What do you get when you connect a bunch of filmmakers with a bunch of programmers? Something like Flowbox. Flowbox, which began life as a unique object-oriented programming language for visual effects, has grown into something truly powerful in the moviemaking industry. Run by Mikołaj Valencia, Michał Urbańczyk, Paweł Pietraszko, and Mat Bujalski, this Polish company is currently working with a number of big studios to add VFX to huge productions. “Flowbox is an industrial strength image processing platform incorporating many recent innovations in computer graphics field,” said Valencia. “It delivers semi-automated rotoscopy, one of the most tedious manual labor used in 25 percent of all video content processing. It allows for huge time savings.” The team is working on adding other tools to the toolchain as well including color correction and image composition. The system is unique in that it uses a visual interface to change the video. It also supports distributed computing which speeds up the compositing system immensely. The idea was born in 2010 as a reaction to the poor tools available to filmmakers at the time. “The idea for the Flowbox project was initiated in 2010 by Wojciech Daniło, by this time as Senior Technical Director at Alvernia Studios (the most modern film studio in Poland),” said Valencia. “His job was to design and create solutions for visual effects for international productions like Arbitrage with Richard Gere and Vamps of Sigourney Weaver. That’s when he discovered the problems faced by his associates and how limited and inflexible the leading tools were.” The company has raised $1 million so far including an infusion from Innovation Nest. The app’s high-tech approach to rotoscoping could be just the thing filmmakers need to unlock the true potential of their already powerful tools.
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Booksy, a Poland-based booking application for the beauty business, has raised $13.2 million in a Series B effort to drive global growth. The company, founded in 2014 by Stefan Batory and Konrad Howard, is currently seeing 2.5 million bookings per month. The company raised from Piton Capital, OpenOcean, Kulczyk Investments, and Zach Coelius. Batory, an ultramarathoner, also co-founded iTaxi, Poland’s popular taxi hailing app. Booksy came about when he was trying to schedule physiotherapy appointments after long runs. He would come home sore and plan on calling his physiotherapist but it was always too late. “I didn’t want to bother him after I was done with my workout late night, and it was virtually impossible to contact him during day time as his hands were busy massaging people and he did not answer my calls,” he said. Booksy launched in the US in 2017 and “rapidly become the number one booking app in the world,” said Batory. “We will use the funding to drive global growth, recruit high profile talent and develop proprietary technologies that will further support beauty businesses,” he said. “That includes the implementation of one-click booking, a feature that uses machine learning and AI technologies, to determine each user’s buying pattern and offer them the best dates with their favorite stylists, thus simplifying user experience for both merchants and their customers.”