Hanno Blankenstein

Time with PwC 1998-2006
Last role at PwC
Principal, Strategy&
Current job title and organisation CEO and Founder at Unleash live
LinkedIn profile  

What is the Unleash live story, how did it come to be?
In my previous role I worked a lot with large scale enterprises, who start embarking on the digitisation journey and collect lots of data. At the same time I noticed that critical business processes are still quite manual and disjointed to make fast and good decisions.
At the same time I also worked with car and aviation companies building autonomous vehicle prototypes. These smart vehicles use a ton of visual data and A.I. algorithms to drive decisions.
Unleash live combines the insights of our learnings in these areas to enable fast and accurate decisions for enterprises based on visual insights.

What were the biggest challenges you faced whilst creating Unleash live?
The team is everything. Finding the best people to build an awesome business is challenging and takes time and patience. This includes permanent employees and also advisors, mentors with relevant experience as well as support with business development. The Strategy&/pwc network was a fantastic resource to connect the dots.

Unleash live has products involving analytics, real time collaboration, AI and virtual reality. What product excites you most and why?
More than any one product, it is the culmination of a number of technical trend across networks (5G), Computing power (GPU’s & TPU’s) and robotics that enables remote intelligent vision and overcoming time and distance. Being able to consolidate and filter vast amounts of visual data from all the distributed enterprise operations to enable the key decision makers to make accurate decisions for minimising risks, increase throughput, improve quality.

As patterns become more complex, the human eyes processing or accuracy slows down significantly. Our brains naturally look for patterns in data and we may inadvertently ignore areas that are potentially critical or simply not have the capability to detect, such as:

  • Assessing plant disease
  • Seeing in the dark
  • Seeing in slow motion
  • Seeing ahead in time
  • Measuring distance and size
  • Calculating flow and volume

How did your experience at Strategy& help shape your career?
Strategy& provided me the analytical tools to assess and shape the strategic opportunity, Strategy& also provided me the access to the right decision makers and innovators at enterprises. Finally Strategy& provided a great global network to reach out to and ask for advice.

You recently attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. What excited you most and why?
The advent of 5G together with large compute power via GPUs will revolutionalise how, through a connected edge and cloud network, enterprises make decisions and how we live together.

Who or what inspires you and why?
Who? ->Leonardo Davinci -> I have a wonderful fascination with all things aviation, and to think this creative genius developed the first flying machines back in the 1400’s is truly inspiring. The way he combined all STEAM areas into his work is very relevant for true innovation today.
What? -> VTOL electric aircraft innovation. It has the capability to radically alter many aspects of the way we live today. People will no longer be restricted to living in places where existing infastructure has already been built. Australia was a leader in all things VTOL for a long time. Companies such as lilium in Munich take this forward with electric propulsion, making it viable at broad scale.

Do you have any advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Coming up with loads of ideas is the easy bit, strategic and fast execution through persistence and agility is the tough bit. Finding creative solutions, with minimal resources and budgets is a skill to learn and appreciate. And finally, the unwavering resolve to complete an endless set of administrative tasks in the early days to keep things moving.

Any must read books, articles or blogs for aspiring entrepreneurs?

  • Sprint: http://www.gv.com/sprint/
  • Blitz Scaling: https://www.blitzscaling.com/
  • Homo Deus: https://www.ynharari.com/book/homo-deus/
  • Uber Elevate: https://www.uber.com/elevate.pdf/

Favourite app at the moment and why?
Slack, because it helps me and my team, dispersed across several continents to collaborate and get the job done.

What can we expect to see from Unleash live over the next 5 years?
We aim to be an asset/capital light business with a global presence working for a relatively small number of strategic world leading partners building AI solutions that truly bring value in the way they work and make decisions.

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