Trish Dromey meets the Dublin firm making an impact by stopping fraudsters illegally using companies’ logos.
Winning the Irish Software Association Emerging Company of the Year Award has helped Dublin company LogoGrab see 2016 out with a bang.
The award comes in recognition of the fact that the two-year-old technology start-up has clocked up sales of €1m since it formally launched in March this year.
Its product offering is image recognition technology which has been designed to scan millions of images and videos on social media and identify the specific brand logo images that users wish to find.
The biggest demand for this technology, to date, has been from social media monitoring companies which use it to track and analyse the use of their customers’ brand logos in order to gain brand insights.
LogoGrab also sells directly to some social networks, to a few major brand names including Heineken and Nestle and also to e-commerce companies which use a LogoGrab technology to detect fraudulent goods bearing counterfeit logos.
Company CEO and co-founder Luca Boschin says the demand for this type of technology is being driven by the exponential growth in the use of images on social media, including selfies. He said: “In 2012 people shared 200 million images a day — today the figure is four billion.”
LogoGrab is a little unusual in that it’s an import, which was set up in Switzerland by two Italian entrepreneurs.
Mr Boschin and co-founder and chief technology officer Dr Alessandro Prost started work on logo recognition technology in Zurich in 2013 but moved to Dublin in 2014.
Dr Prost had worked on image recognition technology for Google while Mr Boschin was a serial entrepreneur. They identified the growth in the use of digital imagery and the significance of logos. Identifying the use of logos can monetise and measure brands, they claim.
They decided to move to an English-speaking country because English is the language of technology. “We looked at London and the US and picked Ireland because of the language and the availability of staff trained by companies such as Google and Facebook,” Mr Boschin said.
Another factor in the decision to move here was the support offered by Enterprise Ireland which provided investment of €250,000 and identified the company as a High Potential Start-Up.
Prior to setting up here, LogoGrab had secured €1m in private investment Starting with a staff of three, the company worked on developing technology, which Mr Boschin says is both quicker and more precise than any other image recognition software on the market.
Prior to launching in March, the company ramped up its workforce from seven to 15 and also opened offices in both the US and the UK.
To fund the launch, LogoGrab raised an additional €1m in investment and also secured a further €250,000 from Enterprise Ireland. Over the last 10 months it has built up a customer base of around 50 large enterprise companies.
The largest sector has been social media monitoring companies which previously monitored text but now monitor images since 80% of all social media posts now contain images.
Clients in this sector include Brandwatch — which has global operations and tracks online content for some major brands.
Mr Boschin believes that LogoGrab is gaining recognition as the leading image recognition technology company.
He says it is being licensed to customers which are using it to track logo images for thousands of well-known brands including Disney and KFC.
For the future he sees significant potential in developing sales to e-commerce companies which can use it to detect counterfeit products.
Plans for 2017 will include ongoing R&D and working on developing its image recognition technology so that it can be used to identify specific products as well as logos.
“Innovation is hugely important. We had the ability to scan hundreds of millions of images every month — this month we have increased this to one billion”.
The main aim for 2017 is to accelerate the growth rate and achieve a multimillion euro turnover.
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