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#StartupStories Visionaries 777: bridging the digital and physical worlds

An interview with Frantz Lasorne, co-founder of Visionaries 777

Visionaries 777 is a multidisciplinary studio that develops projects across various industries, through the use of Augmented Reality, Mobiles Applications, Interactive Installations, Interactive Lighting and Audio-Reactive Visuals. The startup aims to create pioneering interactive experiences for everyone. We met Frantz Lasorne, co-founder of Visionaries 777 to have him describe their projects and the INFINITI accelerator program 2.0 experience.

As one of the nine startups participating in the INFINITI accelerator program 2.0, Visionaries 777 is working together with INFINITI to digitalize their showroom and change the way cars are being showcased. Frantz says the technology will give the car the company more flexibility for promotions while showcasing, while being and it is more engaging and tasteful from in the customer point of view.

Frantz and his business partner, Nicolas Guyon, founded Visionaries 777 in 2010. “Our technology is bringing products to life. You can look at the product from all different angles, you can customize it and you can virtually try it on. We are elevating the whole retail experience.”

Frantz has been dedicated to the augmented technology for a long period of time. During his university studies, he completed did a project on AR, seeing as he already saw the potential in the technology back in 2009. “I worked at Lego before starting my own venture, working in the research and development department with the mission to bridge the physical and digital world.” Frantz says. “I think the digital world is very important, but combining the physical and digital world excites me,” Frantz says.

Visionaries 777 X INFINITI

During the 12-week program, Visionaries 777 worked with INFINITI to develop a digital showroom for INFINITI’s vehicles. “We realize there are a lot of dealerships and showrooms across the world, but the reality is that not many people are visiting these places anymore. Most purchasing decisions are made before they even enter the store. We think companies should think of a new way to approach customers. Instead of building a physical showroom, we want to build a virtual showroom, we think this could be the future of retail,” Frantz says.

The VR technology allows customers to see how the car looks like without having to physically be in a showroom, and the AR technology allows customers to access further information. “Visionaries 777 wants to replace the physical brochure using our AR technology, which enables customers to access information easily through our app,” Frantz explains. “For example, instead of reading the brochure to see how the vehicles work, you can use the app and focus the camera on any part of the car to see how every component works with the AR technology. The technology enables customers to engage in the digital showroom. Every time we show our work to people, they are amazed by what AR and VR technology can do.”

The automotive industry had previously been hard to access for Visionaries 777 as many companies are well established multinational corporations with few opportunities to present their idea to the decision makers. “When I realized INFINITI has its headquarter in Hong Kong, I knew it was a great avenue to be able to enter the industry,” says Frantz. “I am excited to see more collaboration opportunities with INFINITI in the future as a long-term partnership.” During the accelerator program, Visionaries 777 focused on finding out which department inside INFINITI could benefit from using AR and VR technology. The team talked with various departments in order to understand their needs.

Hong Kong: the highs and the lows

As a french entrepreneur, Frantz decided to kick start his venture in Hong Kong because he sees the potential in Asia. “Hong Kong is one of the easiest cities for foreigners to enter the Asia startup ecosystem, as creating a startup in Hong Kong is quite straightforward. With Shenzhen being so close to Hong Kong, hardware startups also have a great advantage starting up in the city,” says Frantz. “As an international city, a lot of major companies have a satellite office in Hong Kong, which makes it easy to connect with people.”

However, Frantz says recruiting talent is one of the biggest challenges he faces in Hong Kong. “It’s not necessarily easy to find developers with knowledge in our technology here. We actively reach out to local universities like The Hong Kong Polytechnic University as well as the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE), it gets easier once you get the contact inside,” Frantz says. The co-founder says they value experience and expertise in talents, but they are also looking for dreamers who see the potential in their work.

Currently, Visionaries 777 has been working with agencies to create one-off projects for big companies such as Landmark and McDonald’s. Looking to the future, Frantz wants to achieve more long-term partnerships with companies like INFINITI directly, while scaling the team and expanding their service to different cities.

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