Interview with Lucas Nacsa - NEOVISION
Chief Executive Officer
Lucas Nacsa, tell us about Neovision:
LN : "I founded Neovision in 2014 with two classmates from engineering school, Pierre Arquier and Sabine Notheisen. Neovision offers consulting and other services related to artificial intelligence. Pierre and I were colleagues at Inria, where we worked in the Computer Vision and Machine Learning labs. Sabine worked at an IT outsourcing firm. The company spent three years at the Tarmac business incubator in Meylan, near Grenoble. Our time at the incubator allowed us to develop our entrepreneurial skills and connect with other startups.
We provide our customers with support creating new technologies. Our areas of expertise center around machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, natural language processing, and predictive analysis. For example, we developed a wine-bottle label recognition technology that has been integrated into the WineAdvisor app. The user takes a picture of a bottle of wine, and the app recognizes the logo and other information on the label and gives the user the ratings, comments, food-wine pairings, and other information for that particular wine. We helped WineAdvisor through all stages of the project, from developing the algorithms to implementing the solution in the cloud.
Our offices are now located in downtown Grenoble’s Europole business district and we have thirteen employees. Our team includes engineers, researchers, and consultants. We also serve as the software expert for the Easytech program administered by Minalogic and as AI consultant for Bpifrance, the French government’s investment bank. The French government has also asked us to help develop the nation’s artificial intelligence strategy. Finally, we are a founding member of Grenoble-based 3IA, an interdisciplinary institute for artificial intelligence."
What made you decide to join Minalogic?
LN: "Minalogic’s Erasmia Dupenloup and Philippe Wieczorek reached out to us in July 2014. It was immediately clear to me that we shared the same values. I walked away from the meeting with a strong feeling that I had found an organization that truly had its members’ best interests at heart...one that could also provide us with opportunities to network with other like-minded businesses and find potential partners and customers.
The first event I attended was a Minalogic brainstorming session. And my first impression turned out to be right! I got to pitch Neovision to all of the Minalogic members in the audience. It was a really valuable opportunity to promote our startup. I also met representatives of quite a few of the region’s innovative businesses that day. Some of them are now customers, others suppliers. What better proof that joining Minalogic was the right decision?."
What collaborative R&D projects have you participated in?
LN : "In 2015 we worked on the EU Mirtic project with Inria, Schneider Electric, and ULIS. The purpose of the project was to develop an embedded infrared-based advanced occupancy sensor and people counting system. The system targets the smart building market, delivering presence and human activity detection capabilities. Neovision worked on developing the algorithms and preparing them for integration into a very demanding embedded system with little memory and processing power available.
In early 2018 we contributed to the STxP70 project run by STMicroelectronics. We helped STMicroelectronics to design a companion chip to speed up convolutional neural networks directly on the hardware. Based on the chip, we developed a real-time presence-detection system prototype we showcased at Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona.
More recently, we worked with ULIS to build a proof-of-concept demonstrator system leveraging infrared sensors and deep learning algorithms to help autonomous vehicles more effectively detect the presence of people. Our partnership with ULIS resulted in a paper that was accepted by SIA Vision 2018; we also presented our results to Minalogic members at a special event on tomorrow’s vehicles."
What services have you used since joining Minalogic?
LN : "I have learned so much by attending Minalogic workshops.
I found the industrial property workshop in the “Taste for Innovation” series particularly worthwhile. I deepened my knowledge of how copyright applies to software and databases, the special regulations that apply to personal data, how patents work, and more.
The “Taste for Business” workshops were also great, with very useful sessions on online marketing (websites, social media, etc.) and selling to corporate customers.
Minalogic has also made targeted introductions that have resulted in very qualified leads, whether it is for customers or suppliers."
What kinds of partnerships are you looking for as a Minalogic member? Business? Innovation?
LN : "Remaining independent is important to us. However, we are currently developing strategic partnerships with customers, suppliers, and competitors to stay ahead on our market and address larger markets together.
So, today, we are looking for ambitious partners who share our values and who are interested in working with us to use new technologies to create a better world."