After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Marc Vaillant, President and CTO of Animetrics, Inc. realized that the nation needed enhanced security and that advancements in medical imaging processing could transfer to security-based applications, including facial recognition.
Marc underscored that “a broader range of responsibilities is an obvious part of the transition” from being an employee to starting a business. However, the full extent of that transition can be an unexpected challenge, especially with the sheer amount of time required.
The most challenging yet rewarding aspects of Marc’s new business venture were achieving balance, prioritizing tasks, managing time, and handling foreign responsibilities with confidence and comfort. Through it all, he credits an “innate ability to make an impact” with his personal growth and his continued interest and engagement on the job.
At first, Animetrics was primarily involved in government contract work. Marc detailed how he and his team had to carefully plan the development of these contracts, “because the government creates business where natural markets do not exist.” He went on to explain that “the result can be catastrophic: when government funding dries up, as it did several years ago, only a partial product remains without a market.” Focus has been essential for creating a seamless transition from mere technology and products to a value proposition for the consumer and enterprise markets.
“From a scientific standpoint, the real aha moment was realizing that our prototype image correction solution could improve upon the best facial recognition systems by 20–30 percent.”
Marc attributes part of this success to the location of his startup. “New Hampshire offers an abundance of support for new businesses, with an attractive tech focus,” he stated. Early on, Animetrics relocated to Conway’s Tech Village, a technology park and business incubator. The tech village offers affordable office space and shared resources to encourage development within a supportive business environment. “Then there’s the quality of life in New Hampshire,” Marc continued. “It cannot be beat, particularly if you’re raising a family.”
Words of Wisdom
Marc believes that, while most people think that the hardest part of entrepreneurship is generating great ideas, difficulty actually lies in the execution of those ideas. Therefore, entrepreneurs cannot underestimate the importance of planning from “an execution standpoint.”
“More than 90 percent of business strategies fail. Why?” Marc challenged. “Because they lack a results-based mindset. I want to stress the importance of developing a strategic plan, along with the tactics to follow through on it.”
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