Born to an incarcerated mother and growing up in poverty in Southern New Jersey, Cody Coleman found school to be an escape. As a teenager, the bright student dreamed of launching a tech startup or working in Silicon Valley. Although raised by grandparents with limited formal education, Coleman saw schooling as his ticket out of poverty.
“I worked really hard. School was a breath of fresh air for me, and I saw education as my opportunity out.”
— Cody Coleman (Co-Founder and CEO)
Despite his challenging beginnings, Coleman became the first student from his high school to attend MIT, later earning a Ph.D. from Stanford University. He went on to work with tech giants like Meta, Pinterest, and Google before launching his startup, Coactive, with longtime friend William Gaviria Rojas.
Coactive is a visual content search and analytics company that simplifies the processing and understanding of images and videos. By calculating the “digital DNA” of visual content, Coactive makes visual content easily searchable, facilitating natural language insights and interactions.
Consider the challenge of scrolling through your cell phone to locate a specific image or video. Now, extrapolate that challenge for a large corporation with hundreds of thousands of hours of visual content. Coactive resolves this issue, simplifying the retrieval process, saving both time and resources.
Coactive is about more than just convenience. With the internet becoming increasingly saturated with video content (accounting for 82% of all internet traffic in 2023, up 73% since 2017), the ability to efficiently navigate this vast ocean of data is a critical business need.
Before Coactive, businesses often resorted to hiring teams of people to manually sift through each image and video, laboriously tagging each piece of content. This process was slow, costly, and painfully inefficient. Coactive makes it searchable in seconds, providing insights into data that previously might have taken days or weeks to uncover.
“If you can type into Google image search, you can use Coactive,” said Coleman. It also integrates seamlessly with big data tools supporting both complex industrial use cases as well as basic ones.
Joining the LIFT Labs Accelerator
Coactive recently completed the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Generative AI Accelerator — a program that had professional and personal significance for Coleman. It was his opportunity to return to his hometown, just a short drive from Comcast HQ in Philadelphia, while collaborating with leading names in content creation and delivery. Coactive is now working with Comcast on possible opportunities to leverage its video analysis capability to create personalized content for viewers.
“When you think about visual content, how can you not think of Comcast and NBCUniversal?”
“Just the amount of footage, the amount of content being shared every single day on their programming and through their wires, is mind-boggling,” said Coleman.
Making Sense of Oceans of Data
The conception of Coactive came during Coleman’s Ph.D. program at Stanford. Coleman and Gaviria Rojas observed big tech companies developing custom tools for categorizing and searching through images and videos. Others had armies of people doing it manually. They saw a gap in the market – a toolset that could democratize AI for all, not just the largest corporations.
Cody Coleman (Co-Founder and CEO)
“I see Coactive transforming this massive ocean of data and making it usable for companies to search, understand, and analyze every aspect of their business,” said Coleman.
Coactive is already making strides across various industries. Community platforms use the tool to ensure trust and safety within their spaces. Consumer retail companies leverage it to improve their internal marketing and enhance product search for consumers. Media companies are capitalizing on it to make their vast libraries of images and footage easily accessible.
The applications of Coactive’s technology are vast. From understanding user behavior and trends to content moderation, it provides businesses with a complete understanding of their visual content. It can inform marketing decisions, enhance search engines, and improve user engagement.
“We aim to be synonymous with image and video search,” says Coleman. “If you have a lot of images and videos to search, you’ll use Coactive.”