#FounderStories simply a series of conversations with founders
Founded in 2014 LogoGrab’s patented technology is helping to transform the way brands engage with consumers and measure their offline activity.
What is the name of your startup, what year was it founded? do you have any co-founders? how did you get the idea?
LogoGrab. 2014 (after 2 years of R&D). Alessandro Prest. Founders combined experience in Image Recognition and Marketing.
What does Logograb do? who is your typical customer?
LogoGrab offers the strongest logo recognition technology in the market, with a Hit Rate 3x higher than the closest competitor. With ‘LogoGrab Social’ brands monitor the presence of their logo or their competitors’ logo within images shared on social media. With LogoGrab Mobile our clients activate marketing campaigns by asking their audiences to actively take a picture of their logo using their smartphone to unlock prizes and content. LogoGrab’s clients include brands such as Heineken International, Nestle, McDonald’s and Disney.
The Heineken 007 campaign was great, I noticed it back in November when I was doing the weekly shop at Coop in Zurich and picked up a bottles in the name of research is you remember
Yes, we remember was a great shout out on Twitter, cheers for that!
Where is your startup located and how many people work there?
We have a really cool office located at Percy Lane, with 12 people working there. When we re-located from Switzerland to Dublin we were looking for offices to work and apartments to sleep. We ended up combining the two and got an awesome two stories penthouse with our own private pool on the terrace. Living downstairs, desks and office space upstairs. The parties are amazing and known in town!
How was your startup originally funded, how are you funded now and how does your startup make money?
Originally funded by Angel Investors. Now VC backed. Annual subscription contracts with brands using our technology.
Were you ever close to failure? how close? how did you recover?
I wouldn’t say close to failure, but there have been some tough times. We always made sure to plan things ahead, pivoted very fast when needed and tightly controlled our risks.
What’s the biggest challenge your startup/business faces today?
Today LogoGrab is in a pure growth stage, so we are fully focused on scaling sales.
What is your background? how did you get your start and what brought you to a life in business/startups?
LB: My background is an MSc Economics, always loved to create products. This is the 7th business I’ve put together. Alessandro, is a PhD in Computer Vision and leading expert in Image Recognition technologies.
AP: I come from academia, where I’ve been doing research since I was 21. The startup world was a natural choice as it offered more control over my future.
LB: We’ve never considered working for someone else.
You’re both Italian, how did you end up in Dublin?, why Ireland for your startup?
2 main reasons: A) you guys speak English in Ireland , and that really helps when you want to sell tech globally 🙂 B) You get some amazing brains from the giants selling tech in town: Google, Twitter, etc. As an example our COO David Larkin is a former VP of sales at SalesForce.com.
What gets you up in the morning? and what keeps you up at night?LB: I love LogoGrab. I can’t wait to get up in the morning, see the guys coming in the office energised and ready to rock another day at the office. It is my essence of life, I gave up a lot to be here and I am enjoying every single moment of it. I love it so much that when important decisions are at stake I can’t stop thinking of them at night. It has happened before that I would find my answers within my dreams!
AP: Work is a good wake-up call. As soon as I’m awake the daily todo kicks in my head and it’s time to grind. What keeps me up at night is usually a good book. Reading increases a lot the quality of the sleep.
What is your best character trait? what is your worst character trait?
LB: My best and worst character trait are kind of the same! I like getting quick to the point. This helps me focus on the essentials and keep track of things. Although at times some find it hard to deal with it, so I’m training myself to be more patient.
AP: I hope to come across as humble and flexible. This means I love to admit I’m wrong as soon as a better solution is around. In my team I work more as a moderator than anything else. A bad trait is that I don’t stand inactivity, procrastination and all of that. It took me an effort to get out of unhealthy procastination habits acquired in academia and I have a few life hacks that I’m happy to share with anyone affected. On the contrary I love a bohemian approach to life, but not in my team.
Are you striking a work / life balance? If so, what’s your secret?
