Dan Song is the co-founder of Gleechi, the Stockholm-based startup behind the awarded software VirtualGrasp. Dan is responsible for taking the product to the next level. She has a strong international research background in robotics, machine learning and biomedical engineering. She has published over 20 scientific papers related to robot grasping, and among much else been awarded for the Best Manipulation Paper Award from the prestigious IEEE Robotics and Automation Society.
1. How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
It all started in the robotic research we did, where we want to make robots intelligent when they interact with human-centered environments with their hands / manipulators. We realized that the technology we have developed actually solves a big problem in virtual reality — to enable realistic looking hand interaction. We started selling the software to VR developers, but we saw that our software makes a particularly big difference when trying to learn something new. From that point we started focusing on using our software for VR training and education.VR
2. What’s your company’s vision?
We want to enable humans and technology to interact naturally. We start by helping humans learn by interacting naturally in VR.
3. What is unique about your business?
We are the first to enable VR-training that can be adapted to the customer’s needs in a scalable way. This is possible partly thanks to our unique technology coming from several years of awarded robotics research, and partly by our focus the latest 4 years on developing long-term solutions for VR.
4. What is your biggest achievement so far?
Created a company with around 20 people of 8 nationalities, and around 40 healthy plants 🙂
5. How do you see your company in 10 years?
Create a multi-billion global company, penetrating into the next-generation XR-based training, gaming, robotics and motor rehabilitation industry. And having the green-est company on earth with happy, sustainable company culture, and an office feeling like a jungle.
6. What are you like as an employer?
Many of our employees have described us as a large family. I would personally say very greenish 🙂
7. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the XR industry? How do you deal with them?
The slow adoption. Even though VR has been proven to solve some really big challenges in everything from industry to healthcare, the customers are still quite slow to adopt this new technology. To get around this we are focused on reducing the barriers to utilize the power of VR by making it easy and cost efficient to create VR-based learning experiences.
8. How do you handle adversity and doubt?
As a startup in an immature industry such as the VR industry, we are all part of a high risk venture. We have found it important to make everyone in the team feel that they are a really big and important part of the company. We try to be as transparent as possible about any business challenges, while pushing everyone to be transparent about their own challenges and doubts. By supporting each other and being honest, it is much easier to get through tough times.
Personally, for me by caring for plants and creating a comfortable and home-like working space is also very helpful to decompress in difficult times 🙂
9. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out in VR/AR, what would it be?
Experiment a lot and try to focus on solving a real problem.
10. What is one habit you wish you could break?
Not talking too much about work at home; also right now, not buying 2-3 plants every weekend 🙂
11. What does creativity mean to you?
Not to be scared by unsolved problems; and to be enthusiastic and also constructive in finding and implementing solutions to them.
12. What book has inspired you the most?
Innovatörerna by Walter Isaacson
13. What do you do when you’re not at work?
Running, studying Japanese, and buying, styling and caring for plants 🙂
14. Who do you see as an inspiration in the industry?
Kai Hübner, my cofounder and life-long partner 🙂