“We facilitate the communication process with other companies about their Artificial Intelligence possibilities”
We are an Spanish startup whose mission is the development of new products based on the new Artificial Intelligence technologies, which are useful for companies, improving their business processes and increasing the quality of their products/services.
Our company is formed by converging 3 paradigms:
- The rise of Artificial Intelligence in our day to day.
- The need for companies to improve their products and services to make them more competitive in a society that is constantly changing at an ever-increasing rate.
- The mismatch between the information that companies have about the opportunities created by AI and access to reliable technologies.
We therefore detect the lack of mediating agents that help companies that do not have unlimited resources to access a technology that, until now, was reserved for a few privileged companies, giving them the information and the necessary means to include Artificial Intelligence in their business strategy.
Here is a translation of the interview:
How did you specialize in Artificial Intelligence?
Manuel Pastor (MP): First reading about the topic, books and online. I soon saw that it was not a passing fad, and that it was a technology that was going to change many things. That’s how I got into it. I already had many years of experience in image processing and video processing, so out of all the branches of AI, it was a logical choice for me to specialize in machine vision. Now I dedicate myself to it exclusively and I continue to learn every day
How is Artificial Intelligence present in the daily life of businesses, users and clients?
Juanjo Belenguer (JJ): Lately, and increasingly, AI is present in many media, in news, publications, … echoing its use in large companies (Amazon, Google, Tesla, …). But it is perceived as something ethereal, it is not tangible or understandable, and to save this Gap, news is released that does a lot of damage to the professionals who are dedicated to this, because they generate false expectations. For example, Robot Sophia is exposed as an AI icon, when that is not AI. There is no intelligence in that robot, there is simply a lot of stored dialogue, standard responses, and formidable work in robotics.
Many times we have to align expectations for our product to be successful.
Which products have you created from IA?
JJ: Within all AI, we focus on the area of computer vision, with neural networks and machine learning, and we start with products focused to In-Store Retail Analytics.
During the pandemic we have pivoted to solutions more related to it such as control of capacity, social distancing or occupation management solutions.
Given the reaction of the market with this situation, we propose a unique product, that serves for now, COVID time, but most importantly , also for the post-pandemic. They are products dedicated to the analysis of images or videos, detecting people, bikes, cars,…. And once detected, analyze movements, behaviors and count them.
How do companies improve after you help them?
JJ: As we have indicated, from our image analytics we can extract information that accumulated over time gives us information that until now was unknown, or did not have enough certainty, and that, through this, you can make decisions that save costs or increase your income.
Could you give us an example?
JJ: For example, with the control of capacity by COVID measures, the trade obtains an immediate benefit that is this, the control of capacity, but in the medium term, when this control may no longer make sense, it will have very valuable information about your business, you will be able to know frequencies, peak trends, … of influx to your premises. If, in addition, we can cross it with your sales system, you will have even more interesting information, and in the future, when the mask is no longer part of our clothing, we can analyze all this by age and gender. A mine for commerce. These KPIs that we manage to analyze are vital information so that physical businesses can generate a correct Customer Experience improvement strategy.
What do they value most, precisely, about working with you?
JJ: They value, on the one hand, the power of this system, the multiple use that can be given to it, since it is a software-based solution, which implies that at one point we can count people, but at another we can count people with bags. of the competition, or heat maps of the establishment, service areas of a shop window.
On the other hand, our solutions are computed in the cloud, which implies great savings in hardware for companies. Thus, they do not have to invest in physical equipment, with the advantage in addition to being able to use the cameras that they already have installed in their business. In short, our solutions represent great savings and investment in powerful software with infinite scalability, both in the medium and long term.
Why do you say that companies have a mismatch on the opportunities they have to use AI?
MP: Most companies are unaware of the real potential of AI. Either they underestimate their capabilities and continue to perform manual processes that could be automated with a high degree of improvement, or they have too high expectations of what the current state of the discipline can achieve, and are disappointed on a first contact with this technology. We believe that disclosure, in a realistic way and applied to the company, is still pending work, and that, if done well, it can open many opportunities. Big tech companies have their sights set on AI, but small companies are still very disoriented.
What is your role in that regard?
MP: We are not Google, Apple or Facebook, a company can dialogue with us face to face, and understand us in a common language. Of course we do not rule out large-scale projects, but our natural environment is the company, and we are the gateway to the world of AI for any company that has that need, without having to go to those technological giants that are practically inaccessible.
How has your investment process been?
JJ: Until now, the company has basically been financed with resources contributed by the founders. With this initial investment of our own, we have managed to develop our first products, attract the first clients, validate the business model and close partnerships with renowned international distributors that will facilitate the internationalization process.
From the beginning, we have conceived Neuratum as a global project, so in our go to market strategy we want to seek rapid consolidation at the national level and rely on important international partners who see an opportunity in Neuratum to incorporate it into their portfolio of solutions. In this sense, we consider that we gather all the necessary ingredients to make Neuratum a 100% scalable and internationalizable project.
To meet these objectives, we must bet on rapid growth, since the time to market for our solutions is ideal at the moment. To achieve this exponential growth, we have just opened our first € 300,000 Seed round in which we hope to incorporate renowned investors from the national scene before the end of the year.
What support have you had in this and other aspects?
JJ: We have the trust of companies such as Telefónica, with which we have already carried out projects to control the occupancy of coastal areas in Spain, and with the interest shown by large companies such as Securitas, HP, among others. This gives us confidence that we are on the right track.
How are you living the current uncertainty? How does it affect you on a personal and professional level?
JJ: It is said that every problem is a business opportunity: “give a solution to the problem and you have a business.” For our part, we know that the trade is having a bad time, that they are not going to put a capacity control because they cannot economically and / or because they do not see or expect it to be a temporary need. We give you a solution to this problem, we give you a totally free solution, in the form of an APP that we will launch on the market soon, and when this delicate situation happens, companies will have a solution in their premises that will give you very valuable information about the behavior of your customers within your business.
Our goal is to help them twice, and only when the merchant can, will we monetize our solution
In this sense, what do you expect from the future? What will Neuratum become?
JJ: Ser una empresa referente en IA y uno de los líderes de nuestro nicho de mercado no sólo a nivel nacional sino también internacional (América y Europa). Creemos que contamos con el potencial tecnológico necesario para cumplir nuestro ambicioso plan de crecimiento y hacer de Neuratum un proyecto internacional “made in Spain”.
Currently, we have a portfolio of 6 AI-based solutions, but the applications of AI are multiple, and the benefits that we can obtain in the coming years will be reinvested in R&D for the development of new solutions and in accelerating the process of internationalization.