Siem Reap Startup To Develop New NFL Fantasy Football Website

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Apulus technical director Rob Ewbank (left) and general manager Niklas Karlsborg. KHMER TIMES / SIMON TAPLAN

Siem Reap tech company Apulus is riding the surge of global interest in Cambodian IT startups, having recently gained a deal, through a subcontractor, with the National Football League (NFL) in the US to work on an online site, FantasyGram.

Site users become Fantasy Football team owners who can talk about their imaginary team’s strategy on video while giving the illusion that they’re being interviewed by and chatting with real-life NFL pro-football stars.

The small Siem Reap company landed this deal and has attracted international attention with its innovative tech product LiveBlox, which it promotes as “a software platform that puts groundbreaking technology into the hands of the ordinary user.”

Essentially LiveBlox allows users to create apps and other concepts previously not possible without years of coding experience and deep knowledge of programming languages. As well as facilitating the building of apps, LiveBlox can also be used for mixing audio, video and lighting for live shows, and for making music videos, plus a host of other high-tech uses such as tracking motion for image redaction.

Apulus, founded in November 2014 by Norwegian-expat Niklas Karlsborg and British expat Rob Ewbank, is Siem Reap-based but is registered as a limited company in Hong Kong.

“When we were about to register, it was a bit more complex to register in Cambodia than it is today,” said Karlsborg. “We were in talks with a government institution about a possible project, and for them it was important that we were registered in a jurisdiction they knew and we had a timeframe in which this had to be done.”

“Hong Kong encourages start-ups and has made it very easy for companies to register. Since we registered in Hong Kong, we have seen that the start-up scene in Cambodia has absolutely improved and we are really excited to see how things evolve here,” he added.

The name Apulus is a combination of application and the word oculus, meaning a round or eye-like opening or design.

The company’s core product LiveBlox has been in the making for just over four years. Karlsborg explained: “Rob had a software then that he’d been working on for some time. He showed it to me, and I was amazed of how easy it was to use.”

“So we decided to bring our strengths together. As a business graduate I had managed some establishments before.  I was to take care of the business side of it, and Rob the technological side of things,” he added.

The team have also taken their high-tech innovation into the bars and venues of Siem Reap with a live show featuring hula dancer Aisling Feral Hoops going through her moves in front of a funky video projection.

“A camera inputs video into LiveBlox, motion detection is then applied to generate a mask that allows blending between multiple layers of the computer generated visuals,” said Karlsborg.

“This is then run through multiple visual effects such as motion blur to provide the artistic effect we created. The output is projected into the screen in front of the dancer. With a great dancer such as Aisling Feral Hoops, it turns into a really amazing show.”

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.