A Q/A with Geopipe
Company HQ: NYC and Burlington, VT
Team Size: 6 FTE + 6 PT - 2 in Syracuse
Focus: Next-generation geospatial data
Tell me a little about Geopipe?
Geopipe is the whole-earth digital twin. Our AI replicates the real world in immersive 3D - and our geospatial data labels what’s in the world, not just how it looks. We save tens of thousands of hours of manual modeling that would otherwise be necessary to visualize new buildings in context, immerse players in realistic games, or train personnel and autonomous vehicles. Geopipe’s algorithms read many types of raw data and generate 3D maps and models with every tree, building, road, and window labeled and realistically reproduced; we license them per-month or via revenue sharing. Founded in 2016 by two computer science Ph.D's who have collaborated for 15 years, Geopipe was bootstrapped through $1.14M in non-dilutive funding, accelerators like Techstars NYC, and paying enterprise customers.
Can you expand on what problem you're solving?
People and machines interface with digital copies of the real world more and more each day. Up to 30 percent of the global economy engages in map data: from real estate & construction ($10T), logistics & transportation ($4T), and gaming ($100B).
Revolutionary data collection mechanisms like drones, laser scanners, and satellites provide an incredible data stream of the environment - all of it dumb , unstructured data. Humans can pick out buildings, cars, and trees, but computer software needs to be told explicitly what is in the world to make decisions in a digital workflow.
Our AI makes this enormous and rich but unstructured data smarter by reading it, understanding it, and streaming it in interchangeable formats that have great detail with small memory footprint, and also contain critical metata about what these objects are.
Ultimately, we are a new type of geospatial data source with broad application and are focusing initially on simulation, gaming, and construction.
Who are your customers?
Our beachhead customers are varied in both size and vertical as we work to establish a scalable, high-return business model that fits our vision and expertise.
Our team is diverse, creative, young; but experienced, and unafraid to embrace our inner geeks. As one engineer recently put it: “You gotta have all your eigenvectors.” This basically means that by each bringing our unique expertise to the table, we develop a complete picture of the world.
What phase is your company at right now?
Geopipe is in the early revenue phase - a few years of deep research, hundreds of customer discovery interviews, and product development have led to two polished products now on the market. We’re focusing on enterprise customers and partnerships to establish a first-mover advantage in our unique field.
What excites you about GENIUS NY?
GENIUS NY is most exciting for us in the connections it has provided to us. The regional focus of the program has been great for a company at our stage where we are ready to hire, and to engage with local supporters like the City of Syracuse, Syracuse University, and RIT. These are organizations at the right size for us to manage right now, and enable us to get traction in key areas.
GENIUS NY has enabled us to have a stake in the business & economic development goals in the Center State CEO program, which provides a meaningful north star beyond just an opportunity to grow a small business.
Have things changed or pivoted with COVID-19?
Not for the worse. We recognize there has been tremendous loss due to the pandemic, and fortunately our team members have mostly been spared from direct impact.
Instead, COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on our core value proposition. People need to see and experience places remotely more than ever due to shelter-in-place. Gaming downloads hit an all-time high in April. It’s unknown when normal travel will resume, and Geopipe brings virtual copies of places directly into people’s homes.
Lastly, we already had 2 office hubs and were adding team members in different places, and the COVID-19 crisis strengthened our resolve to excel as a distributed / remote team.
How are you keeping your team motivated during COVID-19?
It is tough! But over communication has helped: we have individual check-ins in the morning, as well as a statement from everyone at end-of-day about what team members were proud of achieving on that day. Mostly these are work related, but it could be anything - from adding a new component to our ML system, to closing a new deal, to organizing a home office space.
How can Central New York benefit from Geopipe?
Central New York is in a revitalization phase with the post-industrial fallout phase completed some time ago. “Modernizations” following that phase, like the elevated I-81 running through downtown, are now showing their age. GENIUS NY and other CenterState CEO programs are evidence of the emergence of a new phase associated with Industry 4.0. As plans for this new era come together, Geopipe enables planners to envision and quantify a new cityscape (including the suburbs). This includes not only buildings, but automation tech like self-driving cars and the central NY drone corridor. Geopipe enables each of these.
How would you use the $1M grand prize if you won it?
Our strategic plan for using the proceeds from winning the GENIUS NY competition include:
● Marketing for customers & recruiting
● Hire great people to work on our 3D frontends and machine learning pipelines
● Quickly build features requested by our biggest strategic partners
● Give back to the team - supplies to level up your home office (computer etc)
● Purchasing data and/or labeling
GENIUS NY Finals Night is Sept. 17. Finals Night will include all five finalists pitching for the grand prize of $1M. More information coming soon!