Equipped to Lead and Succeed

The Next Big Thing: USF Startup Founder Powers Google Glass

by Ed Carpenter, Office of Marketing Communications

Imagine seeing what basketball star Roy Hibbert sees while flying through the air for a layup, as you watch the Jumbotron from your arena seat. Now imagine physicians saving lives by remotely guiding first responders as they see and treat patients at the scene of an accident. That and more is possible with technology created for Google Glass by a startup founded by Jon Fisher ’98.

1 of 5 Google partners

Fisher’s CrowdOptic is one of five companies in the country selected in June as a certified Google Glass partner, giving the firm the inside track over its competition. In July, CrowdOptic signed agreements with a San Francisco ambulance firm that allows paramedics to broadcast what they see ahead to the hospital and with Stanford School of Medical where surgeons plan to use the technology to teach surgical residents.

The startup’s technology has already made national headlines for its more entertaining use in Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings practice games and warm ups, not to mention by the teams’ cheerleaders. In an arena, multiple pairs of Google Glasses with CrowdOptic software feed a video monitor where the best highlights can be broadcast to fans on the big screen.

Entrepreneur of year

“We believe the technology has huge potential,” says Fisher, a former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and current adjunct professor at the School of Management this fall. “We see our technology enabling real world search based on location and being able to stitch together multiple camera views.”   

In other words, it will tap into video feeds from smart glasses, phone cameras, drones, and satellites and create a 3D model of a collapsed building and help emergency personnel decide the best course of action.

Fisher anticipates a consumer app at some point, perhaps one that allows users to search for a nearby coffee shop by scanning the block with their device’s video camera; up would pop several options with directions. For now, CrowdOptic — which launched in 2011, has 15 employees and has raised $5 million from investors — is focused on developing the technology for corporate clients, particularly in the arena of sports and health care.

Pursue your dream and a degree

As a student at USF, Fisher studied organizational behavior and went on to cofounded and was CEO of Bharosa, part of Oracle. He credits USF’s flexible course schedule for helping him get to where he is. He says he had the freedom to be an entrepreneur by day and complete his degree by night. 

“We read and hear a lot about technology leaders who dropped out of school or say a degree doesn't matter. I completely disagree and tell my students that,” Fisher says. “At USF, they can get their education and pursue their entrepreneurial dream. They don’t have to give up one for the other.”

Know someone with a powerful USF story? Let us know! usfnews@usfca.edu | Twitter @usfcanews