Microstock Expo in Berlin 2013

Microstock Expo Berlin 2013

It’s our second visit to Microstock Expo - the best European event for stock photography. We visited the first year the conference was organized and all the lectures were extremely insightful.

Stock photography is slowly changing. Not only professional cameras are quite accessible for the masses but the rise of the smart phone photography gets even more people excited about the possibility to make money even with photos shot with not so good cameras as current mobile phone cameras are.

There were couple of lectures that were quite relevant to what we are up to currently in Imagga.

One of the most interesting topics during the conference was the keywording. What was striking for us that most of the people from the industry do not actually believe the keywording can be really automated. The human touch still plays significant role in determining the key words that best describe an image. It’s probably needless to day we totally believe there’s room for automation in the keywording. Obviously we have the difficult task to convince partners that we can really be of help with technology like automated tagging.

MIcrostock Expo Berlin

One of the most practical keynote speeches was done by Luis Alvares from Stock Performer, a platform for micro stock analysis. They’ve done quite extensive analysis of the words that sell well and once that are quite widespread but actually do not sell well at all.

Overall - great event with what of potential partners, so we are excited we were part of it.


SeedHack, hacking with hackers in London

Georgi @ Google Campus for SeedHack

Imagga took part at exciting hacking event - SeedHack 4.0, that was organized by SeedCamp in Google Campus London. Over 100 hackers from 17 countries participated and formed 16 teams. Imagga was one of the proud partners of the event including BBC News Labs, EyeEm, Imagga, Facebook, Getty Images, Google, HarperCollins, Nokia, Thomson Reuters and Stupeflix.

It’s quite busy month for Imagga - full with exciting events. Before going to London for SeedHack, we were in Berlin for Techcrunch Disrupt Europe, in Dublin for WebSummit and then back to Berlin for Microstock Expo. Georgi and Georgi (our CTO and super talented ninja-developer) attended Seedhack and presented Imagga APIs. It was quite exciting as it happen to co-occur with the soft-launch of our new categorization API. We love developers and hackathons are totally the right place to be! Hackathons are hot for us not just as opportunity to spread the word about our APIs but to also hack and take active part in the events. We stay during the night, and we love it!

It’s always great to have people excited about your product, specially developers. Lots of people came to talk to us. Actually five out of sixteen teams requested accounts and will further evaluated the APIs. One team integrated our auto cropping API, one team integrated the auto categorization API and a team played with our stock image search. In return we took advantage of the uber-cool Adnroid testing farm in Google Campus and tested our newest and greatest image organization app Sliki (sign up for early invite). More on Sliki to follow in separate blog post, you will love what it can do for your personal photos.

Partnering to events is great, but we are hackers as well and couldn’t stay with crossed hands and just watch how other participants are having fun. Getty Images challenged us if we can distinguish between horse and donkeys and we’ve been busy adjusting our classifier to take the challenge. It turned to be quite successful.

It’s interesting that 3 out of 5 short keynotes were actually about images. It’s obvious images are playing key role in helping out startups communicate it’s idea. More than that, image intensive startups are growing in number and we believe this is great fit for our image analysis APIs.

Literatrip

It feels great when a team utilizing your technology wins a prize. LiteraTrip won 2nd and they used our StockPodium search API.

See the projects that actually presented Sunday

  • Quicklearner – learning languages with pictures
  • Afterhours – shows you where the next bar is that is still open
  • Literatip – connecting people and places to their books
  • Moodmusic – play music to your mood
  • Sokrates – memory game for kids with audio and visuals
  • Braintrainer – brain trainer app that connects sport images with music
  • Tunez – music discovery app that combines user generated videos with 20s audio tracks you to share and discover music
  • destionationopen.com –  curated travel search with open destinations
  • Picit – easily attach pictures out of the web to your mail in a browser
  • OFDB – platform for aggregated soccer content
  • OppoZeit – shows two sides of a news story
  • Appp – helps users engage with content using various APIs (Facebook, Getty etc.)
  • Crowdmash – mixing content of an event to brands
  • Triber – visualizes and quantifies relationships between people and their follower using Twitter API
  • 3D Model of BBC Content by William – shows pictures of news content in a 3D model
  • Model Equity Calculator for Founders with Option Pool Expansion – helps founders to value their company and calculate equity

More on the event you can find on SeedCamp blog.


Imagga @ WebSummit Dublin

Georgi @ WebSummit Dublin

It’s been busy October & November taking part in events. After quite productive Techcrunch Disrupt Berlin, Georgi and I went straight to Dublin for WebSummit. Boy, it’s a big event. A lot of things happening at the same time so if you are not prepared with good plan what to see, who to meet, you might be lost in the crowd.

