1007735

Shahin Farshchi

Partner at Lux

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON October 03, 2017

Discussion

1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
I'm an engineer-turned-investor and I work with ​startup founders who are rethinking ​machines and how we use them. The end goal is to give humans superpowers and make machines more intelligent, creating viable, scalable businesses that have the potential to dominate trillion-dollar industries. I grew up with a passion for cars, computers, and space — and never lost it. I worked my way through college as a developer for Silicon Valley startups and did a brief stint at General Motors before earning a PhD on brain-machine interfaces. I've invested in rockets, satellites, driverless cars, manufacturing automation, semiconductors, and computer vision. What's on my mind lately: Machines and computers have made us more mobile and given us access to infinite streams of knowledge. But they are not as useful or efficient as they could be. We need to design and harness machines that will serve us reliably, intelligently and efficiently. This requires thinking about machines and our relationship to them in entirely new ways. We are beginning to make our machines smarter with AI, but we still need better ways of interacting with them. What will be the great Augmented Reality application built on Apple's ARKit? Is Virtual Reality dead or is a great application yet to come? What's coming after driverless cars, small satellites, and miniature launch vehicles? Will there be a quantum step towards quantum computing, or will there be a new compute paradigm in between? Looking forward to discussing with all of you!
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Welcome, Shahin! I'm particularly interested in how AR has the potential to create new experiences and change behavior. It's a field we've all been watching for a while and with the launch of ARKit, we're starting to see real-world, creative use cases emerge. What AR-based products or companies are you most excited about? What problems or spaces would you like to see more people explore using this technology?
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@rrhoover we're in the early innings here - we funded http://www.depthkit.tv/ to build magical interactive experiences for pros and beginners
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@rrhoover We're expecting many more entrants in the space. It's also worth mentioning that Uncorpreal, Aemass, and 8i have done some interesting work in building tools for immersive AR/VR content - as well as the final content
151696
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What experiences have helped shape the way you approach decision making?
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@jacqvon Jacqueline that's an interesting question - I have an ironic answer for you: being wrong.
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@jacqvon In my days as an academic, engineer, and founder; knowing that the implications of my decisions could mean putting people at risk, or at the very least, putting my employees' jobs on the line, decisions we all about bring RIGHT
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@jacqvon Now, in the world of early-stage investing, we are more like to be wrong than right. Markets may take a turn, customer preferences can shift, new technologies can come around the corner rendering others obsolete. I've learned that I will more likely be wrong than right when it comes to these things. Therefore, I've spent more time focusing on FOUNDERS who can attract amazing PEOPLE that are the essence of these companies.
20046
Kai Gradert@kaigradert · Designer
Hello & Welcome Shahin. What are your thoughts on the uncanny valley? Do you think robots will achieve aesthetics or emotions first that are indistinguishable?
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@kaigradert Kai I'm a huge science fiction fan and yes, I expect the robots to be indistinguishable from humans sooner than we think
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@kaigradert Initially I think humans will be more accepting of robots that look and sound like robots, and over time, they may warm up to the idea of more humanoid robots
20046
Kai Gradert@kaigradert · Designer
@farshchi Agree. I think we fantasize the idea for machines/robots to look human-like. But eventually, that idea will become secondary. Emotional connections will be much more profound.
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@kaigradert I think human-looking robots make for great science fiction (= entertainment) but to your point the emotional connection could happen sooner than we expect, rendering the notion of a "human-looking" robot (i.e., Battlestar Galactica) superfluous
234457
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Shahin, what are you top tips for first time founders looking to secure their initial investors?
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@ems_hodge Here's three to start: 1) understand your competitive landscape (incumbents, startups, market/technology headwinds), 2) partner up with people that would give you an unfair advantage, 3) look for investors whose views, skill sets, and network complement yours.
1138052
Cyrille Najjar@cyrillenajjar1
Hello Shahin, thanks for taking the time today, we are a hardware startup www.sensioair.com specialising in air quality monitoring and I would love to have your insights on getting a product to market: Which cities might be the best places to build exceptional products from talent, hiring or experience How do you succeed in the B2B segment when you sell biotech and IOT do you have an experience you could share with us? Thank you!
