Startup Spotlight is an ongoing series which profiles Canadian wireless and mobile technology startups.
This month, we spoke with Peter Wittig, Senior Developer and Co-Founder of Motive.io. The company allows creatives and companies to create Real-World AR / VR / Unity3D games and experiences with their groundbreaking authoring tool.
What’s the inspiration behind Motive.io? What was the path that lead to where the company is today?
My co-founders and I have been working in the location based and augmented reality (AR) space and were driven to create a tool that would allow for easily getting a story or an emotional experience onto a smartphone. We knew we could code something that used the unique sensors of the smartphone, including GPS, access to beacons, location data, weather, time of day, etc. However, we needed non-developers to be able to do this as well. As we were working on this, we found that there are excellent tools on the web and excellent tools for video editing for creatives, but there were no existing tools to accomplish our goal of getting a story or emotional experience onto a smartphone without writing code.
As we were making location based games, we found that our creative director would write amazing stories but there was a persistent lag in the time it would take for him to see his concept realized in the game. That lag could be up to two weeks per change. So we decided we needed to create the tool that he needed. Now, with our authoring tool, he is able to change the story or change the narrative based on what he thinks is emotionally engaging and do it in such a way that the changes can be automatically imported into the app. As a result, his lag time has disappeared because he no longer needs an engineer to make changes for him. We wanted to offer that power to others.
Can you explain the essence of your product and what benefits it provides?
Motive.io is a programming tool for content creators, creative professionals and developers. It empowers creators to program content-driven apps and games without relying on engineers; instead working in parallel. With support for Unity 3D and HTML5, Motive.io can power mobile apps, VR, AR, and web sites. Our online editor is powerful, easy-to-use, and designed for collaboration, allowing teams to work together on a project no matter where they are in the world. We decided to focus on the location-based / AR market first as that is the space in which we were working prior to starting our company. Our tool allows people to easily create experiences which happen in the real world via a mobile device.
We created Motive.io to help game developers and creatives save months of development time, so you’ll get your product out a lot faster, you’re going to get it done for a lot less money and it’s going to be higher quality because it’s gone through rigorous testing.
What role has Wavefront played in your journey to date?
We were recently accepted into Wavefront’s Venture Acceleration Program (VAP) and we’re excited to have this opportunity to learn more about marketing our product, connecting with potential customers who are interested in what we’re doing, and obtaining more information about how we can best run our business. We are great at some aspects of creating and growing our business, but we acknowledge that we have a lot to learn. While we’re still in the early days of our relationship with Wavefront, we already can see that this is going to be very beneficial for us.
From where you stand now, what developments do you see in the next 5-10 years?
I think at the very highest level, Motive.io gives creative professionals access to technology that they normally would need to go through an engineer to utilize. With this, it opens up the playing field of technological development to groups of people that otherwise would not be in the space and in turn is growing the potential for exciting and interesting new applications.
We’re creating opportunities for technology to be adaptive and as such we’re seeing that people are embracing the idea that this technology doesn’t have to be only for entertainment. We recently helped develop a highly engaging corporate training experience, I think we will continue seeing more and more widespread usage of this technology in exciting and interesting ways.
From your time leading the company, is there any advice you would share in the face of challenge?
One of the biggest issues we had prior to Pokemon Go was that most of the people who we told about our product were unable to see the potential in what we creating. Obviously that has since changed, we no longer have to explain the power of our product, but we’re now having to navigate the different desires and demands of multiple customer bases. Figuring out who our customer is exactly, determining what those customers need and how to best get it to them has been an ongoing challenge for us and was one of the main reasons why we wanted to participate in Wavefront’s VAP. We would definitely encourage any up and coming entrepreneurs to explore getting into the VAP as well. There are things that I’ve been learning in the program that I wish I knew earlier.
I would also encourage aspiring entrepreneurs that if you have a good idea, have confidence in it. If you’re doing something innovative people might not be able to see the potential right off the bat. Have faith in your idea and work hard to make it a reality.
Why did you select BC for the home of your company?
My two co-founders, Ryan Chapman and Jeff Macpherson, are from BC so it was an easy and obvious choice as the home for our company. More importantly, Vancouver is a unique place in that it has a wonderful mix of creatives and technology. Especially considering the large gaming and visual effects industries that are present here, there are a lot of great people in one place.
Peter and his team are regularly working with innovative people and companies to creative immersive experiences, engaging events and outdoor games. To stay up to date on Motive.io and the projects they help create, visit their website: www.motive.io. To see what Motive.io can do, watch this video.
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