Imagga took part in Alpha, special display program for startups. To be honest, it felt very impersonal. Each startup had just 1 meter of display space, no chairs, really bad Internet. On the top of that the room was way to hot. Startup life to the fullest! The bad things is we payed for that experience. Couple of lessons learned:

  • when they call you and say you’ve been pre-selected as one of the few very promising startups from the region, do not get over excited. It simply means they want your money. Specially if you have fundraised and published that in Angel List.

  • Ask how much this will cost and double it to get the real idea of the budget you need to have.

  • If they promise there will be over 1000 investors attending this means nothing if you do not get invited to the special VIP event for these very special bread. Do not expect an investor line in front of your booth, specially when there are over 2000 startups presenting, lectures in 3 different rooms and so much going on.

  • go to parties and make sure you do not drink too much - this is where you meet all kinds of people and can really pitch them on neutral grounds over beer or whiskey. This is the most important part of the event, seriously.

That’s the negative part. Of course it was awesome event and we met lots of interesting people. Lots of interesting cases that we didn’t think of, some new possible partners really interested to plug in our image understanding APIs. Even more exciting, on the second day, when we were not exhibiting, we decided to go around and meet some interesting teams. It was big surprise lots of time we ended up answering questions on other companies' booths about Imagga image analysis technology. Of course we were polite enough to go and ask questions about other people's projects, but that just happened.

We didn’t have time to listen to the exciting speaker lineup but one -  Elon Musk, founder of Space X & Tesla and Enda Kenny, prime minister of Ireland. We were there to listen to Elon Musk, and were quite impressed by his humble attitude and very visionary ideas he shared with the audience.

You can see the discussion with Elon Musk on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adnjfOlYpCA

If you stopped by and talked to us, thank you. If you stopped by, but we were busy talking to somebody else, drop us a line and we will be more than happy to see if we can be of help.


Remixing Content - Imagga at Seedhack London

imagga@seedhack_blog

We are excited we are taking part in Seedhack 4.0, Seedcamp hack event that will take place in Central Working at Google Campus in the heart of East London’s Tech City. Remixing Content is the theme of this event, so we thought Imagga APIs are perfect match for the nerds to play and mess up specially with our specialty - images.

This spring we partnered Seedchack 3.0 aiming at fashion.  11 out of 21 teams requested access to Imagga APIs, 3 teams ended up trying it and one team got it’s hands dirty and implemented Imagga Color API into a project called Colourtag.me - a slick and easy way to discovery what colors fits you.

The Seedhack experience is awesome. The idea behind the event is not just to have fun and play with exciting new technologies, but since Seedcamp is organizing it, there is great chance if you have a nice idea, form and manage a good team, and execute well, to get scored and get even funded. That’s we call startup fun and that can actually turn into some serious business.

We've made significant progress with our technology and will be offering three APIs - Smart Cropping API, Color API and Auto Categorization API. The last is our latest attempt to fix the problem with organizing the rapidly growing image collections and will be publicly available for first time at Seedhack 4.0. Be sure not to miss it! ;-)

What Auto Categorization API can be used for:

  • you can use it to automatically categorize images scraped in volume from the net
  • works great with personal mobile image collections - we snap lots of photos but non of the mobile platforms provide an easy and working way to organize these photos without spending days tagging or putting them in albums. When was the last time you did an album on your iPhone?
  • you can use it to distinguish between product and complex scenes. Let say you want to hack IKEA website and need to get just the product photos but not the room setups.
  • can't wait to see how you will use the API and surprise us

The hackathon will run through the weekend from November 8-10th and two of our team members will be there to help out setting the APIs. Who knows, they may end up hack a bit and mix Imagga APIs with some other useful tool from the great list of API partners to the event, some of which are:

  • BBC News Labs
  • Crowdprocess
  • EyeEm
  • Facebook
  • Getty Connect
  • Harper Collins
  • Nokia UK
  • Stupeflix

If you happen to be in London during this weekend and mixing content is something you what to try, do apply as the available spots are few. We will be more than happy to meet you in person and guide you through the opportunities Imagga APIs can offer.


Imagga @ Techcrunch Disrupt Europe

Techcrunch Disrupt Europe

What a week! It will start with super cool startup event in Berlin - Techcrunch Disrupt Europe, then off to Dublin for WebSummit. But let start with Berlin. Imagga will be at Startup Alley and you can VOTE so we can be selected to present on stage.

Techcrunch Disrupt Europe in Berlin is two day event where the best European startups will be pitching on stage, will meet investors, will get together to network, find partners, get noticed and party a bit. Berlin is the perfect place for all that. No need to state Berlin have positioned itself as the startup hub of mainland Europe. Sure London is also very hot place to do technology business, but Berlin has it’s big advantages as well. To mention some - relatively cheap to live, lots of tech-savvy young people, awesome club and underground culture.

