Ex-Amazon Employee's AI Startup Revolutionizes E-Commerce Pictures
Meet Max Sinclair, the founder of Ecomtent, an AI company revolutionizing e-commerce product photos. Max's journey began as an employee of the world's largest online retailer, Amazon. With his extensive knowledge of e-commerce industry standards and a passion for innovation, Max saw an opportunity to use generative AI to help e-commerce sellers. In this interview, Max explains how he developed his idea into a viable business and established a cutting-edge AI startup that is revolutionizing the e-commerce industry.
Hey Max, please tell us a little bit about your background and your company
I am the Founder and CEO of Ecomtent. We enable sellers to create lifestyle images with Generative AI; putting your product in any scenario, and with a person of any age, ethnicity, or gender instantaneously. Prior to founding Ecomtent, I spent over six years working at Amazon. He held a number of leadership roles including for the launch of Amazon Business (B2B) in the UK, and owning customer browse and catalogue quality for the launch of Amazon in Singapore. During this time I worked with 100s of sellers and got to understand the pains they have to create content intimately, and at the same time saw how the internal mechanisms by which Amazon uses content to surface relevant products to customers.
How did you come up with the idea for Ecomtent?
We founded Ecomtent in October of last year, before the launch of ChatGPT, if you can remember a such time. Back then, we saw the pace at which Generative AI was moving and had the contrarian belief that in a few years, +95% of the content on marketplaces would be generated by AI. It's only been a few months but I don’t think this is such a controversial statement anymore.
How did you go from idea to product?
I started by talking to the sellers in my network to understand their pain points deeper. From these conversations, it was clear that product images were the most significant pain – photoshoots cost upwards of ~$500, they are a nightmare to organise logistically, and the output content is unpredictable. Thus we decided to start here.
Did you raise any funding from investors?
Yes, we have some fantastic angel investors onboard, who are experienced CMOs in some household-name FSTE 150 companies. We also are on an excellent accelerator, Next AI, which not only provides a capital infusion but is also closely associated with the Mila Institute and provides scientific advice to help us develop a market-leading product.
What sets your company apart from others in the field?
Our customers have often tried a few AI image-generation tools before they find us, and they have told us that our product is market-leading. This is for a few reasons. Firstly, we have made a bet on customers getting more used to natural language prompting, and therefore do not provide a ‘background replacement’ experience like Photoroom, but rather rely on natural language prompting similar to Midjourney. We believe this unlocks far more creativity – you can truly put your product in any scenario, interacting with a human of any age, ethnicity, or gender. However, we differ from generic models such as Midjourney as we are able to accurately represent the customer's specific product, not just a generic product. Hallucinations are a big problem of these generic models we have tackled. Finally, as we are building specifically for large marketplace sellers, we have a suite of additional tools that suit this specific customer niche.
What's your biggest achievement so far?
When I joined Amazon in 2016 one of my first roles was being a Strategic Account Manager to five of our Europe’s largest Sellers. Now two of these Sellers are happy customers at Ecomtent. This is something I take great personal pride in, given I know intimately the high standards these businesses operate at.
Finally, what are your long-term goals for the future of Ecomtent?
We will be the one-stop solution for Marketplace sellers to generate all their content with AI. We believe we have cracked the hardest part, which is the lifestyle images. The rest of it – infographics, and text, will follow shortly.
We hope that this interview has inspired you to pursue your entrepreneurial goals and has given you insightful information about the process of developing an AI startup. We invite you to join Jobdai's community of AI founders and thinkers if you're looking for chances to connect with like-minded people in the AI industry. Jobdai's AI talent community can help you find your next job, co-founder, or investor.