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The app that personalizes the "augmented" TV

Nicolas Mercouroff (X83) launched TiVipedia, an application that provides instant answers to questions viewers have behind their screens. His start-up TiVine Technologies was selected in the final rounds of Paris 2014 "Grands prix de l’innovation".

Interview with Nicolas Mercouroff, alumni and founder of the startup TiVine Technologies as well as TiVipedia, a free app for iOS and Android that allows viewers to receive immediate information on the TV program they are watching.

> How did you get the idea for your start-up ?
TiVine Technologies is based on a simple observation: there is a gap between the way we access content and services with our mobile terminals, and our way of consuming TV audiovisual content. Every day, viewers have dozens of questions in front of their TV screen that stay unanswered: a guest name, an actor's biography, the link to purchase a product, etc. The ambition of TiVine Technologies is to offer each viewer his/her own enhanced television: a simple and immediate way to select, learn and play in front of the TV screen.

> What need was there for this app?
By anticipating all questions one might have in front of a TV show, TiVipedia, the app developped by TiVine Technologies, allows the viewers to display the answers on their screen with one simple click. These answers, coming from dozens of websites, are automatically aggregated with the TiVine platform. Everything that can raise interest is included: a book, a song, a derivative, an artist's bio or an actor's filmography.

> What is your business model?
TiVine Technologies targets three types of customers. First, advertising agencies, advertisers and e-commerce, interested in offering their products to a contextualized audience. Our second target: publishers, wanting to increase the value of their digital offer by providing rich and relevant content. And finally, content and service distributors (broadcasters, channels, etc) wishing to extend their offer with content linked to TV streams (intelligent remote control, video indexing, enhanced TV grid, etc).

> Who are your main competitors and how do you stand out?
Unlike other apps which offer a so-called "second screen" and that are single-function (for example, Tchat while watching TV), single-source (for example, analysis of subtitles) or single-context (for example, apps related to a single channel), the TiVine platform implements advanced semantic analysis and aggregation of multiple sources of information technology to enhance 24/7 the contents of the entire TV flows: extraction and recognition of video information, syntactic and semantic analysis of text, aggregation of encyclopedias, aggregation of live external data flows (sports statistics, twitter feeds, etc).

> What are your projects for the future?
After a very successful start, we are currently raising funds to expand in France and abroad.

>What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs from l'X building their own start-up?
Before you start, it is very important to take time to present your ideas to market experts, who are often available to share their expertise and ask the right questions to improve the project. This is how I got valuable advice but also how I built a strong network, useful to move forward once the project becomes real.

>You are an alumni from l'X, you also have a PhD in computer science: how do we move from research to entrepreneurship?
In my case, it was a gradual move: I went from public to private research, then worked in an industrial group, then had an experience in counseling, and finally entrepreneurship. My advice to young students who graduated from l'X: it is a great time to become entrepreneurs!