Adriana on Virgin Media’s ‘Pitch to Rich’ hot list with face-recognition app

PUBLISHED: 15:39 19 May 2015 | UPDATED: 16:29 19 May 2015

Adriana Lyon-Shaw working on her new app

Adriana Lyon-Shaw working on her new app

Adriana Lyon-Shaw

Adriana Lyon-Shaw often wondered what it must be like going somewhere without a camera or smartphone and trying to recall memories without any pictures to go by.

Searching for background faces... 'Was I there?' app gets seal of approvalSearching for background faces... 'Was I there?' app gets seal of approval

So the professional digital advisor from Bow, in London’s East End, set about developing her own face recognition technology which would search social networks to find if its user is in the background of other people’s photos.

Now she has been shortlisted for Virgin Media’s Pitch to Rich competition with the lure of a £50,000 prize which could set her up in her own company if she gets through.

“As soon as I saw the Pitch to Rich poster on the tube I thought—this is my chance,” Adriana told the East London Advertiser.

“I have a ground-breaking idea and can now execute it. So I signed up.”

The ambitious 38-year-old Brazillian former journalist has put together a bid for cash in the ‘New Things’ category to set up her own high-tech marketing operation to sell the app, after mulling over the idea for three years.

“Unfortunately I couldn’t get it up-and-running due to the high cost of face recognition technology,” she added.

“But now I’ve been shortlisted to the top 50 out of 897 entrants in my category.

“The app will change my life, having my own company. No-one else is in the same photo-sharing market with the Facebook monopoly. It’s a big task to break into the monopoly—but I feel confident.”

Her app tags your face and searches out all pictures on photo-sharing social media to see if you are in the background of any picture, then sends them to you to select and share with others. It works by photo-recognition searches, similar to CCTV technology used by police looking for suspects who have been caught on camera somewhere.

Voting for Adriana’s Was I there? app has got through to the ‘New Things’ category shortlist of 50 which is being pitched down to 10 for the judges to eventually choose the £50,000 winner.

Other categories are also being judged, shortlisted from 2,000 entries, with prizes totalling £1 million.

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