Amir Bozorgzadeh of Virtuleap tells us about neurosciences and VR.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Amir Bozorgzadeh: I suppose that, like the majority of the world, we have normalized to the surreal times, and although we share the general fatigue, we are hopeful for the future, and especially this coming summer.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Virtuleap.
Amir Bozorgzadeh: My background is as a market researcher, having executed hundreds of quantitative research projects and then moved into games publishing during my time in Dubai. In 2015, I wanted to move into the VR sector. I began writing for blogs like TechCrunch and VentureBeat, with a focus on emerging technologies and with a great emphasis on spatial computing. After dozens of articles, I came to the conclusion that the only critical use cases for virtual reality, specifically, is in the healthcare and education sectors. In 2018, we began our foray into the intersection of neurosciences and VR and gradually found our way to creating the next generation of cognitive assessment.
How does Virtuleap innovate?
Amir Bozorgzadeh: To operate a startup in the emerging technology space is, by default, innovative, as our technology must continue to pierce the mainstream veil. However, our innovation largely relates to the scientific nature of the solution, which invariably involves neuroscientists collaborating with game designers to create immersive “serious gaming” experiences that are based on or inspired by neuropsychological assessment tools and principles.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Amir Bozorgzadeh: It has disrupted our fundraising plans on more than one occasion and made it impossible to work physically in the same space, which my cofounder and I prefer when working collaboratively with technology as complex as VR and other biometric or biosensory hardware. That said, the silver lining of this biblical plague has been an acceleration in the embracing of technologies like VR to innovate sectors like healthcare and education, which has invariably benefited companies like ours. The world becomes much more open at times like these for new solutions that can help them better adapt to the shifting sands of personal and commercial upheaval.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Amir Bozorgzadeh: A good sense of humor is essential.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Amir Bozorgzadeh: We use HubSpot for general CRM.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Amir Bozorgzadeh: We’ve received one private grant to-date from the La Caixa Foundation. We haven’t benefited from any government grants, unfortunately.
Your final thoughts?
Amir Bozorgzadeh: Mental health is of the utmost importance for a startup founder. Regardless of how clever you think you are, you have to listen to your health and take care during the whole journey.