstory

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Jim Gao designed the large cooling systems that remove heat from the servers in Google’s data centers. He conducted analysis to improve Google’s Power Usage Efficiency (PUE), a metric that tracks data center energy efficiency. In order to continually improve efficiency and reduce risk, Jim was always seeking new ways to optimize control.

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At Google DeepMind, Veda Panneershelvam was one of the key engineers who designed and built the AlphaGo agent. The team later published their work in a front-page Nature paper that became one of the most cited AI papers of all time.

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Katie Hoffman, an industrial controls veteran, recognized the potential impact of applying AI to industrial systems for dynamic control. She had worked on the design and implementation of hundreds of industrial control projects and understood the major importance of domain expertise to successfully apply AI in production.

Noting the success of AlphaGo in defeating the world’s Go Grandmaster, Jim connected with Veda to develop an AI to control Google’s data center infrastructure. Jim founded DeepMind Energy and the system deployed at one of Google’s data centers was able to drive 40% energy efficiency within an already optimized plant facility.

While working on a project together, Jim and Veda met Katie. They realized that general purpose reinforcement learning could achieve breakthrough performance in wildly different application domains. The true challenge and innovation was to figure out how to ingest domain knowledge in a scalable manner - together they left their respective roles and founded Phaidra in 2019.

The co-founders created Phaidra to build an AI control platform leveraging general intelligence. We know this technology — self-learning, autonomous control systems underpinned by general intelligence — represents the future of industrial automation.

Phaidra Leadership

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Jim Gao

Co-Founder

Chief Executive Officer

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Katie Hoffman

Co-Founder, President

Chief Operating Officer

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Veda Panneershelvam

Co-Founder

Chief Technology Officer

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Our Investors

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Phaidra’s Mission

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To make the industrial sector radically more resource-efficient. We are creating a future where human prosperity is fundamentally less dependent on the consumption of the planet’s finite resources.


The industrial sector accounts for the vast majority of the world’s resource consumption. Every aspect of modern life depends on complex industrial processes (e.g. factories, power plants, data centers) that convert large quantities of raw materials and/or energy into finished goods and services.

Phaidra will achieve this mission via self-learning control systems. Our service is a closed-loop (i.e. autonomous) AI control system, trained on historical data that learns and improves over time at managing the industrial facility.

See our Applications page to learn more

This approach is fundamentally different from how the industrial sector operates today. Massive facilities operate the same way year after year as they rely upon hard-coded controls logic - i.e. explicitly programmed systems that do the same thing over and over again.

Phaidra envisions a future of truly intelligent infrastructure. A future where physical infrastructure does not continuously degrade — but rather self improves — every single day. A future where human prosperity does not mean environmental degradation. This is our contribution towards that future.

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Feb 7, 2024GS Futures

Why we invested in Phaidra

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