Tutorial at CVPR 2014

Learnings from founding a computer vision startup

Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA

June 28, 2014

Till QuackJan Erik Solem
co-founder kooabaMapillary
and Lund University


A few years ago Jan Erik and Till both founded startups in the computer vision field: Polar Rose and Kooaba, respectively. Both companies had their exits, and Jan Erik even went on to found his next company, Mapillary. Along the - sometimes bumpy - journey we learned a great deal which we would like to share with the computer vision community. We found that creating your own startup is a very fulfilling experience and an interesting career choice after a completed PhD. In addition, the time is right to create more startups in the vision field, where technology is now in a cycle where many novel (consumer) applications become feasible.

We gave a version of this course at CVPR 2010. Much has changed since, but the goal of this course remains to give a rather broad overview of practices and tools which turned out to be useful for us. Now refreshed and improved with additional learnings.

The course spans diverse topics as Funding, Hiring, Software Engineering, Business Models, Product Design. We present material for each topic, together with pointers and links to relevant resources. In this new edition of the tutorial we will also focus on conversations between Jan Erik, Till, and the audience on the different topics.

Course Contents and Slides

1. Introductionpdf
2. Why a startup? How important is the idea?pdf
3. Business plan: what and who to write it for?pdf
4. Team: founders and hiring staffpdf
5. Funding: who and how to ask for moneypdf
6. Product design: finding out what customers really wantpdf
7. Business models: how to make moneypdf
8. Software engineering: doing research vs. delivering a productpdf
9. Marketing & sales: getting people to know & buy your productspdf
10. Competition and positioning: OMG, Google is doing the same thing!pdf
11. Learnings and Mistakespdf