Jeff LaFrenz, President at VizworX


1. What does VizworX do?

VizworX is a software solutions and development company specializing in the application of interaction technologies and information visualization methodologies. VizworX creates custom solutions, R&D projects, and innovative products using technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, data visualization, artificial intelligence and biometrics.

2. What inspired you to start? What problem are you solving?

VizworX was originally spun out of two University of Calgary research labs as a means of promoting and facilitating technology commercialization. We continue to maintain strong ties to those labs and their technologies.

At the University, we noticed that what we were creating proof of concepts in research, but commercialization was a challenge. VizworX was intended to bridge the gap between the two and support the transition.

3. How long did it take you to go from idea to launch?

VizworX was a bootstrapped company that grew from the ground up for one year prior to launching. Most of that year was spent seeking an initial customer.

4. How did you determine who your audience might be for this product?

While VizworX is mainly a services company focused on custom solutions for clients, we are currently working on a product called Panoptica. Panoptica is an engineering design review product that helps spot design mistakes before they are built. This product was developed as a custom solution to meet a business need identified by one of our clients. Afterwards, a broader opportunity was identified, which enabled it to become a product.

In early 2018, we launched our engineering design review application into the Microsoft HoloLens store. We’re still piloting the technology, but it’s a great first step. Moving forward, we want to continue to grow our custom solutions capacity alongside our product, Panoptica.

5. How did you go about building your team?

VizworX has been growing significantly over the past year from a team of six to thirty – the majority of which are full-time employees. Our team and talent are at the core of VizworX. We wouldn’t be where we are without them!

6. If you could hire someone today to help you with one thing what would it be and why?

As our business development and sales teams continue to grow, a senior business development person would be a great addition to help take us to the next level.


7. What are your greatest achievements so far?

During 2015, VizworX was closely tied to the oil and gas industry. When the economic downturn hit Calgary, it hit VizworX hard as well and we had to make tough decisions to allow us to get through it. Since then, we have experienced a period of rapid growth, winning the Fast Growth Award for under five-million in annual revenue at the Start Alberta Tech Awards. I’m very proud of this award and the growth of our company.

Advice Corner

8. How can companies make the most of their experience with Startup Calgary?

Engage with the people involved and let them know what your needs are so they know how to help you.

9. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to take their idea from the back of a napkin to the marketplace?

Be adaptive. Be flexible. Listen to advice. I found it important to recognize that your original idea may not be what you end up doing. As you talk to people and listen to advice, it’s likely that you will have to pivot your idea. We’ve pivoted more than once by listening to the market. That being said, it is important to take time to determine what pieces of advice are useful.

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Published on December 3, 2018