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Olivier Chartrand

How do we make 3D creation easier and more useful? This has been a question that OVA has been asking itself since 2014.

We use AI and smart software to democratize 3D creation and experience for large businesses and creative individuals alike.

Our clients include Nikon, Bombardier, the Royal Canadian Navy, and Desjardins. From training simulations to remote collaboration, our software StellarX and AuraX empowers these teams to reach their full potential.

Tell us about yourself?

I have a deep curiosity for innovative, challenging things that are difficult to understand and changing rapidly. I combine my love for people with my curiosity for innovation-related problem-solving.

I started working at Cirque du Soleil while completing my bachelor’s degree at the John Molson School of Business. It was a crazy busy time for me, combining an almost full-time job with a full-time course load. Despite this, I developed a passion for my job and for commercializing innovations and new products.

At Cirque du Soleil, my role was to explore new entertainment formats, conduct financial modelling and business cases, and test them out with our different teams to see their potential and how best to scale them. After four years in their teams, I learned the fundamentals and basics of innovating in the correct way.

When the pandemic happened, I was part of the layoffs along with 95 per cent of the company and saw an opportunity to look elsewhere. I decided to explore the world of startups, as I had read many books on the subject and wanted to expose myself to a smaller, more agile team to see how I could help them.

For the past three years, I have been involved in startups, focusing on commercializing their innovations and bringing them to market. Recently, I’m having the opportunity to work with a very creative and innovative team at OVA, where we combined virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence to create a product that fills the need of large companies and creative individuals.

The challenge of putting on the market concisely a product that involves so many different elements and is complex to implement pushes me in a great way. What made me get into this line of work is my curiosity for these new, complex products. I am always looking for ways to push myself beyond my limits.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Invest in long-term relationships. Or, more precisely, ask yourself how you can build sustainable emotional equity with key players around you and prioritize this before other things.

I strongly believe that by building trust with people and investing in long-term relationships, we can achieve great things. We need to look at a strategy and way of operating that allows us to make strong allies instead of focusing on short-term profitability.

By investing in long-term relationships, we can cultivate an environment of trust, collaboration, and mutual respect, which ultimately leads to stronger partnerships, better business outcomes, and increased opportunities for growth. It’s essential to think beyond short-term gains and focus on building sustainable, long-term relationships that will benefit us in the years to come.

What problem does your business solve?

It is very difficult for even a big technical team to build operating 3D environments. From 3D modelling to creating interactions and deploying the experience correctly, there’s a lot that can go wrong. That is why we developed StellarX, our VR and MR platform that allows anyone to create 3D environments easily and deploy them.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The initial inspiration that made Harold, our CEO, think about StellarX (OVA’s main software) was the skate park builder in Tony Hawk pro skater 2. He asked himself, If I can create myself this skate park, then why can’t large organizations build their own 3D environments for training and collaboration purposes?

What is your magic sauce?

Our magic sauce is our visual scripting tool and AI tools, which are deeply integrated into our product and make 3D environments in virtual reality, mixed reality and desktop very easy to create.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Our plan is to execute on our mission to democratize 3D creation through three major development arms.

  1. AI features. Offering a wider range of building tools.
  2. Being a true SaaS platform by removing the barriers to download and giving flexibility to experience spaces in different modes.
  3. Build partnerships around product and distribution to become a ‘bigger fish’ in the space.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Democratizing a new technology is a complex process that requires significant efforts to educate potential customers about the product’s features and benefits. Although the sales cycle may be longer, and revenue projections may be more challenging to make. Investing in education and building trust is critical to creating a solid foundation for long-term success. This has been a challenge but also a way for us to build strong relationships.

How can people get involved?