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@cyrillenajjar Contract manufacturers such as Flextronics and Jabil have recently introduced programs and tools to accelerate founders from idea to prototype to production without having to reinvent the wheel. Furthermore, firms such as Bolt, Dragon Innovations, and Highway 1 offer comprehensive mentorship and resources to founders building novel products. To my knowledge, it is not absolutely required to be in Bostin, SF, or Shenzhen to benefit from their services/mentorship as it relates to building a hardware product.
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@cyrillenajjar Many B2B hardware companies selling into the healthcare supply chain face uphill battles that aren't necessarily technical. I'm saying this from experience at my own startup selling wireless vital sign monitors into the hospital supply chain. The challenge isn't making the gadget; it's getting (typically conservative, especially in healthcare) customers to take a risk on a startup, and pay you. My big challenge was that every customer wanted their unique flavor of the product, thereby making it impossible to grow what ends up being more like a contracting business.
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@cyrillenajjar My advice to you: Partner up with a strong engineer (which are global) seek out the HW design/DFM/CMs, but stay physically close to the customers, spend time with them, understand their needs, and don't feel pressure to "scale up fast," but rather build a powerful solution for these early customers, and revisit whether/how it makes the most sense to scale up your business.
1138052
Cyrille Najjar@cyrillenajjar1
@farshchi amazing Shahin thank you so much for this!
1138052
Cyrille Najjar@cyrillenajjar1
@farshchi thank you we are closely working with patients and the NHS we will definitely apply this!
336997
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
In the landscape of future mobility, who will be the winners and losers?
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@metacool Winners: Those who embrace the two parallel trends that will unfold:
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@metacool 1) Conventional cars that will have more autonomous features, offering more comfort and luxury. There could be an opportunity for insurers to provide a new type of product liability insurance (subject to regulation that defines what that liability is) for the vehicles while they are operating in this mode. There is also an opportunity for existing players in auto entertainment/apps i.e., Harmon, RIM, etc. to offer new products into the millions of "pseudo-autonomous" conventional vehicles rolling off assembly lines.
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@metacool 2) A future of operators of fully-autonomous vehicles, that offer transportation as a service. It could be ride sharing companies i.e., Uber/Lyft that either integrate SW/HW, or buy robocars (i.e., how airlines operate Boeing/Airbus jets), and operate them as transportation companies. It could also be the likes of Zoox who redesign the vehicle from scratch with the purpose of offering a unique, direct-to-consumer experience.
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@metacool My advice to existing OEMs and the automotive supply chain that feeds them: a) be ready to integrate the technology that enables #1, and b) get to know the operators for #2 and position yourself while we're still in the early innings.
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@metacool My advice to startups and founders is to see what parts of these two concurrent trends can't be served by existing companies, i.e., sensors, perception, prediction, planning, sims, compute, V2V, maps, insurance, operations, and see if a massive business can be built around solving any number of them.
96261
Josh Wolfe@wolfejosh
We debate this. But what's your take on "brain machine interfaces". Are we likely to see an organic implantable route or an inorganic silicon/semiconductor route? Invasive or non-invasive? And what practical applications can you imagine?
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@wolfejosh I expect two distinct parallel routes:
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@wolfejosh One route will be around repairing the brain. To repair the brain, you need to understand it and interface it at the physiological level (=invasive and likely implanted). You need to get through the skull to stimulate and sense individual cells. I expect the routes the Elon Musk and Brian Johnson are taking at Kernal and Neuralink, respectively, to initially yield powerful treatments for brain disorders, powered by an intimate understanding of brain physiology.
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@wolfejosh The other route will be around entertainment and enhancement. Techniques can range from COMPLEX AI-driven stimuli (sights/sound/touch/smell) that "trick" the brain to creating a sense of happiness, pleasure, or catalyzing desired memories. Other techniques could be as SIMPLE placebo effects.
1007735
Shahin Farshchi@farshchi · Partner at Lux empowering tech founders
@wolfejosh The latter route will likely be powered by non-invasive tech as simple as headsets, AR/VR Goggles, seemingly-random patterns of the screens of mobile phones, scented candles, or even flashing lights - hence non-invasive. This type of brain interface has existed through the arts, music, and storytelling since the dawn of civilization.