LB: When younger I couldn’t fully control the speed of my brain. I would jump across multiple tasks at the same time and would never stop thinking about… well everything. With time I learned that doing one thing at the time and taking mental breaks is actually more beneficial than always running at 300,000 m/s. I realised that I switched from thinking to meditating. This helped me getting closer to a state of inner peace. It feels great!
AP: I used to work literally every minute I was awake. However a friend of mine suggested that it could hinder creativity not giving your brain some time off. Therefore I found the sweet spot between by imposing some forced breaks: sport twice a week, wild night out once a week.
When things are going crazy, how do you unwind?
LB: I love cooking – the whole process of it. Going to the multiple supermarkets, finding the right ingredients and cook myself some great Italian recipes. It helps me relax, switch off my brain and enter into a meditating state.
AP: Things are never crazy if you plan ahead. But that means that on average you have to work more: one part of the day solving short-term tasks and another part should be dedicated to planning for future cirumstances. Practically it means you need 2 working days every day, but in reality it’s a little bit less than that. But when you think “today I don’t have anything to do”, then you’re in for some craziness later down the road because you’re only thinking short-term, daily tasks. There’s always something to do long-term.
What’s the last book or movie that you’ve read or seen?
LB: Bridge of Spies, great movie, really enjoyed it. Tom Hanks is already a great start. A great story about the power of negotiation and how in life you can get more that what is expected if you really care about something.
AP: It’s basically about four different groups of guys in the world of high-finance who predict the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s, then short the market to make a killing.
NOG: I actually caught this one last night in Zurich, a brilliant movie.
What’s the most played song in your itunes or spotify playlist?LB: Back & forth – 20syl
AP: I’m very shy about my taste in music, but I can tell you it’s broad 😉
NOG: Don’t be ashamed Alessandro, the Spice Girls are a great brand! Next time suggest you minimise your spotify play list on your screen. AP: Ahah, you got me Niall!
What’s your favourite gadget and why?
LB: My “to-do” piece of paper. I still like to have a written to-do list and it’s a great summary of what I am working on.
AP: Noise cancelling headphones. Concentration is vital during the grind. Bose SoundComfort, love the crips sound quality. Tried Beats studio but they were rubbish.
QuietComfort® 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones
What’s the one thing you wish you had known before you created your business/startup?
LB: All considered, I am pretty happy with how things went.
AP: Demand from others as much as you demand from yourself. Be organised.
How much of your time do you spend working on the different aspects of the job as founders? – e.g. working on product, hiring, raising money, sales, media, etc? How do you divide the responsibilities between you?
LB: Alessandro and I mutually compensate each other. Alessandro is an unbelievable research and engineering mind (seriously, he operates at another level) while I excel at vision and relations. We fully trust each other’s decision and respect our roles – but we always consult when it comes to “must win” decisions.
AP: Luca and I are lucky in that we don’t have any common skills. We’re very disjoint. It means that each of us has very clear responsibility and scope within the company.
So what’s next for LogoGrab?
LB: LogoGrab exited its first year of operations with the strongest logo recognition technology on the market, a great product, a dedicated founding team and global clients. 2016 is all about growth.
AP: To become the market leader
What question would you like me to ask the next founder?
LB: What’s the person that helped you most in achieving what you have achieved?
AP: Why you chose to start your own business?
How would you answer your own question?
LB: Many people shaped my personality and helped me make the best of my capabilities. I probably learned most from those that tried to hurt me and push me down. This made me stronger and helped me learn with practice.
AP: Because there’s life outside golden cages and rat races!
Well guys, thanks for taking the time today it’s been a pleasure speaking with you both. I’ll be keeping an eye out for brands using LogoGrab on my travels.
LB: Thanks Niall. Inspiring work the one you are doing with #FounderStories.
AP: Thanks Niall, fun questions and hope to see you soon in the office pool 😉
NOG: Cheers guys!
To learn more about how LogoGrab helps global brands increase the effectiveness of their marketing click here
#FounderStories simply a series of conversations with founders that I meet on my travels, have worked with in the past or simply find what they do interesting. These posts do not represent the views of any employer or any business that I am affiliated with.
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Other interviews in the series: