Howard Morgan is a founding partner at First Round Capital and director at Idealab. He began his career as a professor of decision sciences at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and professor of computer science at the Moore School at the University of Pennsylvania from 1972 through 1985.
We are honored that he will be one of ~80 expert speakers at our next LDV Vision Summit May 24 & 25 in NYC. We are starting our fireside chat with Howard virtually and hope you join us at our summit next month to hear the extended live version.
Evan: First Round Capital “FRC” has invested in many visual technology businesses that leverage computer vision. In the next 10 years - which business sector will be the most disrupted by computer vision and why?
Howard: Both the manufacturing inspection area, which has had various types of visual tech over the years, and the consumer sectors, particularly shopping, will be disrupted. You will be able to shop either by asking Alexa for something, or showing it to her - or her equivalents with a camera.
Evan: There are many AdTech companies in FRC's portfolio. Several sessions at our LDV Vision Summit will cover how computer vision is empowering the advertising industry with user generated content, to tracking audience TV attention and increasing ROI for marketing campaigns. What intrigues you about how computer vision can impact this sector?
Howard: Our GumGum investment, along with our investment in Curalate, both make heavy of use of computer vision to determine and target users in the visual sectors. People will be shown contextually relevant ads or additional information based on the pictures they’re looking at, or creating on the various social media platforms. This will get much more specific and lead to directly shopping from images - something that’s been tried but has been hard to do well with mediocre image recognition.
Evan: FRC has a very unique approach to celebrating the New Year with your great annual holiday video. It seems like a successful video marketing initiative. How did that idea originate and what was the goal? After years of doing this holiday video - what is your advice for your companies that wish to create an annual video marketing initiative.
Howard: Josh and the team decided we wanted to have fun with our companies, and show the power of the First Round Network as one which not only has high performing companies, but also great fun. And it was our way to feature the companies, and not just our partners in our holiday greetings to the world. Our advice to those who want to do an annual video marketing piece is to be creative - we have chosen the parody, but there are lots of other ways to be creative.
Evan: You frequently experience startup pitches. What is your one sentence advice to help entrepreneurs improve their odds for success.
Howard: Get really good at crisply telling your story - why the product is needed, and how you’re going to make money with it.
Evan: What are you most looking forward to at our LDV Vision Summit?
Howard: LDV Vision Summit has a great view of the future of vision and related technologies. I always want to be learning about the way early technologies that will impact us over the next decade, and LDV is where I hope to find some of that information.
Evan: I look forward to speaking with Howard and all of you in more detail during our fireside chat at our LDV Vision Summit in NYC on May 24 & 25 [50% discount off tickets until April 30]. We try to make our sessions very interactive and look forward to your questions.
Other expert speakers at our Summit are from Google, Refinery29, Facebook, Cornell Tech, Qualcomm, First Round, Lytro, Greylock Partners, Olapic, Quartz, Mapillary, Microsoft Research, CakeWorks, NBCUniversal, RRE Ventures, Magic Leap, Mine, Samsung, Enlighted, Flickr, IBM Watson, and many more….