Pixo VR is apart from its competitors by the team, technology and timing. They have a unique mix of skill sets that perfectly align with their goals, along with our mutual alignment on the mission.
Name: Pixo VR
Location: Royal Oak, Michigan
Product / Service Offering: Enterprise Virtual Reality Platform
Founder Interviewed: Sean Hurwitz, CEO
Other Key Management Team Members: Benjamin Mazza, Product Manager/Creative Director; Erica Schaffel, VP of Sales; Todd Kuenhl, Senior Software Architect; Marco Maceri, Director of Marketing
This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight Series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
I have spent most of my life in pursuit of accomplishing something great. I believe we are all capable of that if we are willing to invest the time and effort on self-awareness and personal improvement. When I was 17, I started a landscape/snow removal company out of my dad’s garage, which I sold 17 years later with 85 employees.
I thrive on bringing the best teams together and then bringing out the best in them. My job is to support their expertise and remove outside distractions, which provides a platform for them to do what they love. I am motivated by knowing there are no boundaries. We are only limited by what we believe. Additionally, having a great, like-minded team makes it that much more fulfilling.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
The business was started in 2009 as a video game company, which quickly moved into mobile/smartphone applications. When Facebook acquired Oculus Rift, we identified the opportunity in Virtual Reality and exclusively started building an enterprise VR platform.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
Traditional training has become ineffective not only to the incoming younger workforce but also to the senior workforce. Like any new groundbreaking technology, VR is challenging the value of the traditional methods, which are quickly becoming obsolete.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
Pixo VR is apart from its competitors by the team, technology, and timing. We have a unique mix of skill sets that perfectly align with our goals, along with our mutual alignment on the mission.
Over the last few years, we have worked with several large enterprise clients that have helped identify their pain points. Firstly, our solutions directly solve their problems. Secondly, we provide solutions that are immersive, life-like environments that cannot be replicated any other way.
The technology we have built over the years is now becoming in high demand, as VR starts moving from early adopters to the mainstream. While the value of enterprise VR was being contemplated, Pixo VR invested millions of dollars moving to where “the puck was going to be”. Now, as traction increases, our proprietary software is ready to scale along with the demand.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
Selling a brand-new technology to an audience that is not ready for change, feels like things are “fine”, and typically an older demographic is challenging. Investing our time selling to those that see the need has been more successful than trying to convince prospects to change.
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
Yes, we use an outside consultant for organizational health who meets with all the staff individually and sometimes together. We have found this has removed typical misunderstandings, helped everyone better identify their personalities, and most importantly supported a healthy culture. Most people think a small company would not need that, but it has proved to be invaluable.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
There are several things I would do differently if I had the impossible vision of hindsight. As we do not, the one thing we could have done was better understand what the VC’s would be looking for to fund the company. Validating the business model could have different meanings to different people.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
Spending time raising significant funding while trying to still run the business is challenging. Without validating the model, funding will be harder to secure, yet securing funding takes time away from validating.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
We are former AAA video game developers. Focus on the teams’ strengths and let them do what they do best.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?
I have never been a part of something where everyone cared so much. Everyone in the company has their reasons for why Pixo VR makes sense for them and is helping them further their careers and lives. It is an amazing culture. We are all in pursuit of something great!
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