"The thing I like about Kansas City more than anything is how accessible things are. That level of accessibility leaves open the ability to have a great lifestyle both professionally and personally." — Jasper Mullarney, co-founder, Epigraph
- Epigraph builds customer experiences in 3D and AR
- Purdue University opens IoT consortium
- Could this be the cure for snoring?
- M25's Best of the Midwest Startup Cities
- U.S. Army recruits two startups for Exosense Project
- Fueling the Future
- Name that Flyover City!
September 2, 2021
Epigraph builds customer experiences in 3D and AR
Jasper Mullarney, co-founder, Epigraph
Epigraph is a company in Kansas City, Missouri, that builds scalable, customizable, engaging customer experiences in 3D and augmented reality (AR). Flyover Future spoke with co-founder Jasper Mullarney about what the company does.
Tell us about Epigraph.
Mullarney: The high-level pitch is that visual content is essential to sales. Every product needs photographs if you're going to ever sell it. The creation of that content using today's methodology is time-consuming, wasteful and expensive.
Mullarney: For example, if you're a manufacturer of couches, then you need to manufacture those products; package them; ship them; put them in a studio; and use a camera to take photos. We're actually taking in manufacturing data and using that data to generate valuable content for products. We can make CGI that is indiscernible from a photograph without ever having to touch the product.
Why is this kind of marketing tech important now?
Mullarney: The main reason we're doing this is that, at some point, the ‘dominant screen’ is going to move from our hands to our faces. Instead of me holding a phone, I'll be wearing smart glasses or something that overlays data on the real world. The best example of that is if I'm shopping for couches and I have smart glasses on, then I can look at what that couch would look like in my room. That's a much better user experience than a 2D image. I’m able to drop a 3D object into my room that casts shadows and reflects light like the real thing would do.
If you view an object in your room through your phone screen, then you’re more likely to ultimately purchase that item. If a user engages and uses this tool, then they’re more likely to buy. That's obviously going to become even more significant when people are wearing smart glasses that are required for the media type. That’s where we think things are going and we're trying to get our customers ahead of it.
How did the company get started?
Mullarney: My two business partners were colleagues of mine previously in a 3D visualization studio. We saw the writing on the wall that things were going to change a lot with augmented reality. One of those guys is my neighbor, and he came and talked to me because he knew I had an advertising background. We bootstrapped the company and founded it in 2018. Bootstrapping did well until the end of 2019, when we were offered $500,000 by the Fountain Innovation Fund.
What advantages does Kansas City offer in terms of launching a business?
Mullarney: It's interesting. I'm originally from Ireland, and one of my business partners is from Portugal. But the thing I like about Kansas City more than anything is how accessible things are. That level of accessibility leaves open the ability to have a great lifestyle both professionally and personally. Another is that [the city] is a bit less hectic but quite supportive of creative businesses and people.
“There's a reason there are so many advertising agencies here." — Jasper Mullarney, Epigraph
There's a reason there are so many advertising agencies here. The big global digital ad agency VMLY&R was founded here and is still based here. They now have branches in China and all over Europe. Digital Evolution Group (DEG), which is now part of Merkle, is from here as well. Bob Bernstein opened the marketing firm Bernstein-Rein here—they invented the concept of the Happy Meal for McDonald's.
You’ve got a lot of creativity in the history and culture, combined with the accessibility of the city. Overall, it makes [Kansas City] a pretty great place to grow a business like this.
What are your plans for the foreseeable future?
Mullarney: In the first half of this year, we figured out ‘our lane.’ In other words, this is our pitch to customers; these are the partnerships we want; and how we want to structure them. So now it's scale. How do we take this defined thing and then fuel and grow it? My personal goal through the end of the year is to build out a sales team designed around hitting specific goals in our industry for our product. It’s a matter of taking us from this startup that had some traction to the product/market fit. We want the product to be mature and scalable, and then we want to build the teams around it to make it scale.
Join OhioX, Facebook, and dozens of companies, schools, and organizations across the state for the first ever Ohio Tech Day on Friday, September 24th. Ohio Tech Day is designed to include and inspire Ohio’s high school students: our next generation of leaders in tech and innovation.
Who can participate? Any company, school, or organization interested in growing Ohio’s tech economy. Join us to celebrate your tech, the people who make it all happen, and help us build Ohio into a leading tech hub.
For more information, please visit www.ohiotechday.org and you can register here for the signature Ohio Tech Day event.
Purdue University opens IoT consortium
Could this be the cure for snoring?
EAGAN, MN—A startup created by a mechanical design engineer may have an answer for snoring: a water bottle that can improve the sleep of snorers by strengthening muscles in the tongue and throat with the use of a specialized nozzle. REMasteredSleep has applied for a Small Business Innovation Research grant through the Small Business Administration to take the idea further.
M25's Best of the Midwest Startup Cities
U.S. Army recruits two startups for Exosense Project
What is fueling Flyover Country innovation? In this weekly feature, we share a variety of announcements covering funding, acquisitions, exits, grants and everything in between. Got something to celebrate? Click here to share your story.
ST. LOUIS, MO—Software startup Balto has raised $37.5 million in a Series B funding round it says will accelerate its rapid growth. New York-based investment firm Stripes led the financing. The financing round also involved several existing investors, including St. Louis-based Cultivation Capital, Sierra Ventures, TIA Ventures, OCA Ventures, Stage Venture Partners, SaaS Venture Capital, Sandalphon Capital and Atreides Management.
It's time for our favorite trivia game!
Here are this week's questions:
- The local delicacy that this Midwestern city serves to its legion of fans is a dressed up hot dog called a “Coney Island.” However, neither the name nor the dog has anything to do with New York’s famous Coney Island amusement park. What is the name of the city famous for “Coneys?”
- This city is home to the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, nicknamed “Fed Med.” Famous guests have included John Gotti and Robert Stroud, AKA “the Birdman of Alcatraz.” What Midwestern city has been home to this facility for nearly 90 years?
- Hollywood icon Shirley Maclaine was born in this Southern city in 1934. Three years later, her brother Warren Beatty came along, and they both grew up in the capital city of the tenth state to join the Union. What city is it?
Click here for today’s answers.
Share stories, offer suggestions, or send comments!