All posts by Paul Melcher

Paul Melcher is the founder of Kaptur and Managing Director of Melcher System, a consultancy for visual technology firms. He is an entrepreneur, advisor, and consultant with a rich background in visual tech, content licensing, business strategy, and technology with more than 20 years experience in developing world-renowned photo-based companies with already two successful exits.
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The ubertification of photography

It made a giant noise as it caught everyone by surprise — $230 million investment in a company providing photo services.  After Adobe’s $800 million purchase of French microstock photo company Fotolia, Pond 5’s $64 million investment and Shutterstock’s  $76.5 million IPO, it is the highest figures ever seen invested in the photo world, by far. Sure, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion but that was for its formidable dedicated audience, not for its inexistent business model. In the case of Meero, it’s obviously for…

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10 questions to a founder : Generated Photos

While the release of this person does not exist by three researchers created a massive wave of buzz, it never went beyond curiosity. When Ivan Braun and his team launched Generated Photos, the interest changed to concern and apprehension. Generating human portraits via AI was no longer a research paper but a real, viable business. One that can and probably will profoundly disrupt a multi-billion industry led by the likes of Adobe, Shutterstock and Getty Images. While GAN generated images do not come as a surprise to readers…

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Photo by Zukiman Mohamad from Pexels

Photography’s misconceptions

Depending on who you ask, photo prints are up, or down. Depending on where you look, DSLRs are dead, or not. If you ask VC’s consumer photo apps are out, if you ask developers, they are a hot item. The only certitude, one all seem to agree on is that the creation and sharing of photos show no signs of slowing down, ever. What else can we all agree on? Let’s push aside some misconceptions: Photo printing is up: According to IBIS World, the online…

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The solution to Deepfakes

The real strength of deepfakes or alternate images is not that they falsify the truth – we have been able to that since the birth of photography but rather, thanks to social media, that they are completely dissociated from their original creators and thus their intent. When the Soviet government released a documentary, we knew to be skeptical of its content as they were notoriously prone to propaganda or biased information. Today, when we see a photo or video, we do not know its origin…

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LDV Vision Summit : It’s in the silence after

After all, it’s not about a specific connection, nor is it about one particular talk or presentation. It is neither about any particular individual that you catch up with or meet for the first time. The real value of the LDV Vision Summit, instead, is the sum of it all. Like a great book you keep on thinking about months after you finish it, the LDV Vision Summit fills you with so much inspiration, so much broad thinking, so much forward vision (no pun intended)…

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LDV Vision Summit 2019: 10 Questions to a founder : Forma Technologies

The LDV Vision Summit, with its mixture of passionate visual tech entrepreneurs, scientists, researchers, professors, journalists, and investors is right around the corner (May22-23). As a sneak peek and respecting our now well-established tradition, we touched base with some of the scheduled speakers. The biggest challenge for online clothing retailers is not letting customers try before they buy. Not anymore, if Forma Technologies has its say… Benjamin Chiang, CEO, and co-founder agreed to sit down and tell us more about his company: – A little about you,…

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Visenze : Visual search 4 years later

In 2015, we interviewed the CEO of then little known visual search company Visenze. Four years later, after raising $20 million in a series C and announcing a deal with Samsung, we caught with Oliver Tan to see how things have changed for his company, the technology involved, the marketplace and more Last time we talked, in 2015, ViSenze was just starting. Four years later and you are now on your Series C, with about 80 employees worldwide. How would you describe the last four…

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What to expect in 2019 (and beyond)

As the year comes to a close, it is an excellent time to review the emerging visual tech trends ( and failures) and predict those that will have a significant impact in 2019 and beyond.  Without further notice and in no particular order, here they are: Eyes in your house : There is a race, right now, to get cameras in your homes.  Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant voice search are getting eyes, to serve you better. As they insert more deeply into our lives, they…

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Google, Images and rights

Ever since its inception, in 2001, Google Image Search did not show much love to those who create photographs. In fact, when subsequently sued for recreating and publishing thumbnails of images on its result page, it fought back and won. A victory that forever helped devalue pictures thereafter. A reversal of policy Google considered photos as freely available assets to classify and display and by result, helped comfort this illusion to its users. They hugely benefited from the complete absence of a central organization (unlike the music, TV…

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New study analyzes what’s driving the explosion in user-generated videos and hybrid photo-videos

Videos and phodeos surge into the Mainstream Consumer video sure ain’t what it used to be. The category now includes numerous variations, ranging from full-length to short-form narratives, plus what could be called “phodeos”: hybrids of photos and videos such as Boomerang clips, Instagram Stories, and even the (now venerable) GIF animations. Due in large part to these new options that free consumers from the “one (huge) size fits all” straightjacket of the past, motion imaging is more popular now than ever. Are we witnessing a bubble? Or…

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