Early investors in B2B startups pay for free pilots for big empires

In the last 4-5 years, you could observe an investment boom in B2B startups.

It has become a great business: attract investments, make a product/technology  and sell the company to a major technological Empire.

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The popularity of this model can be probably explained by the bigger profitability corporations get from these external investments compared with in-house investment in R&D. Continue reading “Early investors in B2B startups pay for free pilots for big empires”

Virtual Reality: Gender and Religious barriers

I sell Virtual Reality solutions of my company Augmented Pixels since 2011.

For the last 2 years we have participated in exhibitions on three continents – North America (the United States), Europe (the Great Britain) and Asia/Middle East (the UAE, Turkey)

As I represent the company at the booth, and communicate directly with people, first feedback about our products comes directly to me.

It is a lot of fun to observe how unexpected obstacles sometimes arise on the way of new technologies due to gender differences and religious traditions of people. Continue reading “Virtual Reality: Gender and Religious barriers”

My Dream is to finish building the drone from my childhood :=)

Hi!

In the previous blog post “Automotive modeling – my childhood hobby in the USSR” I wrote about how I was building car models and participated in competitions with them when I was 7 years old.

After two years of building model cars, I wanted to focus on creating model aircrafts.

They do not look like modern drones, but definitely are their predecessors.

What is a model aircraft?
It is an airplane with a gasoline or a kerosene engine that flies around the pilot and is controlled by means of special wire ropes. These models are called control line aircrafts in the USA – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_line

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Continue reading “My Dream is to finish building the drone from my childhood :=)”

Automotive modeling – my childhood hobby in the USSR

Hi!

For the last two years my company is developing a navigation system for drones.

 

I am very glad that we work in this field, as it is the realization of my childhood passion!!

At the age of 7 (1990, the USSR), I went to the aircraft and car modeling club and within the next 3 years my models took 1-3 places in competitions.

I think my readers would be interested to know how the models were created in the USSR and how the competitions took place. Continue reading “Automotive modeling – my childhood hobby in the USSR”

Startups: Focusing on Execution Instead of Employees’ Innovation

We often observe that successful startups are created by former employees of other innovative companies, where their ideas were not taken seriously and were left without consideration.

Why does this happening? Why do people with brilliant ideas leave companies and start their own businesses rather than realizing their ideas within existing structures and possibly earn more money easier? Continue reading “Startups: Focusing on Execution Instead of Employees’ Innovation”

Lifehack: how to improve your sales skills in Silicon Valley for free :=)

In March 2015 one of my startups Augmented Pixels raised $ 1m in investments from VC investors.

We got pretty good news coverage in mass media.

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The next day after that my phone started ringing off the hook as different sales managers were offering me everything from headhunting and office leasing services to obscure сloud servers … and even offering to send me the news about funding printed and put in a frame.

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The first reaction to this load of sales calls was simple – just to hang the phone as soon as I realized that that was not a client calling but just another attempt to sell me something.

But in a day this strategy did not help anymore – phone calls became very frequent, 2 phone calls per hour. I became sick of them and even started to think about turning off the phone for a week, which was of course unacceptable.

But what to do in such a desperate situation?

Of course, look for ways to get profit !!!! Continue reading “Lifehack: how to improve your sales skills in Silicon Valley for free :=)”

Technology – a ticket to the top for regional elites

As i may see existing global generating centers of meanings and concepts relate regional elites to the category of “public services” and actively reduce the percentage of added value, which is given to these elites for their services as renumeration.
How these elites can increase the amount of added value and the subjectivity (the possibility of their participation in global processes and “elevated added value” is meant under the notion – subjectivity)?

The most famous method in the whole course of history is war, which resulted in the regional elite to increase its influence and thereby gain greater weight in global processes.
But in today’s world wars have already lost their significance and do not guarantee the ability to enter any niche, since society has ceased to function on the “territorial principle”.

Moreover, the physical seizure of the territory significantly reduces the competitive performance, whereas the main resources are the social structure, people and their ability to generate technologies, meanings, ideas, but not “mineral resources”. The war destroys society and throws it far back including the comparison to invading society. Continue reading “Technology – a ticket to the top for regional elites”

Forbes Ukraine: Why Ukrainian startups move to California

ORIGINAL ARTICLE you can found here: Forbes Ukraine

 

The founder of Augmented Pixels Vitaly Goncharuk is talking about the reasons why his startup has moved to Silicon Valley.

In late March, Odessa startup Augmented Pixels raised $ 1 million from investors in California and The Hive Steltec Capital. The same day the founder and CEO of the company Vitaly Goncharuk announced company relocation from Odessa, Ukraine to Silicon Valley, the United States. In the interview for Forbes Vitali spoke about the absence of differences between Kiev and Odessa, the mentality of people in the Valley and the reasons for moving the company from native Ukraine, while the company is already included in top-20 technology companies in the world in the field of augmented and virtual reality, from native Ukraine

Our startup Augmented Pixels develops technologies in the field of virtual, augmented reality and robotics, as well as specific sales platforms. We have gained a significant portfolio of exclusively Western clients – essentially we do not look for customers from the CIS. This is one reason why we are changing the location – to be closer to our current and potential customers.

The startup was founded in 2011 and has been actively developing since then. We are originally from Odessa, and there is no sense in moving around Ukraine, for example, to Kiev, in the process of business growth. In terms of international business development in the field of IT Kiev is approximately at the same level as Odessa – unfortunately, at a very low one.