We will be attending Techrunch Disrupt Europe and also have a stand during the two days. We were here in the spring for Photo Hack Day organized by eyeEm and we were impressed from what we’ve seen. No time for sightseeing again (the cool Bundestag building can wait, it’s not going anywhere any time soon ;-) ) but this is not what we are here for.

We will be showcasing a new exciting project named Sliki that aims to help you better organize your personal photos collections by magically placing them in matching categories. You can sign up for early invite NOW.

If you are in Berlin for Techcrunch Disrupt we will love meet at our stand. Food and drinks are not allowed but we can give you some cool stickers while chating about the exciting image understanding technologies we are developing.

You can find us at the Startup Alley in the Enterprise section. If you like what we do...

VOTE FOR IMAGGA 

so we can present on stage our awesome technology.


Do We Work Hard Enough For You To Like Us

Imagga - Hardest Working Startup at WebSummit

Imagga will be taking part in WebSummit in Dublin at the end of October and we are excited of that opportunity to meet with lots of startups, interested investors and hackers from all over the world. We are working really hard and, fingers crossed, we will have some really exciting news to announce during the event.

The Hardest Working Startup competition is one of the ways to raise awareness on the great startups that will be pitching and exhibiting at the event. The VIP treatment - plane tickets, transfer and hotel accommodation is just the top of the value proposition of that game. As we are busy working on what's important the most - our image analysis technology, we will not be spending much time pushing you to like our page, so you have one chance, really.

If you want to help, pls visit the specially designated Imagga WebSummit page, and press Like. What we will appreciate the most is if you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and possibly Angel List. Ah, and why not sing up for some of our great image APIs and hack with our service. Any feedback will be highly appreciated.

If you happen to attend WebSummit, drop us a line in the comment box below and lets arrange a meeting to chat about images, SaaS, APIs, you name it!


Lessons learned, presentation at WebExpo Prague

Presenting at WebExpo, Prague

Exciting four days in beautiful Prague! We've been invited to participate in The Founder Stories, part of WebExpo 2013, the biggest web event in Czech Republic. It was lovely to see so many young people really interested in design, Internet of things, startups, all things digital.

Georgi and I were honored to be on the stage in the Business Hall telling Imagga's exciting story. We tried to be very practical and share the lessons learned during the years we've been working to shape what Imagga is as company and what Imagga offers as technology. Hey, everybody hates to go to event and listen to product presentations, right?! That's why we skipped how-great-we-are part and talked on how to focus on the product and not spend too much time pursuing fame and money.

WebExpo 2013 Prague Here are some of the highlights of our short speech:

  • Be Visionary - Foresee the trends, do not follow.
  • Do not waste too much energy to apply for every single competition opened
  • Funding is great, but at the end of the day you should deliver your product / service / technology
  • Do not over-optimize your company valuation. This may dilute the goodwill of your investors and kill your momentum.
  • Don’t want to be always right. This doesn’t prove that you are smart. It only proves you are a smart ass and people get unmotivated to communicate and work with you.
  •  Location, Location, Location - You know, there is this myth that if you are not an USA citizen, haven’t graduated Stanford and do not have good connections in the SV there are no ways to success for you! There's some truth in this, but not really.
  • Create Real Value and customers will find you. Remember customers are your best investors.
  • Your only power tool is your execution!
  • Work 24/7, be passionate about what you create.
  • Help the community - efforts to support the local startup community always pay off - you will be recognized as community builder, people will love to join your team, etc.
  • Be ambitious, set your goals high enough, dream big!

It was great to hang out with the Node5 - great co-working place in Prague. Staying and sleeping there was awesome - reminded us of the humble beginnings of all startups and how cool is to be able to share everything with people of the same breed ;-)

Great chats with the local inhabitants of Node5 as well with the invited participants in the Founder's Stories track of the conference. Node5 was awesome host. And did I mention the special treat for all founders that shared their stories - 1 hour scenic trip of Prague in Hammer limousines, 5 in total, what a blast!

Node5 limo

Thank you Prague for warm welcome. It's been awesome event and hope to see you soon, why not here in Sofia.


Imagga at European Pirate Summit 2013

Imagga at EPS13

ARRRR! European pirates gathering in scrap yard next to very busy and noisy railroad, that's European Pirate Summit. It'a an event one of it's kind. Over 600 stARRRtup pirates from Europe and beyond have gathered in Cologne to walk the plank but stay on board, share treasures, get rum-inspired, fire-tested MVPs,  exchange startup pray and train crew.

