Ready. Ride. Review.
The startup scene just got a bit brighter with the entrance of the new kids on the block – pik’d. The Austrian co-founders Moritz and Clemens met during their studies in International Economics in Innsbruck, Austria. The two sports geeks realized pretty quickly that all the footage they captured with their GoPro® cameras just ended up in a drawer. The end of the road was reached when in 2014 they returned from a trip to the Dolomites with one terabyte of raw footage. And you guess right, nobody found the time to cut and edit the collected material. Back in Innsbruck they decided to tackle the problem, and now, two years later, they find themselves in Santiago de Chile, being the founders of pik’d and working together with many talented athletes. How did this all happened? We talked to one of the co-founders!
Q: Can you quickly introduce yourself?
Moritz: My name is Moritz Hawelka and I’m Co-Founder and CEO at pik’d.
Q: How would you describe pik’d in 1 sentence?
Moritz: Think of pik’d as a brain for your GoPro® that automatically finds highlights in your videos so you don’t have to.
Q: After collecting a terabyte of raw footage on a trip, you realized that it was simply impossible to cut and edit it. But when did you realize that you wanted to create your very own product?
Moritz: We were going nuts trying exisiting solutions that claimed to solve the problem we had, because none of them worked acceptably for GoPro footage. Exisiting software relied a lot on image analysis and that simply didn’t do the job, because GoPro or POV (point of view) footage in general is really different from traditional footage. We figured that there has to be a way to help out GoPro users, and that’s when we thought that building our own hardware was the only way that can be done.
Q: How long did it take to come up with the first prototype? And what was technically the most challenging part to develop pik’d?
Moritz: We had our first prototype within a couple of weeks, probably after 5 or 6. I’m not going to lie, it was an ugly piece of off-the-shelf components, but it got the job done and proved our concept. The most challenging part was building patterns that allow us to recognize what we call highlights in our customers’ videos. Everybody moves in a different way, and being able to guarantee accuracy across several sports, skill levels and tricks, was a long way with a lot of science and machine learning involved. I probably explained this pretty terribly, so I’ll give you an example: No matter if you are Shaun White doing a 360 with 3 seconds air time over a 40 foot table, or a beginner who just tried his very first 360 on the smallest kicker available in the park, pik’d has been trained with sheer endless data to be able to identify both jumps as 360s. It does this for a set of tricks we put together with GoPro® users from all over the world so we are sure we are ready to find everything that is considered a highlight by our target group.
Q: You and Clemens have been friends even before pik’d came up. How is it to work with your pal?
Moritz: It definitely makes it a lot easier to say out loud what you are thinking, because you are not afraid to step on someone’s foot. We also consider it to be a necessary ingredient of our future success that we all keep getting along really well, because we see each other way too much not to. Imagine we start fighting, there’s no way we can just avoid each other because we are working together closely in all areas pretty much 24/7. Being friends helps, because we have each other’s backs and we know exactly where our strengths and weaknesses are, so it’s easier to distribute tasks. And I’m pretty sure performance also gets better when you work with your pals, because you don’t want to let anydone down. We are all friends and have grown together even more since we started pik’d, because it’s just been an amazing journey so far and we know that there’s still so much ahead.
left to right: Pablo Woolvett, Hannes Höttinger (via laptop), Clemens Haaser, Cristobal Barrientos, Moritz Hawelka, Sebastian Arriagada
Q: Startup or corporate job? And why?
Moritz: The best thing about starting a startup is that you are working on something you are really passionate about, that makes it feel a lot less like work. People often think founders are in it for the chance of the big money, but we have a far more ambitious goal: we want to make our customers truly happy and deliver them something that relieves them from an actual pain. My dream will come true when I stand in a retail store where pik’d is sold and I see a kid running in, grab pik’d and be excited to use it, that’s what’s pushing us, especially me in this case. The downside is the constant lack of money, and if you happen to have money and want to spend it on a beer with friends, you know you shouldn’t because that means you’ll have less money to grow your company. Your money is the company’s money – that’s a curse. But to answer your question, I clearly recommend a startup job, because you can actually move something as an individual and the dynamic is a lot different than in corporate jobs where decisions sometimes take a long time. I used to work for Adidas before starting pik’d and what bothered me most was that everybody thought he was irreplaceable, but in fact the company is so big that a single person can hardly ever make a difference at this company stage. In a startup you always make a difference, sometimes that’s a good thing, and other times that’s a bad thing, but you will learn a lot along the way and get closer to being a game changer everyday. If you prefer security and a constant income, weekends and a calm parents, you should probably go for a corporate job.
Q: Who is supporting and sponsoring you currently?
Moritz: We are currently funded by Google Services and a Chilean Incubator called Chrysalis. We have previously received funding from the world renowned tech incubator Startup Chile, where we ended up graduating from the program among the Top 10 of over 2500 startups. On top of that, we also receveid some funding from the Austria Wirtschaftsservice (AWS) in Austria.
Q: When you started to work on pik’d, did you have any experience in developing hard and software solutions?
Moritz: The answer is quite simple again. No. But after being on it for almost 2 years, we have a solid experience in both areas now. And we won’t stop anytime soon to gain more experience, that’s for sure.
Q: What mistakes have you made and what have you learned from it? Any advice you want to share with someone starting their own business?
Moritz: Perfection is the enemy of execution. If you’re starting something, chances are low you’ll make it perfect right away. So build something, even if you know it’s terrible, you will learn from the feedback and get closer to what it should be like. The worst thing is not to do anything because you don’t exactly know how to do it. It’s a lot about making the right mistakes and accepting that mistakes and wrong decisions are part of the story. Quite obviously, damage should always be kept small.
Q: Although you and Clemens are Austrian, you are currently based in Santiago. Why are you located in Chile and not in Austria?
Moritz: The answer is quite simple. We applied to the 9th generation of Startup Chile and got accepted as one of 80 startups among more than 2500 applicants. The program policy obliges the founders to come to Chile for 6 months and since we got a follow-on funding after the program, we decided to stay. Furthermore, Chile’s unique landscape is the perfect testing base for our product. There’s a very active action sport scene and on a single day you can surf big waves and ride fresh powder throughout the whole year. It doesn’t get any better than this for us.
Q: What are you most excited about the future of pik’d?
Moritz: We are about to launch. It was a lot of hard work until now and it will be an incredibly rewarding feeling to finally sell the first product. What’s most important though is the smile on our customers’ faces after using pik’d, the videos they can now easily share without having to go through a time-consuming process.
Q: Anything you want to add?
Moritz: We are inviting people to sign up with their email on our webpage to secure a 40% discount without committing to purchase. A day or 2 before the official launch in approximately one month, only signups will get an email notification and will be able to use their discount to get pik’d for US$60 instead of US$100. But ONLY for those 2 days, so if you are interested, you should visit our website and sign up. Worst case scenario is you have a discount you won’t use, and I promise, I don’t have the time to write spam emails. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Cheers and thanks for the interview!
Thanks to Moritz for taking the time to chat with us and we will definitely keep an eye on pik’d!
Images kindly provided by pik’d.