Founder's Profile: Mike Wiemer
Finding a good problem to solve is the beginning of any good company.Jan 14, 2020
Finding a good problem to solve is the beginning of any good company.
My “beginnings” story about coming to Mojo Vision was that I was in search mode for the next company to join or start. I was looking for good problems to solve that combine difficulty with possibility. Things where, if you could solve the problem, the possibility space on the other side is huge for changing the way that people live their lives.
I came out of Stanford with a PhD in electrical engineering and started a solar company to build high efficiency solar cells with the intent of increasing the pervasiveness of renewable energy. I figured, find a hard problem where if you could solve it, it would matter. And we did just that—we had two certified test results that proved we literally had the highest efficiency cells that anybody had ever made. And we tried building a company around that. It turns out that for our kind of solar, the mass market moved in a different direction. On top of that there was the economic crash which wasn’t helpful. At that point, our solution had not made the pervasive impact we had hoped it would. But we solved some really hard problems and that aided progress. After moving on from my position, I went back into search mode: what’s the next problem to solve? What's a big problem where building a new company made sense? I met Drew and I met Michael and talked about the idea behind Mojo Vision. I thought if we could solve this problem, it might matter.
Specifically, if we could solve this problem, the possibility space for different products and impact is huge — so huge that you might say you're creating a new category. I mean, right now there's the mobile category and there's an AI category, and there's autonomous driving as a category. But where's the smart contact lens category? There is no category-defining company or category-defining product, which means it's just this green, open area, full of opportunity to solve problems that matter. It’s exciting to have the chance to try to build a new category. I think that's what really sucked me in.
And what we've managed to do in the interim, of course, is build up a whole lot of technology on how you do this, and a really amazing team of people that I like working with. The “ending” for this story hasn’t been written yet, but it sure is a lot of fun trying to attack the hard problems that if you can solve them…might matter.