In business your gut instinct is just as important as rational judgment. Making counterintuitive decisions based solely on instinct is scary but it often pays off.

 

Kosta Popov, CEO and Founder of Cappasity — the company providing an easy and scalable platform for creation, embedding and analysis of 3D and AR/VR content — has a 16+ years successful track record as a software company CEO. Under Kosta’s lead, Cappasity successfully raised $4.9M and launched its platform and 3D digitizing software in 2017. Kosta is an expert in 3D technologies, SaaS solutions, and mobile applications and one of the top innovators by Intel Software.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

In 2013, there were several venture deals in 3D technology, and since the team had prior experience in 3D, video gaming to be precise, we decided that the market was ready to step into the era where 3D technology would be used by regular consumers.

We chose e-commerce in general and fashion e-commerce in particular as our target because at the time it was evident just how quickly this market would evolve and how expansive the demand for innovative solutions for online retail would be.

We began with product visualization but it soon became clear that what we needed was a pipeline solution for large retailers. And so Cappasity was founded in December 2013 with the aim of developing an easy and scalable platform for creation, embedding and analysis of 3D and AR/VR content that would allow to erase the line between brick-and-mortar and online shopping.

After several years of R&D Cappasity platform was launched in 2017 and now serves more than 1,700,000 views of 3D content each month.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I typically divide my day into four blocks.

1. Absorb information: I dedicate a large part of my day to try and absorb latest news, events and information and what it means for my business.

2. Meetings: I try and spend a good amount of time meeting clients and fostering business relationships. Internal meetings and external vendors are also important. Given this, a very good sense of time management is crucial.

3. Travel: I spend a great deal of time on the road: conferences, expos, award ceremonies and runway shows keep me away from home quite often.

4. Personal Life: Busy schedule is not an excuse for poor work-life balance, so I make sure to dedicate some time to personal things.

How do you bring ideas to life?

By thinking about the user first and foremost.

Users do not need excuses and 3D models that come with a long list of no-can-dos — what they want is quality.

For our platform, we created a technological process that allows 3D content to be produced by retailers themselves. What’s more, restrictions for objects that couldn’t be digitized are now mute. Thanks to this process we now have our own format — a 3D View that is almost an emulation of a traditional 3D image.

Creating a 3D image of any piece is now a simple 3-step process: shoot the chosen object with a digital camera, upload the result into Cappasity platform to get a 3D View and once it’s ready, embed it into anything you wish, be it website, mobile or 3D/AR/VR application. Besides the simplicity of use Cappasity software is also very fast, in fact, it is ten times faster in 3D production than any known 3D technology and doesn’t require any specific equipment.

And since business decision making is becoming more and more data-driven, 3D product imaging needs smart analytics tools to measure its effectiveness. So here’s where AI comes into play.

Our AI analytics tool tracks the way potential customers interact with 3D images of products embedded into retailers’ websites and presents the most important metrics via a heat map. The map shows dwell time, points of customer interest, the best angles for thumbnail product positioning — metrics that provide valuable insight to effectively manage products and assortment and boost sales. Thanks to the AI analytics tool we can also predict the probability of the purchase.

We believe that in the future there will be alternative ways to create and visualize 3D content that by then will have already spread globally. In particular, it will be possible to use machine learning to correct poorly processed textures and geometry data of the items that cannot be faultlessly depicted in 3D now.

Therefore, the industry will have to solve this problem to have 3D enter everyday life as 2D photos once did. Perhaps 3D will even partially replace regular photos.

At Cappasity we predict a significant growth of the 3D technologies market in the next five years.

What’s one trend that excites you?

There are three of these, I believe.

Improved product visualization, AI for both in-depth analytics and boosting engagement levels, and revival of the physical store are the e-commerce trends to keep up with in 2019. These trends, when combined, form a solid foundation for a holistic business strategy meant to boost sales and pave the way for brand innovations and a futuristic, yet satisfying, customer experience.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I set goals. Short-term, long-term, it doesn’t matter. Thanks to my parents, I learned to set goals and achieve them early in life. Every year would mean a new short-term plan, and every 3–5 years I’d come up with some major goal. I believe that independency and dedication are vital for self-improvement. Teachers and mentors, on the contrary, stifle introspection and independent thinking by setting you up with a collection of off-the-shelf solutions.

What advice would you give your younger self?

– Do not make the product more complicated than it has to be and run with minimal viability.
– Launch as many pilot projects as you can with your clients’ feedback there to guide you — that way you’ll be able to narrow down the feature list to the most well-balanced one.
– Do not try to please everyone — start with a niche market and then expand.
– Don’t waste your time on venture capital funds when raising the first round of investments. Search for “smart” money that comes from business angels, who later will introduce you to your first clients.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

In business your gut instinct is just as important as rational judgment. Making counterintuitive decisions based solely on instinct is scary but it often pays off.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I take risks and I believe they’ll pay off. Here’s an example. We had been thinking for a while about the best way to offer our services to LVMH (LVMH Moët Hennessy — Louis Vuitton) and in the end, we tagged one of the innovation program directors in a tweet featuring a 3D image of a bag produced by one of their brands. We hoped for the best, sure, but were still very much surprised when he responded. We suddenly got an in and now we are in the LVMH acceleration program. My point being, you needn’t be wary of unconventional ways of establishing business connections, because your competitors certainly won’t be.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

To grow our business and to promote our SaaS 3D Product Imaging Solution, we are using case studies of our clients.

The case study of TSUM, one of the largest luxury goods department stores in Eastern Europe, proves that it’s possible for 3D product imaging to increase the conversion rate by almost 40% while also having large catalogues (40,000 stock keeping units) digitized in a reasonable timeframe.

We are now also providing our full-package SaaS solution to American Greetings, a creator and manufacturer of social expression products and the leader in e-greetings. Considering that replicating the traditional shopping experience for greeting cards online is challenging with the current merchandising tools available, for American Greetings 3D product imaging has solved a major problem. Product features frequently present on greeting cards such as glitter, foil, embossing, and other attachments can be difficult to appreciate with traditional 2D photography.

These are the success stories that we share with our audience to publicize our idea.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

If you are developing software for content production, begin with the version for macOS and later follow-up with the Windows version. With the majority using a Mac, you’ll speed up the development process and get to enter the market sooner than if you’d begun with Windows. I didn’t do that at first and had to learn from my mistakes.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

An online dating site with 3D images of every profile for increased interactivity and protection against catfishing.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A donation to charity that helps children with cerebral palsy.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I often use Any.do. It’s good for writing down ideas, compiling checklists, quick to-do lists and reminders for more essential notes you need to remember.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger. It’s a business book that argues that one of the most powerful forces for igniting change in business is intelligent questioning. To get a great answer, you need to ask the perfect question. This book is definitely a must-read.

What is your favorite quote?

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Key Learnings:

  • Think about the user first and foremost. Users do not need excuses and products that come with a long list of no-can-dos — what they want is quality.
  • Set goals. Short-term, long-term, it doesn’t matter. Independency and dedication are vital for self-improvement. Teachers and mentors, on the contrary, stifle introspection and independent thinking by setting you up with a collection of off-the-shelf solutions.
  • Do not try to please everyone — start with a niche market and then expand.
  • Take risks and believe they’ll pay off.