Young Guns: New Ads That Know You

Jason Sosa’s parents started off as migrant workers from Texas. Sosa himself never finished college and married at 21. Today, a decade later, he is still married, with two kids-and is at the helm of a buzzed about New York tech startup called Immersive Labs.

The long and the short of it? Sosa said he believes anything can happen if you work hard enough at it.

Immersive Labs is interesting – and might scare you a little at first. It builds face and recognition software for digital ads so that the ad can know more about you and target what it shows you accordingly.

“It’s completely anonymous,” said Sosa. “What we do know are things like how long they are looking at the sign, what day of the week and time of day it is and if the person is male or female. From that information we look at the available pieces of content and can make a better decision about what ad to display.”

Immersive Labs has already received $1 million in funding and is coming out with its first round of ads this fall in New York and Los Angeles.

“Technology is growing at an exponential pace,” said Sosa. “ A new virtual revolution is just beginning….We are simply building technology to enable the inevitable.”

Six Shooter with Jason Sosa

What is your advice to others starting out?

Find your calling and just go for it. Model people who have accomplished extraordinary things, start building real relationships with good people. Work harder, do more faster, and offer to the world as much value as you can. Don't expect overnight success. Just build everyday more than the day before.

Where were you when you thought up this idea?

In 2007 I was in a restaurant in Shanghai China when I first saw a motion-controlled, interactive display. Microsoft Surface and Jeff Hans multi-touch technologies were also announced that year and these were a huge influence on me. I became obsessed with HCI and emerging technologies. I was inspired by the idea of bringing the online experience to the physical world.

What is your favorite quote and why?

"It’s not about the goal. It’s about growing to become the person that can accomplish that goal."

-- Anthony Robbins

I have defied the odds time and time again. I held the irrational belief that I could do anything I set my mind to. I've worked hard, believed in myself and at every crossroads made decisions that shaped my destiny.

How is it having a wife and kids --and trying to start a company?

It becomes all encompassing and is a lifestyle for the whole family. You have to be superman. Your job never stops. It is critical to have a supportive and understanding wife that believes in your vision and is invested in the success of that vision as much as you are. I am incredibly grateful to have that support. I could not do what I do without my wife.

Would you do it again knowing all the risks involved?

For me being an entrepreneur wasn't a conscious choice. It was my calling. It was in my blood--something I just had to do. My belief is that being an entrepreneur is not what we get--but who we become through the process. It is a very personal journey for me, almost spiritual. My family has grown closer throughout this journey. I have grown. I wouldn't change a thing.

What would you rather have: time or money?

You only get one shot at life. Time being the scarcest resource of all.