The way content is shared, consumed and interacted with in the digital realm has been evolving at an exponential pace. As a result, technology companies, that are not afraid to pivot, have reaped the rewards of the numerous disruptions over the past two years. Hipernation is one such company, led by Patrick Gharios, out of Lebanon.
BDD’s team spoke to Patrick (PG), about the need for innovative solutions, customer pain points Hipernation addresses and the changing tech scene.
BDD: First things first, when did you know it was time to become an entrepreneur?
PG: It all started back in 2005, when I was working as a telecommunications engineer with a leading global firm. I managed projects around the world, which allowed me to interact and explore diverse cultures during my trips. But there was something missing in my career – the lack of freedom. Leading my own destiny is integral to me, and freedom remains my highest priority.
It was only until I got a promotion that I was working hard towards 5 years later, that a shift happened. I resigned the next day. I yearned for fulfillment, so I pivoted and explored opportunities in the market. It was the meetings with smaller clients and delivering tailored cost-effective solutions to them that gave me a sense of leadership and achievement.
I then founded Hipernation in 2011.
BDD: How did the idea for Hipernation come about?
PG: It started as a live streaming business in 2011. The idea actually came to me when a man called me from the World Bank, and asked for us to live stream an event. Back in the day, Facebook Live and Youtube Live did not exist. The big platforms had video on demand, which was passive content. I initially informed him that we didn’t have that service… but then thought “this would really disrupt the industry.” It all started with a prototype and an IoT device was created, with a full-fledged live streaming engine.
We started providing services, where we were the user of the engine, and served events and conference organizers, to live stream their content on our website. A few years later, Facebook Live and Youtube Live came onto the scene. Our only choice was to pivot. Accordingly, I transformed the service to ‘Platform as a service (PaaS). That was the main turning point for Hipernation. Today, the platform enables enterprises and startups to build their own solutions on top of what we offer.
The first livestreaming IoT device prototype, made by Patrick, before Facebook Live / Youtube live came onto the scene
BDD: What were the market needs that you identified and answered?
PG: The main pain point we address is the customization element. Other companies do provide live streaming engines, but not the consultancy, integration and customization that we offer. To fulfill our clients’ needs, we serve as consultants who provide platforms, packed with solutions, and allow for expansive levels of customization.
BDD: Do you think the industry will shift once again, forcing you to pivot?
PG: When we first started, there were one too many live streams platforms that only allowed for audiences to interact via chat. Now we are heading to a model of ‘many to many’, where two way communication is becoming the norm on live streaming platforms. We will also see machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as image processing and recognition in real time. The key is to leverage and integrate these smart technologies within the live streaming space.
And yes, we are now pivoting once more. Based on our forward thinking approach at Hipernation, our live streaming engine will soon be acquired, and we are focusing on the next phase of cyber security and cloud computing. Our live streaming success story set the foundations for the next challenge, and hopefully another success story to emerge, in the realm of cyber security.
BDD: Speaking of facing challenges, being a Lebanese entrepreneur, what characterizes your experience?
PG: It makes you tougher, where you learn the skill of adaptation the hard way. You are forced to adapt to different environments, and be creative and innovative, adopting different approaches. You are required to think outside the box, and devise solutions. We need to look at the environment existent in Lebanon, as an opportunity.
There are a few challenges which we face however, which is finding talent. Talent have unfortunately lost hope in the country, even if they believe in the vision you are presenting to them. The infrastructure is also failing, coupled with uncertainty and security concerns.
To overcome this, your vision needs to transcend borders.
BBD: Do you feel this is shared in BDD?
PG: It is amazing being situated in BDD. I was one of the early adopters and came to BDD to set up Hipernation here. The networking opportunities are great. We got 4 customers out of BDD, and BDD is also a customer of ours. There is ample opportunity to prototype products in real time within the community, who inspire you with how they see things and provide insightful feedback. I am surrounded by like-minded individuals, in a stimulating community, where people are working hard to build themselves and their teams.
To learn more about the solutions Hipernation offers, visit: https://www.hipernation.com/
Patrick pitching the prototype at a competition.