Balkan Venture Forum is a regional event, aiming at encouraging entrepreneurship on the Balkans and building bridges between the local communities and other tech hubs in Europe and beyond.
Imagga was selected to take part in the startup competition. Our goal was to showcase our progress and also share knowledge and best practices with the other participants of the forum. Georgi did awesome presentation and answered the jury questions straightforward.
We are very happy to announce we were one of the finalists at the startup competition. It’s a small leap towards the bright future, that we envision as game changers in the image analysis. You will be seeing more of Imagga in the coming events here and there.
We also want to take the chance to thank the organizers for the great job. Without the thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem this event would not be possible, so a huge thumbs up for all the bold and sexy Bulgarian entrepreneurs, event organizers and friends. We hope to make Sofia really attractive for other startups from the region and why not make it regional startup hub.
by Chris Georgiev
Imagga will be taking part in the startup challenge during Balkan Venture Forum, that will take place in Sofia, May 21-22. BkVF is regional event that aims to showcase innovative companies to active investors and promote innovation and entrepreneurship.
We believe Imagga’s technology is quite innovative and hope it will be good match for the investors present. During the last couple of months our focus was solely on improving the technology and growing our customer base, so it’s quite exciting to step up on the pitching stage and share our progress.
Going to events it’s great, well, if that’s not all that you do. We will be at BkVF for networking, validating new ideas, getting to know prospective clients and meeting investors. We are also hiring so it will be great match if the best tech developers of the region happen to be there so we can meet and talk.
One of the fist times we pitched Imagga was at Mini Seedcamp London couple of years ago. It’s probably not a coincidence that Seedcamp comes to Sofia exactly during BkVF. Things have changed in the Bulgarian startup scene, and it’s exciting to start, work and innovate here in the region.
Ah, do we party? Yes, see you at the parties, there will be several!
We will be partnering with Eleven for Google I/O Extended Sofia event. It’s exciting you can not only see live the great sessions during the event but also do something – write a bit of code may be
We will be facilitating specially designated hacker’s corner at SOHO, where you can stop by and hack for an hour or a day. It’s up to you but feel welcomed to stay as long as you wish and start making your great ideas into working prototypes. If you do not have an idea but feel like coding, here are some ideas we come up:
These are just two ideas to help you start hacking. We will be more than please to help you with our APIs for some other great ideas connected to image manipulation that you might have.
For the most diligent there will be in-kind price of $500 in commercial API usage. Eleven, who’s hosting the event is offering wildcard for live interview for their next investment round.
More about Imagga APIs and how to hack using them can be found here – http://imagga.com/api/docs/
Even more detailed information:
We will be extremely happy to see you at Google I/O Extended Sofia and specially if you stop by the hacking corner. Most probably there you will find some Imagga team members, but if you need more information or if you want to reach out, pls, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or send message to Georgi – https://plus.google.com/u/0/110303707514543533758/
Continuing our tradition to partner image-related hackathons, we are happy to announce that we’ll provide Imagga API access and prizes for the competitors in the upcoming Photo Hack Day Berlin hackathon in June 1-2! The lead organizers are our friends from EyeEm.
In addition to awarding API credits and cash prizes, we are planning to announce some amazing news at the end of the event! If you are keen about images, hacking and starting startups – make sure to come around and hack with us and the other great partners of the event:
Photo Hack Day Berlin Sponsors & Friends
See you at the arty Platoon Kunsthalle venue!
The first one was Startup Weekend Mobile Sofia (Bulgaria), held in Vivacom HQ, April 5-7. Great event with more than 120 participants eager to brainstorm and prototype ideas about the next cool mobile apps. It was one of the best hackathons I’ve been at, not only in Bulgaria but worldwide. A lot of bright people and super productive engineers.
Something that made me extremely happy is that the most of the ideas were globally (and not locally) oriented – something that wasn’t typical in Bulgaria until recently. Let’s hope that this change in mentality will bring the Bulgarian startup community closer and closer to global success.
I took the last chance in Friday to pitch an idea and decided to pitch it as a spin-off project from Imagga, about building mobile app(s) based on our prototype for color search in fashion. How I pitched it is that we (Imagga) are ready to buy it after the hackathon and/or eventually hire the people Later on it turned out that some of the jury members have perceived this as a very smart move from Imagga (kind of “hacking the system”), but one that decreases the value of the whole project in the context of the event. I definitely don’t agree with that and I’d say our team was very motivated and passionate, because it really believes in the idea, and not because of eventual quick cash gains.
Here are we, working on ColorFit.me it two consecutive days, brainstorming and hacking like crazy:
We did an amazing job, pushing prototypes on all iPhone (native), Android (Adobe Air wrapper), and Windows Phone (native). Here is a video of them in action
The team also produced a wonderful presentation - http://colorfit.me/presentation/#/swsofia.
