Startup Interview with Pavel Shkliaev, CEO Of LensAI by@lensai

Startup Interview with Pavel Shkliaev, CEO Of LensAI

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AI-powered contextual computer vision ad platform that monetizes any visual...

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HackerNoon Reporter: Please tell us briefly about your background.

Pavel is an experienced IT entrepreneur with a background in aviation and economics; he has been developing cybersecurity software since 1996 and has led various venture teams. Prior to LensAI, Pavel launched four start-ups with one successful exit.

What's your startup called? And in a sentence or two, what does it do?

LensAI. AI-powered contextual digital ad platform

It all started with a sofa. Precisely, with me sitting on that sofa and clicking buttons on the remote control. After going through two hundred channels or so, surprisingly, I paused on the Shopping Channel. First of all, I was shocked that it even existed. Secondly, I was even more shocked after I realized it existed because that means someone still buys cheap crap like deluxe knives for $50, rare diamonds, and magic steamers. I kept switching channels until I ran into the "Casino Royale" movie with Daniel Craig.

As I was watching, I could not stop wondering why they never sell items that they show in the movies? I liked the suit James Bond was wearing in one scene, and if given a chance right now, I would probably order it instantly. Although I did not need the suit, I liked how it looked on the actor and simply the idea of having such a suit gave me a good feeling. After I personally proved to myself that purchases are often an impulsive event, I began to grow this idea in my mind.

The first question arose: what if the concept of the shopping channel was implemented right into the movie giving me, a potential consumer, an opportunity to buy things that were shown at that moment?

Then, the second question followed: what if I could instantly buy all the things that I see in the digital space without spending so much time searching for them online or remembering the exact source I first saw them on? We wrote more about that before.

What do you love about your team, and why are you the ones to solve this problem?

After six months of intense work on the previous project, I finally got a free week or two. I was finally able to unload my brain, but my irresistible craving “to create” was too intense to ignore. It's been a while since thoughts about the world's overproduction of goods and how it created the problem of selling rather than producing occupied my mind.

I kept thinking of how quickly Instagram turned into a vast marketplace, where every homemaker sells a luxury anti-wrinkle cream. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that these led to such an oversupply of information that an average consumer can't really focus on one specific item for a long time, let alone focus on the text.

Even though I’ve always enjoyed the process of solving problems, it felt like I’d had enough of it. Anyway, a solution to specific issues is a niche market, and I was ready to solve universal truths.

It was time to shift my focus to creating new opportunities.

I have always strived to think big. My team focuses on the solution. My team solves product problems. This complements us. I love it. It makes us strong.

If you weren’t building your startup, what would you be doing?

I would build another startup or enter politics :)

At the moment, how do you measure success? What are your core metrics?

At the moment, we are measuring conversion rates and testing the technology on 10,000+ websites. Checking the users’ behavior. We are also measuring the capacity of advertising inventory and generating metrics that will show us how to improve the technology for its smooth release into the market.

What’s most exciting about your traction to date?

Creation. Recognition. :) Winning over competitors.

What technologies are you currently most excited about, and most worried about? And why?

Augmented reality. Neural Interfaces. These opportunities will open up the possibility for building new models of human interaction with the world as well as cognition processes.

What drew you to get published on HackerNoon? What do you like most about our platform?

There is an old-school spirit. Highly intelligent people get together on this platform. There are different points of view. It allows me to keep track of the direction modern IT entrepreneurship is heading in.

What advice would you give to the 21-year-old version of yourself?

Don't waste time on making money. Instead, create IT products. Technology is the new gold.

What is something surprising you've learned this year that your contemporaries would benefit from knowing?

Happiness is when you find and accept yourself. This is the most important thing in everyone’s life. It may be difficult to find your real self, but it's worth it.

LensAI was nominated as one of the best startups in Ridgefield in Startups of the Year hosted by HackerNoon.


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