Energy management IT Ops ITechnology Interviews

ITechnology Interview with Kayne Grau, CEO at Uptake

ITechnology Interview with Kayne Grau, CEO at Uptake

“Cyber-secure data infrastructure is becoming even more important as companies move from on-premise systems to take advantage of the volume of data and analytics possible in the cloud.”

Hi Kayne, please tell us about your current role and how you arrived at Uptake.

I founded DRIVIN with Brad Keywell and served as its CEO until April 2017, when KAR Global acquired it. Last year, he brought me on as President at Uptake to help scale the company and make us the leading provider of industrial intelligence.

As CEO, my main responsibilities will be leading all operational activities, including organizational design, growing our global partner ecosystem, and refining our product suite.

Tell us little bit about your journey during the pandemic months and how your experience leading teams in the past helped you scale your opportunities?

The pandemic has raised the importance of being intentional about promoting culture in a hybrid or remote environment. The importance of culture itself has not changed. The shared understanding of company values, transparency to business and professional goals, effective communication, and consistent recognition all still ring true.

Also Read: ITechnology Interview with Chris Morales, CISO at Netenrich

Could you tell us more about Uptake and the services you offer?

Uptake serves industries like oil and gas, chemicals, energy, utilities, on-highway transportation, manufacturing, rail, mining, equipment dealers, the public sector and DoD. We enable businesses to lower maintenance costs, improve reliability, mitigate risk, and enhance sustainability through AI-powered industrial intelligence.

Our products often recommend people prioritize or act on their assets. To better plan asset maintenance and operation, address root causes of lagging productivity, correct underperformance, and prevent catastrophic equipment failure. With our software, companies can see when their fleets need attention and track and organize essential data more efficiently to make decisions faster.

What does your Ideal Customer Profile look like? Which regions and industries are you currently targeting to grow the business?

We serve companies around the world, as well as cities and local U.S. governments, who run heavy industrial operations like energy, chemicals, oil & gas, mining, on-highway transportation. Some customers include PepsiCo, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, New York Power Authority, Capital Power, and Ensign Drilling.

Data coming from heavy machinery is something that Uptake can use to help companies improve their business decisions. Industrial companies don’t have the time or patience to sift through data, so we lessen what is required of them by giving them intelligence. It points their teams in the right decision, given their business priorities.

Also Read: ITechnology Interview with Dana Chery, VP of Product Marketing at Salesforce

Please tell us about your relationship with the CMO, CIO and other C-level executives at Uptake. How do you establish a healthy relationship in the given remote working scenario?

Effective and timely communication is critically important. As a leadership team, we’re firmly committed to transparency in all parts of the organization, from the top-down and bottom-up. Communicating that truth helps create a trusting and collaborative work environment for everybody, whether that is remote or in person.


According to you, how are AI and IoT markets shaping around data privacy, IT Ops and Security and digital transformations? How do you secure your data infrastructure in the current hyper-threat challenges?

Cyber-secure data infrastructure is becoming even more important as companies move from on-premise systems to take advantage of the volume of data and analytics possible in the cloud. The greater risk of attack makes having backups for data stores a critical and worthwhile investment for an industrial business.

Hear it from the pro: How is the hiring industry shaping up in the AI/ IoT industry? What kind of skills and expertise are you hiring for in the current year?

With current company growth, we’re hiring across the board – from data scientists to software developers, and reliability engineers to experts in customer success, sales, and marketing for the AI, SaaS, and heavy industrial spaces. We’re looking for employees who think critically, are curious to learn more and challenge each other to bring out the best in one another.

As a CEO, your advice to other technology innovation and marketing companies:

Every time you can hear from a customer is an opportunity for improvement. Those closest to the problem usually. have the solution. With more clarity from the end-user, companies can go back and refine their product suite with the needs of their customers in mind.

Also Read: ITechnology Interview with Michael D’Onofrio, CEO at Orbus Software

Thank you, Kayne! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at]

Kayne Grau is CEO and Board Director at Uptake, a Chicago-based Industrial AI and Analytics company. Previously, Kayne was President and was driven by his desire to build high-performing teams and deliver easy-to-use advanced analytics to operators in the industrial enterprise space. As CEO, Kayne is responsible for evolving our product suite, enhancing deployment and customer success, and optimizing company operations. Previously, Kayne had various senior executive roles with KAR Global (NYSE: KAR), the acquirer of DRIVIN, a company he co-founded, and served as CEO until April 2017. In his free time, Kayne sits on various advisory boards, mentors local start-ups, and invests in technology-based companies in Chicago and Dallas.

Uptake Logo

Uptake is the industrial intelligence system, providing actionable insight for operators across a variety of industries. Uptake gives all departments — maintenance, reliability, operations, and financial teams — a single, shared, and contextualized view of every operational asset and interaction that affects performance. Driven by powerful data science models and cloud computing, Uptake’s products deliver actionable insights that predict and prevent asset failure, increase compliance with ESG initiatives, mitigate catastrophic risk, optimize maintenance strategy, reduce repair costs, enhance productivity, and ensure operator safety. With 40+ patents and recognized for leadership in Industrial AI by Gartner, the World Economic Forum, CNBC, and Forbes, Uptake is headquartered in Chicago with a presence in Canada, South America, Europe, India, and Australia. To stay up-to-date on what we’re doing, visit us at and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Related posts

ITechnology Interview with Daniel Graves, CTO at Delphix

Sudipto Ghosh

ITechnology Interview with Max Ciccotosto, Chief Product Officer at Impact

Sudipto Ghosh

ITechnology Interview with Dan Edlebeck, Co-Founder and CEO at Exidio

Sudipto Ghosh

Leave a Comment