Tutorial at CVPR10

Learnings from founding a computer vision startup

Location: San Francisco, USA

June 14, 2010

Till QuackJan Erik Solem
kooaba AG
and ETH Zurich
Polar Rose
and University of Lund


A couple of years ago we both founded startups in the computer vision field: kooaba (a spin-out from the ETH Zurich Computer Vision lab) and Polar Rose, respectively. Along the - sometimes bumpy - journey we learned a great deal of things, which we would like to share with the Computer Vision community. We found that creating your own startup is a very fulfilling experience and maybe also an interesting "career choice" after a completed PhD. In addition, it seems the time is just right to create more startups in the Vision field, since technology is in a cycle where many novel (consumer) applications become feasible.

The goal of this course is to give a rather broad overview of practices and tools which turned out to be useful for us. This spans as diverse topics as Funding, Software Engineering, Business Models, or Product Design. The goal is to provide, for each topic, also pointers and links to relevant resources.

Course Contents and Slides

0. IntroductionSlides as PDF
1. Why a startup and 2. the business ideaSlides as PDF
3. Business plan: what and who to write it for?Slides as PDF
4. Team: founders and hiring staffSlides as PDF
5. Funding: who and how to ask for moneySlides as PDF
6. Product design: finding out what people really wantSlides as PDF
7. Business models: how to make money?Slides as PDF
8. Software engineering: doing research vs. delivering a productSlides as PDF
9. Marketing & sales: getting people to know & buy your productsSlides as PDF
10. Competition and positioning: OMG, Google is doing the same thing!Slides as PDF

Speaker Bios

Till Quack

Till Quack is a post doctoral researcher at BiWi Computer Vision Lab at ETH Zurich. He obtained a M.Sc. degree in Information Technology and Electrical Engineering from ETH Zurich in 2004. From 2004 to 2009, he was research assistant and Ph.D. student at the Computer Vision Group of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland with Prof. Luc Van Gool. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from ETH Zurich for his work on mining and retrieval of visual data in a multimodal context in 2009. He is also co-founder and CTO of the startup kooaba in the field of mobile visual search. In relation to his work at kooaba, his recent research interests include multi-modal mining of data from community photo collections.

Jan Erik Solem

Jan Erik Solem is associate professor at the Mathematical Imaging Group at Lund University. He obtained his M.Sc. in 2001 and his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in 2006, both with the Mathematical Imaging Group. His thesis work on variational methods, applied to 3D reconstruction, segmentation and recognition, received the bi-annual best Nordic thesis award. He is the founder and CTO of startup Polar Rose working with face recognition and computer vision for organizing and sharing photos. His current research interests include large-scale vision problems, object recognition and visual retrieval.