Earlier this year, we announced the launch of the Verizon Media Tech Venture Studio in partnership with R/GA. This is a new program focused on identifying and developing innovative growth- and early-stage companies with disruptive technologies that will shape the future of digital entertainment and media consumption.
The program, consisting of eight innovative startups, has concluded, so we caught up with the participants to learn more about their experience. For this participant spotlight, we sat down with Cognitive3D’s Tony Bevilacqua, Founder and CEO, to hear the company's background story and experience in the program.
What is the problem your company is trying to solve and how did you identify this problem?
Cognitive3D is platform that records, measures, aggregates, and analyzes data from virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality experiences. Our technology helps brands develop better products, understand spaces in new ways, and carry out training with clearer results.
Virtual, augmented and mixed reality provide a new capability to immerse users within a 3D world. The tools that we use to measure our apps today in web and mobile, lack the capability to extract and visualize spatial data, and provide appropriate context for experiential insights.
Tell us how you first came up with the concept and/or business plan for the company.
In my last business, I was a co-founder and led product on a revenue optimization platform, that had a heavy analytics component. Through my interactions with gaming clients, I had opportunities to try early virtual reality hardware and prototypes of the Oculus Rift, and saw the power of immersion and presence.
Applying my own strengths in product, it was clear to me that a huge amount of data and insight above anything we had seen before, was enabled by these platforms. A new way of visualizing user behavior and extracting insights was going to be needed, and that’s why we started Cognitive3D.
What drew you to this the Verizon Media Tech Venture Studio program?
The program actually found me, through a contact I had with some scouts at R/GA. I was not actively seeking to enter an accelerator, but the opportunity to work with Verizon and it’s business units, such as Envrmnt and RYOT, was too good to pass up.
What have been the highlights of the program thus far?
Verizon partnered with R/GA for this program, and we had incredible access to their visual and experience design teams. Through our interactions with R/GA, they helped us hone in our messaging, and how our dashboard presents insights to our end users. The talent and work done here has been absolutely exemplary, and not something we would have been able to access if it wasn’t for the program.
We also have some interesting integration projects going on with Verizon. The access that Verizon Ventures enabled through business units was unprecedented, and Paul Heitlinger in particular ensured we were talking to the right people at the right time, and actively removed roadblocks and obstacles that would have likely taken a year for us if we went at it alone.
How have your interactions with the other program participants been? What have you learned from them?
The talent of the founders and teams of the Venture Studio was an excellent resource, and I found myself regularly engaging with the other teams to talk through various issues including go-to-market, pricing, and technology. We were one of the few pre-Seed stage startups in the program, and it was great to have companies further along in their journey to draw experiences from.