Written by Micheal Bingham
Our mission at xIris is to invent the future. We use artificial intelligence to improve areas of life that humans might need assistance with–starting with security. Iris (our AI’s name, not to be mistaken as xIris, the name of the company) uses computer vision to detect criminal and suspicious activity in surveillance cameras in real-time to quickly identify and report them. Unlike our competitors, we integrate with existing security cameras, so office buildings, small business owners, places of worship such as: churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and neighborhoods do not have to change their existing camera infrastructure. And we do not solely detect guns and other weapons, we detect general acts of violence and abnormalities such as: vandalism, fights, explosions, and even car accidents.
Being a teenage entrepreneur definitely has its ups and downs. I will never forget the first time I pitched to a big-name venture capital firm in New York. Though I won’t mention the name right now, perhaps sometime in the future, it was a top-tier and well known firm and recently raised a $1B+ fund to invest in startups. Needless to say, my teammates and I were a bit overwhelmed.
We’re currently raising our pre-seed round to boost customer acquisition, expand our team, and increase our presence in the market space. Thus far, we’ve raised $100K from a San Francisco based venture capital firm, Right Side Capital. We’re also in discussions with a few other firms and have more commitments to our round so stay tuned for more announcements!
Eric, our Chief Operating Officer and co-founder, sent a cold email to one of the partners there introducing us and our product. The partner had seemed interested and we’d been able to set up a meeting.
At the time I was 19. I went to the meeting solo, confident that they would invest in my company. I put on my best suit and waited in their beautifully decorated office. The meeting was going extremely well at first, that is, until maybe 15 minutes into the meeting the partner was confused that I was a physics student at NYU. It turns out that there was some confusion on who and what my company was! They thought they were meeting with a later stage company, Series A+. Of course, I was given the typical response many startups get when they first attempt to raise money “it’s too early right now” but the partner mentioned her admiration of me. I tell this story because it illustrates an important lesson that I think the younger entrepreneurial community should take to heart: when you articulate your knowledge, skills, vision, and confidence, it will make everyone forget how young you are.