Cognitiwe handles itself as a sustainability startup through its computer vision solutions
Cognitiwe is a Turkish computer vision startup that converts video and images into data, delivering Vision AI product that can reduce costs and increase sustainability in a wide range of industries. Founded in 2021 by Attila Algan and Mete Bayrak, Cognitiwe serves local and international customers such as Migros and MAF Carrefour in the retail sector, and Tofaş, Borusan Mannesmann and MEXT (Turkish Metal Industrialists’ Union Technology Center) in the production sector, and it carries out projects at different levels with 30 customers from 4 continents. “We aim to grow in Europe by focusing on Italy, England and Spain, which are strong in the retail sector, and Nordic countries that are open to working with new technologies and foreign start-ups. After expanding our scope in the European market, America is among our targets in the medium term,” said Attila Algan, Co-Founder at Cognitiwe.
I had a chance to speak with Attila Algan and here’s what he told me.
What is Cognitiwe? Can you tell me the brief story of your company?
Cognitiwe is an artificial intelligence initiative that performs predictive analysis by processing visual data and aims to prevent problems before they occur. We established Cognitiwe in 2021 by combining my partner Mete Bayrak’s experience in video processing and productization with my brand creation experience with artificial intelligence technologies.
We focused on the specific areas by listening to the demands and needs of the customers in retail and production sectors. Our goal is for companies in the retail and production areas to work more effectively by using Cognitiwe products can achieve a more economical and environmentally sustainable structure by saving resources, materials, energy and money.
We serve local and international customers such as Migros and MAF Carrefour in the retail sector, and Tofaş, Borusan Mannesmann and MEXT (Turkish Metal Industrialists’ Union Technology Center) in the production sector, and we carry out collaborations and projects at different levels with 30 customers from 4 continents.
What is Cognitiwe’s business model? How does that model work?
Cognitiwe is a product company. Our main revenue stream is the monthly (or annually) usage fee our customers pay during their use of our products. Our goal is to have 90% of our revenue to be recurring. We may charge some extra fees for onboarding and customization for individual customer specific integrations or visual customizations. However, we do not do customer specific or project-based developments. Our business model is simple. We charge monthly (or annually) either by per camera or per location.
I know you raised 600K USD investment in 2021. What are the details of the investment? How did you use it?
One of our most important goals is to become a global brand. Right after our establishment, we strengthened our Istanbul office with 2 new offices in Tallinn and Milan, by receiving an investment of 600 thousand dollars from the investment tour, led by TechOne VC (an interview with TechOne is here,) which included StartersHub, Startup Wise Guys and EGIAD Angels.
We aim to grow in Europe by focusing on Italy, England and Spain, which are strong in the retail sector, and Nordic countries that are open to working with new technologies and foreign start-ups. After expanding our scope in the European market, America is among our targets in the medium term.
Headquartered in Estonia through E-residency program
Your headquarters is located in Estonia. Why did you choose Estonia? What are the reasons behind the decision?
Estonia is a country that makes the life of foreign enterprises much easier in terms of establishing a company, making it operational and ensuring the continuity of the company in the long run. Estonia’s e-residency program allows non-Estonians to remotely access Estonian services such as company formation, banking, payment processing and taxation. The fact that the company is in Estonia provides great convenience in terms of accounting transactions, especially when working with customers in the European Union. Also, we had to do flip-ups in order to receive investment from foreign investors in the investment round, we evaluated Europe and America in this regard and saw that Estonia was the most effective.
One of your offices is also in Italy. What kind of potential is there for Cognitiwe?
Italy has one of the largest retail markets in the European Union. The big stores and hypermarkets we are targeting to hold the most important place in Italy’s retail distribution. Also, the north of Italy is one of the most important centers in the world, especially in terms of automotive production. These market conditions motivated us to enter this market.
On the other hand, the support of both the government and our Italian investors encouraged us to open our Milan office.
Can you provide some examples, such as use cases, for your solutions?
Cognitiwe helps retailers and manufacturers who want to increase their efficiency and customer satisfaction. By using Cognitiwe, they can manage their shelf stocks better and monitor their production quality. This is done by using regular IP cameras and our AI-powered unified vision platform. You may be aware of the production loss in the automotive industry due to material shortages, or you may have felt its effects with the increase in car prices. I am also sure that there have been occasions where your online supermarket order had been delivered incomplete due to out-of-stock products. The next time you order online from a Cognitiwe customer supermarket, like MAF Carrefour UAE, you may be sure that you will receive your bananas because we will alert them before the banana shelves are empty. And for manufacturing, factories can save material by using Cognitiwe to monitor the production quality during production instead of checking at the end of the line.
New features coming soon
How did Covid-19 affect your business?
We have founded Cognitiwe during the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it is a matter of courage to make a new venture in such a period, I can say that we have had a very productive period in terms of team building, creating company culture, and keeping up with changing economic and market conditions.
Your solutions focused on retail and manufacturing. Are you planning to enter other areas as well?
Although we are already receiving a lot of attention from the retail and manufacturing sectors, our goal is to be a SaaS business that serves the sustainability goals of various companies. We expanded our product range in order to provide solutions for everyone in the energy sector and independent sectors. Over time, we will continue to add new features to impact the sustainability goals of companies large and small in different industries.