The Vision Tank Start-Up Competition is judged by a panel of industry experts who have a wealth of experience in identifying, creating and investing in visual AI technologies. We recently spoke to a few of these seasoned judges, who have collectively evaluated over 100 Vision Tank submissions, on their advice to potential applicants.
Thanks to a few of our judges, John Feland, Forrest Iandola and Vin Ratford! To learn more about these individuals and the full panel of judges for the 2023 competition, check out our Vision Tank page.
Q: Thanks for joining us today. A first step in winning is making it from the application submission to the semifinals. What makes a great semifinalist?
John: There’s two key questions: I want to know if you are on the way to solving a real problem or just building a cool solution? And what evidence do you have that the need is real and something the market is willing to pay for?
Forrest: I agree with John. We’d also like to see a clear value proposition, customer traction and an innovative technical solution. It’s helpful if you communicate where you fit in the competitive landscape. Who else is in this business? What’s your new angle on it?
Vin: Right. What problem are you solving and why should I care?
John: Forrest’s and Vin’s comments remind me: Be transparent and authentic about the novelty you bring to the market, both in terms of the need you are addressing and the solution you are providing. When you show you understand where your product fits into the solution stack and into your customers’ lives and wallets, it shows you’ve thought deeply about what you want to achieve.
Q. There’s the video submission as part of the application. What’s common in winning videos?
Vin: A compelling video with the team highlighting the problem and how the solution solves it is a key element in a successful application. The videos from past winners are a good place to start as you work on your submission.
Forrest: The video is also a great way to prepare for the live presentation that finalists will make at the Embedded Vision Summit. Videos are different, of course, than live presentations, but they share an important element: Time is short and you have to communicate succinctly. Plus if you’re a semi-finalist, your video is on the Alliance website and it’s a great way to get visibility for your company.
Q: Thanks for bringing up the live part of the competition–what advice do you have for final presentations?
Forrest: Practice, practice, practice! The presentation time slots are short—only 3 minutes to make your pitch! But if you rehearse well, you can make a big splash!
John: Have a short presentation that delivers on your core message rather than trying to tell us all the things—make us feel your customers’ pain and the relief your solution will bring. And “Fear the Gong!” which is the sound that signifies the end of the timed presentation.
Vin: Communicate effectively with passion. Tell us why you should be the winner.
Thanks again to John, Forrest and Vin. If you’re an early-stage start-up doing something cool in computer vision or visual AI, you can apply here!
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