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Özgür Deniz Önür of Invidyo: “Start interacting with potential clients from day one”

We are trying to make it easier for parents who have to work full time and employ a caregiver at home to look after their baby. We employ A.I. based video and audio processing technology to automatically determine the important moments in a child’s day. Using invidyo, parents are able to have peace of mind […]

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We are trying to make it easier for parents who have to work full time and employ a caregiver at home to look after their baby. We employ A.I. based video and audio processing technology to automatically determine the important moments in a child’s day. Using invidyo, parents are able to have peace of mind and focus on their jobs rather than watching their security cameras all the time, because they know that invidyo will alert them whenever there is something going on at home that they need to pay attention to.


As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Özgür Deniz Önür, the CEO of Invidyo. He has an electronics engineering background and has a PhD on A.I. based video processing. He is married with and has a 1.5 years old son.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have a PhD on video and image processing and I was working for a government agency on managing big video archives. Back then IP cameras were new to the market and they were expensive and difficult to set up. One day a friend called and said that they had a baby a few weeks ago. They were going to hire a nanny and were desperately looking for a camera system to install. He wanted me to help him since he thought I knew my way around this video stuff. This made us realize as a team that in addition to governments and corporates consumers could actually benefit from the technology that we were working on. This started it all and we set out on a path that led us to invidyo.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

We were working with an American company that connects startups to factories in China and also handles the packaging, warehousing and importing tasks. After working on the hardware design for about a year we finally started manufacturing. We got the first 20 units and then we had 100 more. Everything was looking good so we ordered the next 500. We also started taking pre-orders as we now trusted the factory and the intermediary company. Just a few days before the production was due to finish we received an e-mail from a Chinese employee in the US firm that the business was shutting down. The US firm was unable to pay the wages of some of the Chinese workers and the government had requested the company to cease operations in China. We had taken a lot of pre-orders and over night our supply chain had virtually disappeared. It sounds interesting now but back then we had really stressful months until we managed to find a new factory and manufacturing partner.

Can you tell us about the “Bleeding edge” technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

We are trying to make it easier for parents who have to work full time and employ a caregiver at home to look after their baby. We employ A.I. based video and audio processing technology to automatically determine the important moments in a child’s day. Using invidyo, parents are able to have peace of mind and focus on their jobs rather than watching their security cameras all the time, because they know that invidyo will alert them whenever there is something going on at home that they need to pay attention to.

How do you think this might change the world?

We think that it is very important for Mothers to be able to return to the workforce after childbirth. Taking care of their babies or toddlers should not impede their contribution to their careers and society at large. We believe that the world will change for the better when we have more women involvement in every aspect of our lives.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

We have been developing invidyo to give parents peace of mind about what is going on in their homes while they are working. However, no technology will replace actually spending time with family. I would say having a good work-life balance is paramount and we should always make time for loved ones even if technology makes us feel like it is also OK to be away.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

One day I was on stage pitching to Dave Mclure. Back then he was the Executive Manager of 500 startups. We advertised that our product could be used for elderly monitoring, pet monitoring and home security in addition to baby monitoring. We thought the bigger the target audience the better for the company. So as I was pitching this idea, Dave became silent, he did not say anything for a while, then all of a sudden he said how are you going to differentiate yourself with this generic product. He politely! (yes he used the f word) told me to get off the stage. And that was the day we decided to really focus on child monitoring.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

As a startup it is really expensive to reach the mass audience only through paid ads. Baby products usually have a very strong word of mouth effect. And we are lucky on that front since most parents really love our product. And once you have a happy customer, then they become your brand ambassadors and that is better than what you can get with the most expensive paid ad. We are working with Instagram influencers to let parents know about our product and that is playing out pretty well so far.

What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?

We are mostly using the usual. Instagram marketing, referrals, paid ads. But the most important thing we are doing is trying our best to make customers happy. Because as said before, happy customers are even better than us the founders in publicizing our product.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

We are fortunate enough to be a 3 founder team. All of us have known each other since middle school and we were friends and part of each others social lives before we became co-founders. That really helped a lot. We could accomplish most tasks without requiring external help. Other than that we are really grateful to our families for putting up with our long working hours, never ending emergencies and daily flow of new challenges.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I think our most important contribution is trying to get women return to the workforce after childbirth. Because we know that we will never reach our true potential without women leading the way.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  • Build a product that people will want, not a product that seemed cool over dinner with your fellow engineers
  • Don’t keep your idea as a secret fearing that people would try to steal your idea
  • Start interacting with potential clients from day one.
  • Start small don’t spend money on something that is not absolutely necessary
  • Somebody on the team should focus on business. Don’t have a team who are all engineers, have a co-founder or a business focused CXO very early on.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would have people understand that they are a part of a very large eco-system of life. Every living organism is as valuable as a human and has a right to live in our planet.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” — Charles Darwin

I believe this is very relevant to my life especially as a starup founder. We will never succeed without a good team and also without perseverance and grit.

Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Invidyo is the only solution that gives peace of mind to parents who employ a nanny or a babysitter. Using A.I. based video processing we automatically determine the important moments in a child’s day. With invidyo parents don’t have to watch their security cameras all the time. They can focus on their job and invidyo will alert them whenever something happens that they need to pay attention to.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

We have facebook and twitter accounts for invidyo. I also use Linked in actively.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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