Ohio State alum spins off ambitious imaging software
How do you plan a growth strategy for a company that tackles topics as big as the United States’ rail system and as small as the makeup of a cancer cell? For emerging Worthington startup MIPAR, the solution is to aim high. With machine learning, the company’s software learns to analyze images based on what the client is looking for, breaking down complex patterns and substances. In real-world terms, MIPAR’s software can aid life-saving cancer research, find flaws in infrastructure, analyze aerial photographs and perform countless other jobs.
“The gap that MIPAR fills is that situation where you have real, challenging problems that traditional solutions fail to solve,” said MIPAR CEO and co-founder John Sosa. “But we also need to be able to rapidly develop an effective and scalable solution for industry without requiring months of coding and a computer-science degree to get it done. Our software is designed to quickly solve the customer’s challenges while still allowing for a clean, buttoned-up set of solutions.”
The project began at The Ohio State University, where Sosa joined a research team working with titanium alloys. The team needed a software catered to the project, and Sosa used his programming background to help develop it on his own time with support from MIPAR co-founder Dr. Hamish Fraser. After several years, the pair began to realize that the software could have a bigger impact, and in 2017 they worked with OSU’s Technology Commercialization Office to commercialize the idea into a separate company, launching MIPAR.
“The titanium-alloy research unintentionally led to a tool that was flexible and robust enough to handle medical-image analysis, drone-image analysis and really, any image analysis,” said Sosa. “The need for a flexible and easy-to-use tool drove the first version, and that’s still in the DNA of the product. The early commercial success really gave us some of the market research and the confidence to do this thing for real.”
Two years after its launch, MIPAR continues to find new uses for its technology. Sosa’s team still excels in its original focuses of materials and medicine and is now expanding its drone imaging operations. With some key approvals and more industry clout, Sosa believes the sky’s the limit for his team.
“The goal is to become the industry standard for materials-science analysis and be one of the high-end tools that are used for research and diagnostics,” said Sosa. “On the drone imaging side, there are a number of emerging projects and a lot of competition. If you’re part of the team that gets the first stamp of approval, you have a clean runway to be the go-to tool. We want to get to the next level and become the industry standard for these different fields.”
Sosa is confident that growth can occur from the friendly confines of MIPAR’s Worthington office just outside Columbus. There, Sosa and his team have found a location and resources he says rival Silicon Valley and create the perfect home for the company.
“It’s really been great,” said Sosa. “It has all the important resources that you need as a business — accountants, lawyers, banking, internet availability, consultants — and it’s all right here. There is definitely a nice energy when it comes to entrepreneurship. We haven’t even taken advantage of all of the funding or advising resources that are out there. But it’s a place that seems so excited about startups. You’re kind of in the Silicon Valley of the Midwest, and that definitely contributes to the drive and excitement.”