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Computer Vision Will Disrupt Many Businesses Especially Manufacturing and Consumer Shopping

Howard Morgan, Founding Partner at First Round Capital & Director at Idealab

[Reposted with updates for our next annual LDV Vision Summit on May 24–35, 2017 in NYC.]

Howard Morgan is a founding partner at First Round Capital and director at Idealab. He began his career as a professor of decision sciences at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and professor of computer science at the Moore School at the University of Pennsylvania from 1972 through 1985.

We are honored that he was one of ~80 expert speakers at our 2016 Annual LDV Vision Summit. This post was the virtual start of our fireside chat with Howard virtually and you can watch the extended live version here.

Evan: First Round Capital “FRC” has invested in many visual technology businesses that leverage computer vision. In the next 10 years — which business sector will be the most disrupted by computer vision and why?

Howard: Both the manufacturing inspection area, which has had various types of visual tech over the years, and the consumer sectors, particularly shopping, will be disrupted. You will be able to shop either by asking Alexa for something, or showing it to her — or her equivalents with a camera.

Evan: There are many AdTech companies in FRC’s portfolio. Several sessions at our LDV Vision Summit will cover how computer vision is empowering the advertising industry with user generated content, to tracking audience TV attention and increasing ROI for marketing campaigns. What intrigues you about how computer vision can impact this sector?

©Peter G.Weiner Photography

Howard: Our GumGum investment, along with our investment in Curalate, both make heavy of use of computer vision to determine and target users in the visual sectors. People will be shown contextually relevant ads or additional information based on the pictures they’re looking at, or creating on the various social media platforms. This will get much more specific and lead to directly shopping from images — something that’s been tried but has been hard to do well with mediocre image recognition.

Evan: FRC has a very unique approach to celebrating the New Year with your great annual holiday video. It seems like a successful video marketing initiative. How did that idea originate and what was the goal? After years of doing this holiday video — what is your advice for your companies that wish to create an annual video marketing initiative.

First Round Annual Holiday Video 2013 “What Does the Unicorn Say?”
First Round Annual Holiday Video 2015 “This Time It’s Different”

Howard: Josh and the team decided we wanted to have fun with our companies, and show the power of the First Round Network as one which not only has high performing companies, but also great fun. And it was our way to feature the companies, and not just our partners in our holiday greetings to the world. Our advice to those who want to do an annual video marketing piece is to be creative — we have chosen the parody, but there are lots of other ways to be creative.

Evan: You frequently experience startup pitches. What is your one sentence advice to help entrepreneurs improve their odds for success.

Howard: Get really good at crisply telling your story — why the product is needed, and how you’re going to make money with it.

Evan: What are you most looking forward to at our LDV Vision Summit?

©Heather Sullivan

Howard: LDV Vision Summit has a great view of the future of vision and related technologies. I always want to be learning about the way early technologies that will impact us over the next decade, and LDV is where I hope to find some of that information.

Howard Morgan spoke in a fireside chat with Evan Nisselson at the 2016 Annual Vision Summit. Our next LDV Vision Summit will take place on May 24 & 25 (Early bird tickets at 80% discount available until March 31).

Other expert speakers at our 2017 Summit are from Union Square Ventures, Facebook, Google, IBM Watson, Twitter, Pinterest, Lyft, Twilio, Glasswing Ventures, Cornell Tech, and many more…



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