How to manage “AI” development and R&D team in big corporations without “casting spells” and “doing rain dances”?

As my main work is related to AI and brains for robots, ( and I write in a blog about AI use cases in different industries, some big corporations involved in traditional industries ask me to help them solve problems with their AI research & development.

Usually, these problems are related to “over-budgeting” of R&D or issues with goal setting, or inefficient management in R&D teams.

Here are the most common issues and takeaways from my experience: Continue reading “How to manage “AI” development and R&D team in big corporations without “casting spells” and “doing rain dances”?”

M&A of a tech start-up: How to resolve the conflict of interests between investors and technology co-founders?

For the last 4 years, I was involved in various roles in 5 processes of M&A of technology startups.

Every time I observed the same conflict of interests between investors and a core tech team/co-founders because in every technology startup there are 3 groups of stakeholders with different interests:
1. Investors;
2. Investment banker, legal and accounting teams;
3. Co-founders/technology team who developed the core IP that is the subject of acquisition.
Continue reading “M&A of a tech start-up: How to resolve the conflict of interests between investors and technology co-founders?”

Computer Vision in Eastern Europe: Bunch of Cool Researchers & Engineers, but Lack of Big Challenging Projects

I live and run a business in Silicon Valley ( – SLAM and CV for Robots and AR / VR, est. 2011), but since 2012 I spend a part of my time to the systematic development of CV / ML in Eastern Europe:

 – Since 2014 I have been holding a conference on Computer Vision and Machine Learning that gathers the largest community of  CV/ML Researchers and Engineers (more than 1700) – EECVC (web –;

 – With a group of activists we popularize CV/ML specialties, including active work on the opening of labs and majors in universities (MSc of computer vision, etc.).

– I manage a stealth community of angel investors from the United States interested in investing in CM / ML startups and cooperate with R&D centers in Eastern Europe;

After Amazon’s acquisition of Ring for 1 billion dollars with R&D office in Eastern Europe, the interest in opening R&D centers in this region rose significantly – everyone is impressed by the fact that Ring Labs could grow from 10 people to 500 (!!!!) in 2 years, which is almost impossible to do in Silicon Valley with the same level of new employees.  Continue reading “Computer Vision in Eastern Europe: Bunch of Cool Researchers & Engineers, but Lack of Big Challenging Projects”

Will employers “hire” neural networks /robots instead of Harvard/Stanford students?

July 9-10, 2016 – was a wonderful and very interesting weekend: on Saturday I organized the Eastern European Computer Vision Conference, and on Sunday I held a private event for 20 people with INCOSE Russian chapter research director to discuss the burning issues in the field of Systems Engineering.

A lot of conclusions after such intellectual weekend have been made.

The most interesting of those that can be published is the following:

The education system in the last years has been actively discussing issues of reforms and changes in teaching methods, but nothing really revolutionary has been offered – it is mainly the “imitation” of changes and reforms.

Why do I think so? Continue reading “Will employers “hire” neural networks /robots instead of Harvard/Stanford students?”

Virtual Reality could be the Best Visual Interface for Drones

Originally published at – Virtual Reality could be the Best Visual Interface for Drones 

As you may know, there will be a rapid utilization of drones for commercial purposes (products delivery, inspections, other commercial services, etc.) in the next 2–3 years.
In order to provide services in different areas drones will require either completely autonomous navigation or manual co-piloting, meaning human labor.

For the last 3 months we have been experimenting in our lab with more natural interfaces for the manual drone control. We expect that they can minimise the risk of crashing and increase the accuracy of co-piloting due to clarity and intuitive interface, which will be based on our navigational system and SLAM SDK.

One of the most interesting and intuitive interface ideas is to use virtual reality headset together with the gesture recognition sensor(like Leap Motion):


View in the headset: Continue reading “Virtual Reality could be the Best Visual Interface for Drones”

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.


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”

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,


Vitaliy Goncharuk

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