Manu Sharma is an engineer, designer, and serial entrepreneur. He is the Founder & CEO of Labelbox, an AI software company, backed by some of the finest investors in the world. Previously, Manu worked on computer vision and analytics products at Planet Labs and led the development of the app marketplace at DroneDeploy. During his academic career, he co-founded Ardulab, an open source system to conduct experiments in International Space Station and a small renewable energy systems company.
He studied aerospace engineering with a wide range of robotics, electrical engineering, computer science and industrial design subjects. He is also an active pilot and learned to fly with Dick Rutan, an aviation legend. He holds M.S. and B.S. degrees from Stanford University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Manu Sharma was born in Roorkee, India, into a family of artists and engineers. Raised primarily in industrial towns across northern India, Manu's father, a textile engineer and DIY scientist, had a profound influence on his early interests in physics, aero-astro, and engineering. As an only child, during formative years, Manu was raised by a single parent, her mother.
Despite acquiring his first computer at the age of 15, Manu's insatiable curiosity and passion for learning led him to pursue aero-astro education in the United States. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, an institution renowned for its aviation expertise. At Embry-Riddle, Manu contributed to various innovative projects, including blended wing body aircraft, canards, bio-inspired flexible wing concepts, vertical axis wind turbines, and passive bi-static radars. One of his most notable achievements during this time was launching a camera into near space using a balloon for under $200.
Manu's dedication to promoting aerospace innovation led him to organize a TEDx event focused on the future of the industry. In his final year at Embry-Riddle, he collaborated with Brian Rieger to develop and commercialize small wind and solar renewable energy systems.
In 2012, Manu participated in Singularity University's graduate studies program in Silicon Valley, where he developed Ardulab, an open-source system designed for scientific research aboard the International Space Station. Despite setbacks from launch failures, Manu continued to pursue his passion for aerospace and technology during his graduate studies at Stanford University.
At Stanford, Manu delved into optimization algorithms, phased array antennas, and industrial design. His work on projects such as Ardulab, a wearable device for tracking basketball shots, and precision computer vision guided landing systems for drones and small satellites led to opportunities at Planet Labs and DroneDeploy.
Manu ultimately joined DroneDeploy as one of its first engineers, where he designed and built the CoPilot system for flying drones over the internet using an LTE link. As the company shifted to a software-only approach, Manu transitioned into a product manager role and led the development of the app marketplace alongside Daniel Rasmuson.
During this time, he learned to fly with Dick Rutan in Mojave, California. This is one of the most cherished moments of his life.
In 2017, after 3.5 years at DroneDeploy, Manu joined Planet Labs to lead the data analytics platform. His experience with developing computer vision systems at Planet Labs, which operated hundreds of satellites in low earth orbit to image the Earth's landmass daily, eventually led to the founding of Labelbox with Daniel Rasmuson and Brian Rieger. Labelbox quickly became an important software company in the AI infrastructure space and raised over $180 Million in venture capital from some of the finest investors in Silicon Valley.
Manu Sharma's journey from his humble beginnings in India to his remarkable achievements in aerospace, technology, and entrepreneurship reflects his unwavering commitment to innovation and passion for learning.