Backed by a recently-raised Seed funding round, 13th Lab is creating a new Internet experience by connecting the physical world with the mobile web

By Editor July 11, 2012

13thLab_logoA Q&A with 13th Lab co-founder and CEO Petter Ivmark. The Stockholm–based company was founded in 2010 and raised $700K in Seed funding in late June from Creandum.

SUB: Please describe 13th Lab and the value proposition you bring to mobile devices.

Ivmark: Our vision is to give the web eyes. We enable developers to connect the existing web to reality by letting ordinary web pages render a user interface on top of the physical world through standard HTML and JavaScript.

Our PointCloud web browser lets any developer leverage sophisticated computer vision in their mobile web page using standard web technologies, creating the true mobile web—the existing Internet connected to reality and to physical things.

SUB: Who are your target users?

Ivmark: In the long run we think everyone with a smartphone will interact with reality through their phone. We’re currently targeting mobile developers and content producers to build amazing experiences using our platform.

SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?

Ivmark: There are plenty of other companies working on mobile computer vision—Qualcomm etc., but the market is still very young, and we don’t focus on competition, more on our own products and growing the market and use cases.

SUB: What differentiates 13th Lab from the competition?

Ivmark: We have unique technology, originally used in robotics for autonomous navigation, which lets you map and track 3D spaces in real time. This means we can render content on top of the real 3D world, not just 2D images and markers. We also have an open content model, where adding content to reality is actually just creating a web site in standard HTML and JavaScript. Just like the regular web, the developer is 100 percent in control of their own content, where it’s hosted etc. Developers are also able to tap in to the numerous 3rd party tools available, like Google Analytics, for example.

SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?

Ivmark: The company was founded in early 2010 when we began working on our technology. We had been talking for a while about the rapid development in phone hardware performance, and how huge value is created when you start being able to do things in software that earlier needed dedicated hardware. We worked nights and weekends until we had a working prototype, and have been working full time since early 2011.

SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for 13th Lab? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?

Ivmark: There was no specific inspiration source, more a natural path based on our combined backgrounds and interests.

SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?

Ivmark: We’re trying to do something technically very difficult, so there has been high technical risk. It’s also a new immature market, so there’s the challenge in helping create new user behaviors and use cases.

SUB: You recently raised $700K in Seed funding. How do you plan to use the funds?

Ivmark: We have a great team in place and plan to use the funding to further strengthen it and take our technology and products to the next level.

SUB: Do you plan to raise more outside funding in the near future?

Ivmark: No, we have no plans on raising more money in the near future.

SUB: What are your goals for 13th Lab over the next year or so?

Ivmark: We’re focused on our core mission of adding a UI on top of reality, and we will work on R&D to broaden the number of uses of our technology, and product development to improve our product offering for developers and end users.

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