Hadley Harris is the Founding General Partner at Eniac. He has done a little bit of everything on the path to co-founding Eniac, starting out as an engineer at Pegasystems, a product manager at Microsoft and a strategist at Samsung. He ran a few aspects of the business across product and marketing at Vlingo prior to its sale to Nuance. He also served as CMO at Thumb until it was acquired.
Hadley will be sharing his knowledge on trends and investment opportunities in visual technologies as a panelist and startup competition judge at the 6th Annual LDV Vision Summit May 22 & 23. Early Bird tickets are available through April 16 , get yours now to come see Hadley and +60 other top speakers discuss the cutting edge in visual tech.
In lead up to our Summit, Evan Nisselson, General Partner at LDV Capital asked Hadley some questions about his experience investing in visual tech and what he is looking forward to at our Vision Summit...
Evan: You have extensive entrepreneur, technical and business operation experience before you co-founded Eniac Ventures. Which aspects of your expertise do you believe helps you empower entrepreneurs to succeed and why?
Hadley: I was very fortunate to be a senior leader at two startups that were acquired. I worked with a bunch of super talented entrepreneurs and executives that I learned a lot from. I was also lucky to have some great investors and board members who helped me see how VC’s could help empower teams to thrive. Interestingly, what stuck with me the most is some of the terrible behavior I witnessed by VC’s during fundraising -- spending the whole meeting on their phones, leaving the room several times during the pitch, eating 3-course meals without looking up at what we were presenting. I told myself that if I ever became a VC I’d focus on helping entrepreneurs with empathy and respect for the amazingly difficult task they had chosen.
I consider the most interesting technological theme right now to be the way data and machine intelligence are changing every industry and our daily lives. A strong argument could be made that visual technology is the most important input to data+machine intelligence systems
Evan: Eniac has invested in many visual technology businesses that leverage computer vision. Please give a couple of examples and how they are uniquely analyzing visual data.
Hadley: By my count, 30% of the investments we’ve made over the last few years have a visual technology component. A handful are in autonomy and robotics. For example, iSee is an autonomous transportation company that has developed a humanistic AI that is able to flourish in dynamic and unpredictable situations where other solutions fail. Obviously, they can only do that by leveraging CV as an input to understand the vehicle’s surroundings. Another one that is really interesting is Esports One. They use computer vision to understand what’s going on in esports matches and surface real-time stats and analytics to viewers. It’s like the first down marker on steroids.
Evan: In the next 10 years, which business sectors will be the most disrupted by computer vision and why?
Hadley: Over the next 10 years there are a number of trillion $ sectors we’re exploring at Eniac that will be disrupted by visual technology – food & agriculture, construction, manufacturing, transportation, logistics, defense but if I were to pick one it would be healthcare. We’re already seeing some really interesting use cases taking place in hospitals but that’s just the very tip of the iceberg. When these technologies move into the home so that individuals are being monitored on a daily basis the way we think about health and wellness with dramatic change.
Evan: We agree that visual technologies will have a tremendous impact on the healthcare industry. Actually, our annual LDV Insights deep dive report last summer analyzed Nine Sectors Where Visual Technologies Will Improve Healthcare by 2028.
Evan: Eniac and LDV Capital are co-investors in Sea Machines who capture and analyze many different types of visual data to deliver autonomous workboats and commercial vessels. What inspired you guys to invest in Sea Machines?
Hadley: We’ve had a broad thesis over the last 4 years that everything that moves will be autonomous. When investment in the best autonomous car and truck companies became prohibitively competitive and expensive we started looking for underserved areas where autonomy could drive significant value. This drove us to look at the autonomous boat space. We found a few teams working on this problem, by far, the best of which was Sea Machines. They stood out because they married strong AI and CV abilities with a very deep understanding of the navel space based on decades in the boating ecosystem.
Evan: LDV Capital started in 2012 with the thesis of investing in people building visual technology businesses and some said it was “cute, niche and science fiction.” How would you characterize visual technologies today and tomorrow?
Hadley: I consider the most interesting technological theme right now to be the way data and machine intelligence are changing every industry and our daily lives. A strong argument could be made that visual technology is the most important input to data+machine intelligence systems. So no, I don’t think visual technologies are cute, niche or science fiction; they are one of the primary drivers of the biggest technological theme of our time.
Evan: You frequently experience startup pitches. What is your one sentence advice to help entrepreneurs improve their odds for success?
Hadley: Know the ecosystem your startup is playing in absolutely cold.
Evan: What are you most looking forward to at our 6th LDV Vision Summit?
Hadley: I’m excited to be at such a focused event where I can hear from amazing entrepreneurs and scientists about the cutting edge projects they’re working on.