For this 10x10 Session, the Co-Founder and CEO of Zappar Ltd (Caspar Thykier) is joined by Ori Inbar, the founder of Super Ventures and AWE.
Caspar Thykier: Well, it's my great pleasure and honor to be here, joined today by Ori Inbar, the founder of Super Ventures and AWE. Perhaps you could start by telling us a little bit about who you are, how you got into XR and why it particularly interests you. You know, in terms of getting into this seat.
Ori Inbar: Thank you, Caspar. It's really awesome to be with you. And especially now we've been on this journey for quite a while.
So it's good to see the old timers getting together and telling the story, which is so important to everybody. I got into it about 15 years ago when, after working in a few startups in a corporation, I wanted to spend some time with the kids, and I realized that my kids are always in front of a screen.
So they're in front of the computer playing video games, starting to look into smartphones, but it was really the early stage of that. And I realized that on one hand, you know, that's how you communicate in the 21st century. So you can not take it away from them, but I was looking for a way to get them more connected, more engaged with reality.
And I thought that I kind of invented something new, but then discovered, you know, there's a term called augmented reality. It's been around for dozens of years and it's been hidden.
So at that point it kind of became the mission, a mission to find a way to bring it to everyone out there, because I thought it's going to be such a transformative technology that will change everything about how we work and live.
So I started as an entrepreneur, and started a company developing AR games. Eventually it was acquired by Apple and became the foundation for ARkit. So that was kind of a nice time, you know, it was like such an early stage in the industry that a few of us entrepreneurs, were looking for a way to get together, connect and share ideas, share thoughts, and help together.
And that's how AWE was born in 2010. As you know, it was a small gathering that eventually grew to become kind of the largest and hopefully the most important influential community in AR and VR that kind of followed the ups and downs over the years, but also hopefully made a dent along the way.
The other big change for us was to put our money where our mouth is, and really that's when we started Super Ventures. As a first fund, fully dedicated to investing in early stage AR companies. And that was actually a really nice experience to see that on one hand, investors are really interested in our contribution and our understanding of the industry and also startups, on the other hand, really liked to talk to us because we get it, you know, they don't have to convince us that AR is going to be prevalent at some point in the future, but it's really kind of focusing on the use cases and the teams and so on.
So that was a really nice experience. And through the last 15 years, I've probably advised 500 companies throughout that time. But it's been a fantastic journey just to see how the adoption curves go from zero basically, where no one knows what it is, to a point where over a billion people are actually using it almost on a daily basis.
Caspar Thykier: Well, that was one of the questions I was going to ask you, which is, you know, you generally have seen it all over the last decade. But if you had to try and sort of boil it down you know, what have kind of been the moments in XR over that period that, that have really made the difference or sort of changed the game? And there must be lots, but are there any that you go, wow, that really was a pivotal moment that has taken it somewhere else?
Ori Inbar: You know, the thing is that the old adage says, you know, it always takes longer than you expect it to be. It's just so true. I mean, and that's probably the number one takeaway from the last 15 years. But you know, if you look at specific things that actually made a difference in the ups and downs in the kind of journeys of entrepreneurs and companies, along this road, I think it's the fact that passion and perseverance make companies, and individuals survive and thrive.
And there's countless stories of people that worked hard in their basement for four years without getting any real recognition or raising funds or revenues.
And then all of a sudden, it paid off. And that was really nice to see, you know, there's dozens of startups and entrepreneurs like that. But the big battle was always about adoption. So how do you define use cases that are really relevant to people wherever they are, then measure it and show that there's value in that, whether it's a business value or just a fun value.
And then creating awareness around it, generating awareness and making sure that people actually know about it because one of the biggest challenges that we've had, and I'm sure you know, is [people] just don't get it.
But then, five, six, seven, eight years later, we understand the potential of it. I mean, they might've seen Pokemon Go and some of the face filters, no idea, but they already understand how it can really change everything about their lives and kind of create that awareness.
That was the big thing. I think if we look at specific moments I want to say 2016, 2017 for AR were very critical. You know, when Pokemon Go and face filters became a thing and all of a sudden, 300 million people used it. That was a huge change. When you talk to someone and you say AR all of a sudden, they know what you're talking about, right?
So that was a huge change. And then 2017, when Apple introduced the ARKit and Google soon after with ARCore, that kind of all of a sudden said to the market, “Hey! The big guys are on it. They've seen mobile revenue stagnating, and they're looking for a new wave”. And this is what they identified is a new wave.
So they're investing billions in software, and in hardware. So it's not going anywhere. It's not a fad anymore. It's not a gimmick. It's something that will actually make this a very important industry moving forward.
Caspar Thykier: Yeah, that's a great answer. And I also love to focus on passion and people.
And as you say on communication and awareness, because we talk so much about the technology. But at the end of the day, it is what's the value exchange and the experiences that people have. And that is just being driven by lots of people just going ‘this is something that's going to change the goal’.
What would you say to any brand, businesses, aspiring developers, or people coming through unsure about whether to get involved in XR and why they should do it, or the use cases that excite you?
Ori Inbar: First just look at the results. Look at the reports, look at the use cases that have been measured and show it's significant value across the board.
I mean, of course we see a lot of it is in e-commerce where it's indisputable that it's providing some significant lift over traditional marketing techniques and applications. But, in almost every place where you look at the use case that has been reviewed and reported, there is a significant benefit and that benefit should convince everyone that if they're not going into it right now, there will be late commerce.
And that's fine, but they will not ride this wave on the front side where they can really generate significant value out of it. I think the fundamental thing is that humans need to be in reality, you know, they need to stay in reality. We need to find a way to bring that information into the real world as opposed to the other way around.
Because it's a fundamental human need to be in reality, to talk to people, to be in touch with your surroundings. So in whatever business you are in, whatever thing you're doing in your leisure time, find a way to bring that information into your reality and make it better.
I think that's the answer to where and how to adopt this technology moving forward.
Caspar Thykier: Love that. Well, we are out of time already. So one final question for you then, is there anything on the horizon that really excites you or you see as the next sort of game changing moment? Or is it just, you know, a rising tide of excellence?
Ori Inbar: Yes. And I mean, in the last 10 or 15 years, we've been focused on really driving the initial adoption and getting to a point where this technology makes it to the mainstream. I think we're there. I think we're entering the mainstream at least, that's a true statement.
Maybe we're already there. So now, you know, we need to look at the next 10 years. I'm looking at 20, 30 years, the goalposts and try to define, okay. So once we've overcome all the technical challenges, we're still facing a few, right? I mean, it's still not all solved, but once we are over that, what is the world that we want to have been created using this technology? What is the world that is worth living in, and how can this technology impact that world?
So, if you will, it's sort of an exercise of time traveling to 2030. And seeing the impact - what did it do to how we manufacture things? How do we travel, how do we play, how do we shop, and really see the significant impact that it has on our life. And then walking back and trying to figure out the path to getting there, to get that it's kind of a goal oriented view of the future.
Now that I think most people have an idea of what it is, I'm not sure I understand the full potential of it, but now we can have that conversation and then find the journey of how we get there to 2030, where we were able to actually fight some of the crises that are threatening earth and humanity, and use technology to to address that in a better way than we are doing so far.
Caspar Thykier: Yeah. That's a great tool for the future. Well, thanks. All right. That is absolutely fantastic. It's such a pleasure to have you with us and we really appreciate it again.
Ori Inbar: It's really, really awesome to be with you.