SX Startups: AfterNow Aids Filmmakers

The Forrest Four-Cast: February 16, 2018

At the 2018 SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event on March 10 and 11, 50 diverse startups will attempt to impress a panel of judges. Winners in each of 10 categories will be honored at the Accelerator Award Ceremony at 7 pm Sunday, March 11, at the Hilton Austin, Salon AB. The SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event takes place within the Startup & Tech Sectors track of programming.

AfterNow is a lab that creates augmented reality related products. Its most recent success is Blocker by AfterNow. Blocker is changing how creative people communicate. It’s an augmented reality director’s viewfinder that allows filmmakers to preview their shots using virtual cameras and set elements. On a film set, testing ideas is expensive. Blocker aims to make planning shots agile and expressive. Philippe Lewicki (pictured above) leads the Culver City, Calif.-based company and he answered questions about their future plans and their product. See them live at the final pitch session for Augmented & Virtual Reality Technology at 3:30 pm Saturday, March 11, at the Hilton Austin, Salon AB.

Meet AfternNow and all the other finalists on Monday, March 12, at the SXSW Accelerator Demo Day, at the Hilton Austin, Salon C.

What does AfterNow hope to achieve in in 2018?
We have a few products in our pipeline. Blocker is on its way to become a must have for every filmmaker — and it is what we will be pitching at SXSW. We are researching how to capitalize on it and take the current product to the next level.

What inspired your team to apply for SXSW Accelerator?
We are self-funded and it became clear that if we want to expend our products to a broader audience we will need funding.

Has anyone on your team been to SXSW before?
I went in 2012, it was a lot of fun. I found the format extremely effective in creating connections. Not just meeting people like I do in most conference but really connecting.

Do you have an most outstanding memory of the event?
A lot there, from the 4 am fries with new friends to listening to Nate Ruess (Fun) intimate setting at tech party. The level and quality of the people I meet was incredible.

What are the goals for AfterNow at SXSW 2018?
Find a partner investor. I hope that the quality of people at SXSW will attract the few investor that are looking for a team like ours to invest in. We are very interested in investors or partner from the entertainment industry who would understand the vision of our products like Blocker by AfterNow.

Has AfterNow been involved with other pitch events before?
No, this is the first time we are seeking external investors. We’ve been funding all our experiment internally .

Has AfterNow been involved with other tech conferences before?
I’ve spoken at conferences all over the world, AWE (USA), KVRF (Korea), Virtuality (France), VRLA (USA)….on user experience and best practices in creating augmented reality products. Last year at VRLA (Virtual Reality Los Angeles) we built an Hololens experience with VRLA and Microsoft it was the VRLA MR Easter Egg Hunt. A great success, the most attended experience of VRLA. We then won an award for it at AWE (Augmented World Expo) called an Auggie.

How long has the AfterNow team been together?
Some of us have been together since 2013 and all off us have been together for more than two years. We are a tight well functioning team.

What is your competitive advantage ?
We are a well-oiled functioning team. We’ve been creating products together for a few years now and have been very successful at it. Over the years we have created those processes and workflow that enable us to come up with good ideas and creates products that really work.

What aspects of the startup experience do you enjoy most?
The potential of doing something big, creating and impacting a lot of people and starting from nothing — other than talent, creativity and hard work. You have an idea for something, an inch of a problem you can solve, then you just go for it and start building.

What do you enjoy least?
As the Captain, for me it’s the fundraising, I find it very awkward, you pitch a dream to people that evaluate if you can fit their predefined technology portfolio.

Have team members previously been involved with other startups?
I was involved in a sitebuilder startup in 2005 that failed to find funding. In 2007, I joined Derik Mills when he was starting YogaGlo, online streaming Yoga classes. I stayed as CTO for 7 years. It was a great adventure, self-funded, fast growing, do good with technology. It’s a very successful company.

What has the startup experience taught you about life?
It’s all up to you. You decide what you want to solve and get started. There are no excuses. You want to solve traffic in Los Angeles ? It’s possible, talk to me.
We tend to limit our self in our perception of what’s possible. Then one day someone changes it. Something that nobody was able to do before, now everyone can do it.

For what you do on a day-to-day basis at AfterNow, what does work-life balance look like?
We work 8 hours per day for AfterNow, so we can all do other stuff, sometime those other stuff includes exploring a new technology or concepts but often it’s hobbies, friends and family time.

Person, company, thing or goal. What inspires your team to work harder?
For me would be Alex Kipman and the Hololens team. Spending a year with them open my eyes on what it take to bring a massive disruption in technology. In our mixed reality world we all share a similar vision where our physical life will merge with our virtual world. Knowing that smart, motivated team are working on the hardware to make this vision a reality motivates us in building the software for it. We really like what we do and experiencing how transformative those technology can be increases our motivations to do more.

What do you know now that you wish you had known before you began the startup journey with AfterNow?
That technology transformations are slow, very slow to start.

Look for interviews with other SXSW Accelerator finalists in this space between now and March. Startups already profiled as part of this series include 70MillionJobs, ARwall, Bluefield, Cambridge Cancer Genomics, Commutifi, DashTag, FanFood, Goalsetter, HealthTensor, Instreamatic, Leaf, Moms Can: Code, Pawame, PolyPort, Sceenic, Switchboard, UPGRADED, USHR and Vochlea.

Or, click here to browse the full lineup of startups for SXSW Accelerator 2018.

Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.