EveryScape Founder Mok Oh Leaves Firm, Looks for New Ways to Map Online to the Real World

1/19/11Follow @gthuang

Want to peer into the mind of an entrepreneur who’s starting over after nearly nine years in the trenches? Or maybe you’d like a glimpse of the Next Big Thing through the eyes of a deep technologist?

Me too. That’s why I caught up with Mok Oh yesterday. The founder and former chief technology officer of Newton, MA-based EveryScape said over the weekend that he has left the company to pursue his “next journey.” That’s interesting news (and you can read more about it here), but I really wanted to know what that “next journey” might entail. After all, here’s a guy who’s been out of the job market for nine years, but who understands technology and business. I figured there would be plenty of common themes and lessons to pull out for the current generation of tech entrepreneurs.

First, a little more about his old company. Oh founded EveryScape (originally called Mok 3) in 2002 and served as chief technology officer. The company has raised more than $17 million in venture financing to date. Its investors include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Dace Ventures, LaunchPad Venture Group, New Atlantic Ventures, and SK Telecom.

Xconomy first wrote about EveryScape in 2007, when the startup rolled out 360-degree, panoramic outdoor street views in four cities (Boston, New York, Miami, and Aspen). It also had created virtual-tour graphics of building interiors for real estate and advertising applications—which is where the company has put most of its efforts recently. Just last month, EveryScape ramped up its partnership with Microsoft’s Bing to provide interior images for restaurants and stores in local search results.

It’s not usually a great sign for a company when its founder departs—but in this case, Oh says he was ready to move on, and EveryScape, which has about 50 employees, “has gotten to the point where it can fly all by itself.” At the same time, he says, “It’s scary, it’s exciting. I feel sadness too, leaving something that’s my baby.” (For now, he remains on the company’s board.)

But he did what’s in his heart. “I think of myself as early-stage,” he says. “Being able to think about new problems and spin them in an innovative and constructive way. The best days of my life were in the early stage [of EveryScape] and thinking creatively about how to solve a customer’s problem.”

Prior to the company, Oh did his Ph.D. in computer graphics at MIT’s Laboratory for Computer Science (before it became part of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory). He had also studied art history as an undergrad. In 2002, literally the day he took off his graduation cap and gown, he started coding something that would combine his interests in art and computer science—and what would eventually become EveryScape’s core technology.

Over his nine-year run, the most memorable times were also the hardest times, he says. “When we had no funding, we bootstrapped for a few years [until 2004], going around begging for … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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