Buffalo Business Week -Insights From the Founders

Nov 21, 2023 | Company News | 0 comments



BootSector’s mission is to empower, educate, and support the next generation of local entrepreneurs and startup leaders. Circle Optics participated on two panels and one pitch event during Buffalo Business Week.

We are thrilled to be part of this amazing entrepreneurship hub that exists between Syracuse – Rochester – Buffalo. Thank you, Bootsector – especially Kamal Patel, Kat Carter, Amy Gurske, and Jordan Walbesser for coordinating so many great speakers, investors, founders and volunteers to continue great momentum in innovation. Here are a few highlights from our participation on Investor Day November 15, 2023.

Circle Optics Technology

Our Founder & CEO Zak Niazi represented Circle Optics at the Buffalo Business Week Pitch Event: Many of you have probably heard the story of Kodak’s downfall, but I wonder how many of you have studied how it first achieved success? Taking photographs was a painful process back in the early 1900’s, out of reach to the everyday consumer. George Eastman built a camera empire on the phrase ‘you press the button, we do the rest.’ There’s a revolution happening in the camera industry, where people are moving away from 2D cameras towards panoramic surround view camera technology. Already these cameras are used in products we use every day, from aerial data collection and mapping products to security and robotics systems. But 360 degree cameras are as hard to use today as 2D cameras were back in the 1900’s. They suffer glitches in the imagery where multiple camera feeds merge, requiring manual correction by a human that can cost upwards of $10,000 per single minute of video and take hours of time to fix. At Circle, we have created the world’s first 360-degree camera where all a user has to do is press a button, and get flawlessly stitched panoramic video at the speed of light. No hassle in learning stitching software, no quality defects in content, and no having to wait before live streaming the video to other users. 

Learning from Founders

There was also an opportunity for the presenting founders to share a few keys to success.

Identify and Mitigate Your Biggest Risks

When you have a business idea, ask yourself: What’s the greatest threat to my business? Focus on de-risking this aspect above all else. It’s a lesson learned through hard experience but essential for any new venture.

Choose the Right Ecosystem for Your Business

The success of your venture can depend heavily on where you start it. Zak Niazi shared his experience of moving Circle Optics from New York City to Rochester, a hub for optics and imaging, which provided them with vital manufacturing partnerships and a talented pool of potential employees. The takeaway? Find and physically locate in an ecosystem that supports and enhances your business model.

Find Appropriate Investment Sources

This piece of advice is about understanding that one size doesn’t fit all in terms of funding. Depending on your business type, especially in fields like deep tech or hardware, venture capital might not be the best option. Government contracts, for instance, could be a more suitable source of funding. The key is to identify and pursue investment sources that align with the nature of your business.

Develop a Resonant Mission Statement

All of the founders stress the importance of having a mission statement that deeply resonates with you. Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with rejection and challenges. A mission that you are deeply passionate about will be the driving force that keeps you pushing through the tough times.

Meet The Buffalo Business Week Founders

NOMA AI  ~ Salim Malakouti 

NOMA AI is building tomorrow’s patient monitoring and alerting solutions to help prevent adverse medical events and human medical errors using machine learning and artificial intelligence.

NiyaJon Dhanapala 

Niya is a platform that helps independent restaurants and small chains launch subscription-based membership programs, leading to increases in customer retention, visit frequency, and spend per month. A subscription-based model ensures customers pay cash up front and now have skin in the game, making them want to utilize their benefits as much as possible.

CoppriumBrian Bischoff

Copprium manufactures a superior conductive copper ink that was developed by researchers at the University at Buffalo.

OfferWellSimon Mahfoud 

OfferWell provides software innovation transforming efficiency for real estate agents and home buyers.

Circle Optics – our Founder & CEO Zak Niazi

Circle Optics provide aerospace, autonomous systems and entertainment verticals with the most accurate imaging to support situational awareness and immersive experiences. ​

BenefiPatrick Dunn

The ‘Great Departure’ and ‘The Great Reshuffle’ have changed the game in employer/employee relationships. It’s harder than ever before for many firms to find top talent – and keep them around. Benefi solves this problem with a unique approach to signing and retention bonuses. 

Cerebro NeuroTechPaolo Alejandro Catilo 

Cerebro is developing the world’s most intelligent rapid detection software for Sports-Related Concussions (SRC).

Looking forward to next year!

Team Circle

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