Very exciting Imagga was part of European Pirate Summit 2013 together with really big Bulgarian delegation - Stefan from LAUNCHub, Boyan from StorPool, Ivo from UAN, Simeon from SocialNet365, Milen Ivanov from Sponsia, and couple of Bulgarians that study and work in Cologne.

Getting to the Western part of Europe from Sofia looks like it's not easy. For second time our flight was delayed (come on WizzAir you can do better then trowing a croissant and bottle of water for 4 hour wait), the previous time was for Photo Hack day with BulgariaAir in June.

Besides the travel trouble, Cologne and the event was awesome. And I mean it! The startup community in that part of Germany is not as big as in Berlin, but still very vibrant.

We were invited to pre-event dinner in White Rabbits Mansion - co-working, co-living, co-partying space with awesome vibe and even more awesome inhabitants.

Monday started with participation in pitching workshop in one of Cologne co-working space - Clusterhaus. Great feedback for Imagga presentation, but may be too much slides. 3 min pitch is not easy to do, specially when it's not just product pitch but you need to say a bit about the company, competition, business model, next steps, current customers, etc.

The speakers lineup during the first day was extremely exciting - Evan Nisselson on Ups and Downs of Entrepreneurship, Gabriel Hubert on Pivoting like a boss, Rob Fitzpatrick on Lean Startup in Practice to mention some. Oh, the party, but I am not supposed to write about this, right! You know, mainly networking, biz cards exchange… A, and a bonfire, the pirate style.

Day two was marked with the excitement of Walking the plank - 9 startups where town to the VC sharks!

Some of the talks that I visited and really enjoyed - Shira Abel on Starrrtup Marketing for Pirates, Andreas Klinger on Startup Metrics for Pirates, Devin Hunt on Advanced Business Model Design and the closing keynote of Rob Fitzpatrick.

Pitching time, the adrenaline was speeding up my pulse, and walking on the stage felt really good. Imagga's presentation went really good, just on time and with interesting questions from the jury.

We've even got a really cool suggestion from Andreas Klinger (originally it was proposed by Luca Sartoni last year at WebIt in Istanbul) - pitch Imagga as offering MAGIC as a service instead of the boring SaaS. Thanks guys, we gonna use that in the future pitches ;-)

Even though Imagga was not one of the three finalists of the pitching, we got really positive feedback and genuine interest in what we do from both VCs and prospective users of our services.

Worth mentioning are two publications in the German startup press:

Imagga Joins The Pirates This August in Cologne

Georgi Pirate

Hey Pirates of Europe, we are happy to announce we will be joining the Pirate Summit in Cologne this August. We fought for the right to be there and won the ARRRR noise vote of the public at Pirates Summit Sofia meetup.

European Pirate Summit 2013 is probably the craziest start up event we will be attending. This will be our first time at the summit but we have high expectations as friends that attended last year were really happy with the event  in Cologne.

It’s advertised as two day event but there pre-events the whole week. We might be attending the hackaton during the weekend.

THe organizers promise we will be able to meet founders, VCs and business angels at Odonion, a scrapyard in Cologne which – what an unusual place to meet a VC, but hey, why not, VC are people, and they drink beer and they need to have some normal talks. With crazy startupers!

See you in Cologne, European startup pirates!


Imagga Pitching at TechCrunch Sofia Meetup

TC Meetups Balkans

To be under the spot of TC is the ultimate desire of any startup all over the world. We all have sent friendly mails to Mike Butcher and the rest kindly asking to consider covering our great startups. Some passed through, some didn’t  Hey, we all believe our product/service are game changers, so we never give up. I’ve even spoken to top tire venture capitalist from KPCB October last year, and one of his main remarks were: “If you are not a favorite of TC, you are doomed.”

Good news is TC came to visit. Having John Biggs, TC east cost editor, in Sofia two days ago is big win for the Bulgarian startup community. Many thanks for Ivan from Netocratic for making it happen. We even ended up owning John’s 3D printed head, that’s proudly displayed in our office. Nice reminder to ping him any time something significant comes up from Imagga.

Georgie at Techrunch Sofia Meetup

Imagga was invited to present as one of the preselected 7 Bulgarian funded teams (2 from LAUNCHub and 5 from Eleven). Georgi did great presenting Imagga. Some of the questions after presentation were about the competitive landscape and our sales efforts.

It’s great Bulgaria is finally on the map of the TechCrunch and other media covering tech startups. We strongly believe the region is not covered enough and great tech potential is sparsely hidden here and there in the Balkan cities. There’s new entrepreneurship wave arising and we believe Bulgaria and particularly Sofia has the chance to stand out. There is growing startup community, co-working places fill to the brim, startup events almost every night, lots of tech savvy, ready to move out of big corporations guys, and last but not least funding opportunities in the face of LAUNCHub, Eleven and some angle investors.