This blog series, posted in partnership between HYPE and reSET, offers a platform to showcase the commitment that Hartford entrepreneurs have for their work and this city. It examines how entrepreneurs have chosen their work, and provides examples of the ways in which they are having an impact in Hartford. In this edition, we interviewed Andrew Ginzberg, Co-Founder/CEO of Loki, a new medium for citizen journalism. Learn more at https://Loki.Live.


1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

Loki is a new platform for citizen journalism. Everyday citizens can get closer to news events than ever before. With multiple people capturing any event live on their smartphones, there is now a unique opportunity to tell news stories in a much more engaging, open, and authentic way. Loki is enabling citizen reporters to collaborate with one another to capture an event live from multiple perspectives. By harnessing all of the perspectives simultaneously being captured within the same geolocation, Loki provides viewers the ability to experience an event by traveling between different points of view in real time. As a viewer, you can be the director, editor, and producer of your own experience. You choose the viewpoints from which the story gets told. The quality of the viewing experience is optimized through a tightly integrated scoring system that leverages the entire community to continually collaborate and compete against one another for notoriety and accountability. Lokis can be saved and stored, allowing for them to be watched and re-watched in an infinite number of ways, ultimately providing an immersive experience where you can interact with the story as it unfolds. Today’s media landscape conflates news with editorial points of view. Viewers want authentic and true experiences relayed in real time. Trust and credibility continues to be extremely important, and can be conveyed in our system through peer feedback ratings. Now more than ever, there is a need for innovation in journalism that empowers citizens to share perspectives.

Loki was co-founded by a group of four college students in their early 20s. All of us met at the University of Connecticut, and we all chose majors related to the media/software space. Three of us majored in Digital Media and Design, where we each acquired concentrations in web development, 3D animation, and/or digital marketing. The fourth founder was a double major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, where they set out to understand how computers function from the electrons up. Between the four of us, we have a diverse skill set that spans design, development, marketing, sales, management, and leadership. Prior to starting this company, each of us has collaborated, in some combination, on past projects. To date, all of us have continued working on building this.

 

2. Why did you decide to be based in Hartford?

I first became involved in the reSET network through meetings with Eric Knight, the Entrepreneur-In-Residence based out of the incubator. When a couple of my partners graduated, we were in need of a new space to meeting and collaborate. One of our mentors recommended applying to reSET’s winter Accelerator, which if accepted, would included free access to their co-working space for a year. This was an excellent opportunity, since all of us were living in the Hartford area at the time.

 

3. How do you think your work has impacted the community and vice versa?

At this stage in our trajectory, it is difficult to say how much our work has impacted the community. We are very “early stage” and still trying to test, improve and seek feedback on our offerings. As we continue to expose our service to the community, it will be interesting to see how much of an impact we make.

 

4. What words of wisdom would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who may be hesitant to take the plunge into entrepreneurship?

There will always be a million excuses not to do something. At the end of the day, the barriers to entry are all a matter of perception. Putting your heart and soul into a single project can be a really scary thing to do. But if you are passionate enough, you can do it. It doesn’t matter what your background is. I went into this without taking a single business course. If you can surround yourself with a team of brilliant and talented people who are all willing to put in the sacrifices, you can absolutely take this path in life.

 

5. What’s it like being an entrepreneur in Hartford?  What are the benefits, but also what are the difficulties and challenges?

I have lived in Connecticut my entire life. I grew up in the community. So the truth is, it is really hard to explain what it is like being an entrepreneur in the state, as I have no frame of reference. What I can say is that I know how hard Connecticut is working on spawning and cultivating entrepreneurship and innovation. The resources, mentors, advisors, and grant opportunities are readily available. It is purely a matter of being pro-active, doing your research, and going out and finding them.

Specifically for Loki, the main challenge of being based in Connecticut is that we are building a startup that is very unlike the other types of companies coming out of here. We are attempting to build an abstract, very different, even disruptive media startup, targeted specifically at digital natives. Connecticut is not a place known for building these types of companies. Therefore, there is a substantial lack of connections and opportunities to like-minded artists/creators/innovators in our space.

 

6. What’s your vision for your business and personal development over the next five years?

We were inspired to pursue Loki because we believe that journalism is broken, suffering from low trust and credibility among the public. We think the cure for journalism is more accurate and timely content delivered on-demand, from sources vetted in a peer feedback system. Loki offers an opportunity for creators to collaborate, capture and share experiences together in far better ways than other video streaming technologies currently on the market. By enabling content creators to work together as a team to capture an experience from each of their unique vantage points, Loki provides a reliable space for consumers to experience news stories through a variety of different perspectives, and continually optimizing the story through the peer feedback system. Just as social media paved the way to use mobile technology to transform human interaction, we envision Loki as a way to use mobile content to transform journalism. We eventually envision expanding Loki beyond news, and into other media sectors such as sports, entertainment, and even business. Imagine being able to watch your favorite sports team or band perform from virtually any point of view of a stadium. We even see bringing the experience of Loki into a 3D virtual environment.