And we won! several prizes: 3rd place based on the jury vote, and 2nd-3rd place based on the audience vote. It’s still a nice performance though we think we should have won 1st place in both, and also the special prize from Microsoft for prototyping the app also in their platform in less than a day.
We are going to decide how to proceed with this in a few days and we do hope that you’ll be able to have access to the first versions of the apps in the app stores quite soon.
The second hackathon was Photo Hack Day 4, held in Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, April 6-7. The event went really good, and though we were partnering it remotely, it was quite busy for us -implementing several sugar features and tweaks based on customer demand
Happily, one of the teams that requested access to our APIs managed to integrate it in their hack ‘The Roll’, and it was featured as one of the eight honorable mentions in the The Next Web review of the event. Great job by the EyeEm team working on it!
There are a few more great hackathons coming in the next week(end)s – HackFMI and NASA International Space Apps Challenge 2013 – Sofia. What a month for startups and hackers!
by Georgi Kadrev
We are very excited to partner the 4th edition of Photo Hack Day to be held April 6-7 in the Facebook HQ in Menlo Park! Photo Hack Day This is “THE hackathon” when we talk about images. The last edtion has gathered more than 350 developers who’ve produced the impressive 72 innovate image related hacks! What better place than that to offer our APIs for some heavy hacking?!? It’s a privilege for us to be among lots of great API sponsors: Photo Hack Day – API Sponsors We do hope to see a lot of creative hacks using all these APIs. We’re offering prizes for all who integrate the Imagga API, plus a special cash prize for the the most creative integration! If you are around make sure to join the party and make some great use our APIs
As we announced last week - we were preparing to participate as an API partner in the 3rd edition of Seedhack druing the upcoming weekend. And we did! :) That was a really awesome experience for Imagga. The event started in Friday evening with a lot of hackers and fashionists. Surprisingly or not, most probably becaue of the topic, this was the first hackathon I've participtated with over 40% female attendance.
Passionate opening by the Seedcamp's team, followed by several keynote speeches from Nick Perrett from HarperCollins Publishers, Nick Cust from NET-A-PORTER.COM and Devin Hunt from Lyst, who provided a lot of inspiration to the participants.
They were followed by API speakers from HarperCollins, ASOS, Google, Net-A-Porter, Imagga (us) and Paypal. In our 5 min API presentation I tried to clearly communicate what Imagga and our APIs are about. It went quite well and a lot of excited people come nearby to talk after :). The word about the event and Imagga even managed to reach New York - in about half an hour after the presentation I got my first email from there, and another one two hours later, regarding the fashion week held in NY at the same time.
The serious hacking started Friday night and continued heavily through the next two days:
Now, let me share a few numbers that made us feel quite inspired to drill more deeply in the fashion vertical as an appropraite application field for what we do:
Mark Karu and team after a few hours of happy hacking :)
Happily enough, exactly this project was one of the five recognized at the award ceremony in Sunday! They win the "Fit & Finish" award, most probably because of their fast execution, including the implementation of a prototype and shooting a promotional video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPuPKRAV2Sc featuring the brain behind the project - Jessica Healy.
Now back on Imagga - in addition to the lots of trial requests and the succesfull API integration, from the numerous people that we talked to we got several very creative ideas for potential applications of our cropping and color search, and also some reasonable feature and tweak requests for the APIs. Thank you all, guys!
In conlusion - the event had very very positive atmosphere and was quite well organizated - no tension, everything went smoothly. It also turned out that it's great to have a particular vertical/topic/theme for an event like this - it brings like-minded hackers, mentors and partners and also allows for more objective judging. Well done Seedcamp! Carlos, Kirsten, Ricardo, and Vincent were very supportive through the whole event :) It was a pleasure for me to present imagga and to try to help to the eager hackers there, in your company. Good luck with the future Seedhacks!
Another job well done, so part of the Colourtag.me team and I decided to go for a beer. Luckily there were a few tables for tennis there, so we did our best to beat the locals :):
Awesome Seedhack weekend, really!!! :)
P.S.: I think that we managed to improve the public oppinion about Bulgaria at least a little bit this weekend. It should be more clear now that not all Bulgarians are low-qualified labor craving for UK social benefits ;)
P.S.2: You can take a look at the Seedcamp's team perspective of the event, including more details on all particapating and winning teams, here.
We are very excited about going to the 3rd edition of Seedcamp's Seedhack this weekend! It's a great chance to help hackers disrupt fashion and retail with our color extraction & search and smart cropping APIs.
