Meet the Northern Stars finalists: LivingLens turns video into valuable insight

Martin Bryant, October 20, 2016 2 min read

This article was originally posted on the Tech North website.

On 17th November 2016, our Northern Stars final will take place in Manchester. Among the 20 companies pitching will be six from the recent regional heats. As the final approaches, we’re highlighting the winners of those events.

LivingLens, was one of the two winners in Liverpool, so we spoke to the company’s CEO, Carl Wong, to find out more.

Hello LivingLens, what’s your elevator pitch?

We turn video into data for the consumer insight industry – agencies and brands. We analyse what people say, do and how people feel in videos and turn that into consumer feedback.

Our product can analyse speech and emotions in video content in any language, using audio recognition, object recognition, facial recognition and more.

What’s it like to be a startup from Liverpool?

It’s awesome. The city has a very supportive, tight community. It’s very collaborative, forward-thinking and skilled.

That said, it’s difficult to become very successful based in Liverpool alone. You need to recognise geography has restrictions and go elsewhere for funding and clients. But it’s a wonderful place and a springboard for other cities in the UK and beyond.

Carl Wong, CEO of LivingLens

Carl Wong pitches LivingLens at the Northern Stars Liverpool event.

What are your plans for the future?

We’re already working with 16 of the world’s top 25 consumer insight agencies. We’re leveraging the first steps of revenue to build something much stronger. We plan to double our staff over next year, from 10 to 20. We’ve already started recruiting the first five of those. As well as Liverpool, we’ll be hiring our first team members in London and the US.

The plan is to make it easy and awesome for clients to use us more.

Why did you enter Northern Stars?

It’s a gateway to a breadth of opportunities, like exhibiting and networking at conferences. If we win we’ll get exposure on a national and international scale.

We’d also get access to a vast network of people who have trodden this path before, and learn from our peers. When people ask how you’re doing in a startup, you have say ‘it’s awesome,’ but in reality every business has challenges and overcoming them is tough. One way of doing that is learning from others so you can address those issues.

The shiny profile-raising rewards of winning and the less flashy things are both important.

What was it like to pitch?

It was cool – it was a thrill, nerve-wracking, exciting. It was great to meet other peers going through the challenges of a tech business too. That’s not a position we find ourselves in often.

Also, it’s a challenge having to boil everything down into three minutes of sell, knowledge and engagement and then come under scrutiny. We enjoyed the opportunity and the occasion.

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