My journey into a mixed reality

How I managed to get into the mixed reality software business.

A good friend of mine for the past 20 odd years Hannu Lesonen approached me about 5 years ago with an idea he couldn't put down.

His background was as an industrial designer and at the time he was looking at ways he would make his idea real.

He had been thinking about how to develop software for AR or VR glasses that could provide a heads-up display for drone pilots.

When he approached me with the idea my immediate thought was “well surely someone has already done that?”.



Was Hannu’s answer.

I was a bit skeptical so I did a bit of my own research.

I figured if nothing else the US military somewhere had to have done this.

I couldn't find anything.

So we kept talking till around 2020 when Hannu had made the decision along with Lasse his co-founder to take the leap and develop it.

He needed backers so I came in as an early angel investor along with another long time friend from Turku.

When we setup we knew immediate funding was going to be needed.

Hannu approached Nordic XR who took one look at the prototype plans and invested.

This gave the newly minted company Anarky Labs a little leverage to go to Business Finland but six months into the companies life, with the product already working at the MVP level something awesome happened.

We met Antti. An incredibly well connected former fighter pilot who took one look at the system in action and bought into the idea immediately.

This led to (long story short) a massive seed investment that allowed us to get significant funding from Business Finland.

The company now has two patents in the USA and Europe, 15 employees, customers like police forces in Norway, Finland, the USA, Ireland, the Netherlands and institutions like the FAA and Interpol.

It's a remarkable story to go from Hannu's discussion in a train on the way to Turku, to developing the world's first heads up display for drone pilots.

So to explain a little bit about what this is.

Imagine you’re a police search and rescue drone pilot.

Your job is to find a lost hiker up a mountain.

You fly a drone towards the mountain but a few hundred meters away it becomes difficult to see where you’re going, your partner who watches the drone can’t even see it in his binoculars very well and you’re spending more time making sure you don’t crash the drone than searching for the hiker.

With AirHUD the product Anarky have you wear a set of AR glasses and see perfectly where the drone is, the map you’re flying over, the telemetry, coordinates and distances from objects.

You can fly behind blind spots without fear.
Now imagine you see the hiker injured and in danger in a tough to reach spot (helicopter access only).

AirHUD could simply drop a marker on the map and send the coordinates to the air rescue guys who come in, pick up the hiker and get him treated. Life saved.

Now imagine you’re a field engineer inspecting windmills.

Lots of use cases.

So yes, a pretty cool product and the first time in my life I've been involved with any kind of virtual/augmented or mixed reality.

In the coming weeks I’ll explain what I am doing to raise the awareness, how we’re generating online leads and what the plan is for this year. It’s a story that includes AI, SEO, PR, Strategic development of white papers, analytics (of course) and blogging.

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