We truly believe that fashion and retail are really appropriate field for application of our technologies, here and here are some reasons why.
It's also a great recognition for Imagga to be listed as an API partner among some legendary brand names and cool startups like Google, HarperCollins, Net-A-Porter, Paypal, and Wonga.
Exctided about meeting all the hackers, API partners, sponsors and the event organizers quite soon!
Make sure to catch up when you are around, and attend the Imagga API presentation in Friday (Feb 8th), 6:45 pm at Campus London.
P.S.: Big thanks to LAUNCHub who made the right kind of introductions :)
It was really exciting to be finalist for Intel Challenge Europe. We won second prize and this gave us the chance to compete with the best teams from all over the world, not somewhere but in Berkeley University.
So the journey began! Georgi and Chris were lucky to be able to travel and represent Imagga at IGC. Well, visiting UC Berkeley was really exciting itself. Both Chris and Georgi have graduated Technology Entrepreneurship in Sofia University but the program was actually drafted and sponsored by UC Berkeley. We've heard much of that great place, now visiting and taking part in Intel event was awesome.
Staying in a hotel just across the campus was super cool experience. You wake up in the morning really early (different time zone, jet legged) and look down to the street that goes to the campus and see hundreds of students. Almost made me get out of the room and go explore with some of them ;-)
The competition took place in Haas School of Business, nice building at the corner of the campus. UC Berkeley is liberal arts school so we were surprised to see so many students dressed up! Kind of in contradiction with the startup culture we've been tough and later to see down in the Valley. That explained the official attire for the whole competition. Somebody joked that's one of the reasons they placed Haas at the corner of the campus. You do not see much casual dressed students in campus ;-)
It was exciting to see lots of interesting people that have fought to come to the finals of Intel Global Challenge. It was also challenging to be able to connect and talk to all of the folks as the competition is not strictly IT. Actually most of the project were clean tech and social enterprises.
The competition was well organized but a bit over-managed. People in Europe are not used to be told to go to the restroom before taking 1 hour ride for example. Anyway, this might be the American way of organizing a bunch of aliens with strange names and business ideas ;-)
The best part of the competition, to be honest, were mentoring sessions. In a room the size of Cabin Hotel room and temperature of a tropical iceland we got one of the best mentoring sessions ever. He was polite enough to listen to the whole presentation and gave us couple of really good ideas that we've implemented in our pitch and we believe that made it really good.
The jury pitching was in closed doors (even journalist that has been deliberately brought overseas for IGC were banned recording and taking pictures!) and we can only speak about our presentation. With no way to compare it with the presentations of the other competing teams, we believe ours was one of the best ;-) The very fact that the honorable jury spent all the time asking questions, even the time left from the presentations (Georgi delivered for 8 min instead of 15) speaks of the interest and the impression our project left in the jury members. It was a pity the person from Intel that was supposed to be part of the jury was missing, but any way, a jury of two is still a jury.
All this positive stuff makes you think we managed to get to the 8 finalist that were supposed to present publicly!? We didn't, and it was surprising as we still believe our project was worth going through (pretty much sure all the participating teams will say the same about theirs). It wasn't surprising when on the last day of public presentations they announced they are not giving one of the awards - New Technology for New Users. If you read in the booklet specially created for the competition it says they are giving this award for a project with great opportunity to create a disruptive, scalable business that most impacts Generation C (17-27). Non of the projects selected for the finals tackle that problem and user group. Taking pictures and innovation around that we still believe it's going to happen through Gen C ;-)
Competitions are created to get experience, to practice your pitches, to get to know interesting people, to win sometimes. Well, we are very happy we've participated in IGC and learned a lot, networked a lot, spend a lot! Well, we did not win, but as they usually say in competitions like that - all are winners. The very fact we've managed to go through the selection process, win in Europe (and that wasn't an easy win), get our posters at Intel, present proudly and fearlessly network, makes this trip a success for us.
Next - Silicon Valley weekend trip and exciting stay in Blackbox.vc, but we will post about that separately.
Imagga is going to Istanbul. For a couple of days. WebIt is calling. WebIt is the biggest event for digital, technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Central-Eastern Europe and the Middle East. For the last couple of years it has been organized in Sofia, Bulgaria, but it outgrew in attendance and scope so the next logical move was the cosmopolitan Istanbul.
Imagga has been selected as one of the 21 finalists for the Startup Challenge. It’s great honor to represent Bulgarian startup ecosystem to an event as diverse and big as WebIt. We will be doing a 5 min presentation during the startup pitches, so if you happen to be at WebIt, watch out, we have amazing product and presentation to show.
You can meet us at the startup village during WebIt. We will be glad to get to know you and talk about image understanding and the great image API services and tools we currently offer.