In 2014, the destabilization of the situation in the country started, the fighting in the East of Ukraine. It also affected our startup: a large number of foreign companies have put on pause orders for infrastructure projects. It also affects the process of attracting investments: companies with Ukrainian residence find it difficult to attract money, foreign investors are very cautious with local projects. All this has further strengthened our thoughts about changing the country.

In 2014 we moved to California to participate in a start-up accelerator Plug & Play, and then decided to stay. In order to enter new markets and reach active expansion, it was decided to attract investments exclusively from American investors, in search of which our first investors AVentures helped us a lot. The fact of staying in California helped to increase the ranking of Augmented Pixels, and a difficult search for investors turned into choosing the best of the proposals. As a result, we have received investments from The Hive and Steltec Capital and became fully American company. We do not hide Ukrainian roots of the company – on the contrary, it allows us to endear people. Perhaps the most positive feeling about being in California is that almost all of my surrounding thinks not about “taking everything and dividing the budget”, but about “how to create something and change the world.” Thoughts of people are directed to the future, not to the past. Therefore, they are changing the world, instead of standing still, stuck in fictional conflicts of the past. And no one cares where you are from, what is your skin color and sexual orientation or what language you think on.

Also, it should be noted the American style of doing business and communicating: if you do the best product and work honestly, people are willing to work together and sign up deals literally during the second meeting. In the US infrastructure for IT business is optimized at its best and it is an ideal place to effectively realize your full potential. Silicon Valley – a great place for this: the guaranteed business security and access to the whole community (the presence of thousands of other companies in the same field).

For ourselves, we realized that it is worth the increase in living expenses, rent and tax coverage (life in California is very expensive). Of course everything shouldn’t be idealized. We are aware that the United States is the same country as others. There are also criminal areas with dying industry, corruption problems and complicated legislation. For example, in 2014 my car was robbed twice while I was in the United States, which had never happened to me in Ukraine. But the number of pros outweighs the cons greatly. That’s why we moved.

Despite its negative background, Ukraine remains one of the best locations for back development office. Moving the head office to the United States helps to keep jobs, employees continue spending money, help families and pay taxes in Ukraine. Moreover, I am very pleased that IT professionals have occupied the first position of highest paid professionals ranking in Ukraine over the past 1-2 years. Their knowledge is liquid on international markets; they make their living with their head, not by means of corruption.

Our country’s main problems are the lack of stability and controlled legislation, corruption and deterioration of personal security as a result of people impoverishment. It is critical for IT business, because the programmers are mobile and active people, and if they don’t like something, then they have no barriers for moving. Their knowledge is in demand everywhere. IT business is where people with brains are, and liquid professionals can afford to be where the best conditions are.
Such specialists cannot be “fixed” at some territory with restrictive measures. The right conditions should be created for them. However right now Ukraine does the opposite.

Our politicians and bureaucrats have to understand one simple thing – they will be able to receive their salaries from the Ukrainian IT business taxes, only if they become more competitive in running the country than Western politicians and bureaucrats. Now the trend is the opposite, although we can see some positive signs. Entrepreneurs are mostly optimists; therefore I hope that soon we will come back on a positive development track again.
Anyway, my friends’ efforts in state reforms allow me to be optimistic.

Boom in AR/VR as a result of global competition in mobile industry

In the last 1-2 years, we have been witnessing an active interest on the part of global corporations, such as Google, Samsung, Apple etc to the area of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.

What causes such close attention to our sphere in the recent years and why corporations were not particularly interested in developments in the field of VR and AR before?

In my opinion, in the 90s world producers of “personal electronics” only slightly competed with each other and engaged more in the expansion in local markets – for example Nokia was almost unknown in the United States, while Motorolla almost was not represented in the European market.

Prior to 2003-2004, these corporations were securing markets, teaching consumers how to use smartphones and in fact were creating very similar platforms and technologies.

With the emergence of iPhone from Apple the market essentially got the first universal platform that provides services and deliver content to customers. It has become popular in all markets, which qualitatively changed the global nature of how companies work in mobile industry.

As a result, instead of expansion in local markets we got global competition. Those who could not scale its business left the market.

If we analyze the development of mobile phones, the market share of major players in the last 2-3 years, we can see that the period of expansion ended for them and they started competing very harshly with each other in terms of “burning marketing budgets,” which results in the decreases of their margins. There is nothing fundamentally new that has changed in smartphones – the competition is in the “screen size” and additional services, which in fact are quite simple to add.

What is the easiest method to get away from the direct and unfavorable competition?
That’s right – start developing adjacent areas or even better – create new markets.

One of these promising new markets is VR and AR.

It is our sphere of VR and AR that is slowly, but steadily was able to create the prototype devices just by the time the open competition among the major manufacturers of smartphones started. These prototypes allow to deliver content and to offer new services to consumers more effectively (not in 2D, but in 3D), but even more importantly IN LARGE SCALE.

Therefore, the major manufacturers of smartphones have started actively invest in this area, realizing that the next battle for the consumers’ wallets will not be at arm’s length, but directly in front of consumers’ eyes.

Well, we can only increase our efforts to develop the most organic devices and interfaces in VR and AR.

Due to the growing competition in the VR and AR between large corporations the best companies in VR and AR will get an opportunity to reach out to consumers and become popular among them by creating an entirely new reality or by augmenting it!

Best regards,
Vit Goncharuk

vit
e-mail: v at vactivity.com
Founder of Augmented Pixels