2017 SVP Startup Profile: Vinci
Eagle Wu ’19: Co-Founder, CEO
Tiffany Yue: Co-Founder, CTO
Using next-gen virtual reality, we help people communicate and experience the 3 dimensional world in a 3 dimensional space – as it should be.
VINCI offers a full service integration covering hardware setup, software development and distribution for Enterprise VR solutions. Our services tackle two major communication barriers: training and marketing. We create interactive walkthroughs that can train your workforce and immersive experiences to showcase your vision like never before.
What is the story behind your startup?
600 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci revolutionized communication with his brilliant notebooks. They were filled with fascinating machines, like the world’s first helicopter. But it took us hundreds of years to realize his vision because understanding these complex ideas through a flat, 2-dimensional medium is difficult, even for our best scientists. Fast forward 600 years – our contraptions are getting more complicated, but we’re still communicating like da Vinci did.
For example, the US Army is deploying drones for soldiers on the battlefield, but when they break, all we have to communicate repairs and assemblies are diagrams in flat instruction manuals. They aren’t effective at communication, and they confuse even the best of engineers.
That’s why we want to emulate da Vinci and build the next great communication tool through Virtual Reality.
What’s been a big milestone/accomplishment you’ve made since Summer Venture Program started?
We managed to sign on two partnerships: the United States Army and MassChallenge. With the US Army, we’re building simulations to help soldiers repair surveillance drones. MassChallenge has opened doors to a lot of new clients who can grow with our company.
What’s been a big obstacle/surprise that you faced?
We started out with the assumption that people would use our tech to iterate faster through product design, but we quickly learned that unless people are either building complex designs or large environments, the 3D printer has made the cost of prototyping very low. So the pain point we were solving wasn’t as painful as we had originally imagined, and we didn’t feel like our product could have the most amount of impact servicing a very small minority of users.
Any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs that you want to share?
Always think with the mindset of “how do I create value.” The last thing you want to do is spend a bunch of time creating something that no one wants. You should always be driving towards what you can do to help your users the most, and not be afraid of changing your company in order to achieve that. Always, always be talking with your users and ask “where do you see the value in the product”.
Focus on traction. Get your product into the hands of your users as fast as possible, even if you think it’s unfinished. Getting traction should be your number one priority. Some companies spend a lot of time on parts of their company that doesn’t actually get their product out there. Your objective as the entrepreneur is to get from broke to cash flow positive, and the only way to do that is to create something that’s value > pain needed to get your value (whether that be time or money). Don’t be broke, it sucks. Focus on getting your product out there and finding that value.
Meet Vinci at the Summer Venture Showcase on Thursday July 27. See you there! >>