Nicolas spoke with Dr. Matthew Mirman on an episode of the Accelerometer podcast on the topic of start-ups and innovation in the Artificial Intelligence space.
The guest is Nicolas from Showzone, a startup founded in January  as an ETH spin-off, which provides an app to assist presenters in delivering their message effectively. The app doesn't focus on creating presentation slides, but enhances the delivery once the presenter is in the room. It helps keep the audience engaged and provides a summary post-presentation, addressing the issue of audiences forgetting up to 80% of the content shortly after a talk.
The key performance indicator (KPI) for Showzone is measuring whether the presenters' messages are conveyed successfully, which is tracked by the audience's follow-through on the presenters' calls to action. The startup is in the product-market fit phase, analyzing user feedback and interactions with the software in real-life settings.
Nicolas explains that Showzone was born from a personal need during the pandemic when he was a lecturer and his co-founder Eren was a student. They both experienced the lack of interaction in online classes. Now committed full-time to Showzone, Nicolas and his co-founders aim to enable presenters to optimize communication in educational settings and beyond. Addressing the potential misuse of their product, Nicolas emphasizes his positive outlook and the mission to enable speakers to get their message across. He recounts his and his team's journey from the inception of Showzone, the challenges they face as a software startup, and how they stay motivated.
Nicolas also discusses the importance of company culture and his introduction to generative AI, which has enhanced their product, particularly in real-time transcription. Despite the challenges, such as computing resources and managing real-time AI tasks, Nicolas is optimistic about the future of AI and its integration into various aspects of life.
The conversation shifts to the startup environment in Zurich, which Nicolas finds supportive, although he notes that investment opportunities are not as abundant as in other places. He shares an anecdote about early fundraising challenges and the unrealistic expectations some investors have for startups. In conclusion, Nicolas reflects on the journey of building a startup, the resilience needed, and the ‘march through the desert’ that many successful companies endure. He remains committed to Showzone, seeing it as a vehicle to make an impact and improve communication for presenters worldwide.