This Houston-Based Startup Is Cutting The Line


After years of research and development, Zenus has launched several successful pilots of their cloud-based, facial recognition check-in software service.

The story

It’s estimated that the average American spends about two years of their life waiting in-line. For city-dwellers, this means as much as 45-minutes per day. Zenus, a Houston-based startup co-founded by Panos Moutafis, is hoping to kill the queue using facial recognition software. With Zenus' unique livestreamed, cloud-based software, event check-in times can be reduced from as much as one minute to less than five seconds, and attendees are identified as they walk in.

Originally from Athens, Greece, Panos came to Houston to study for his PhD at the University of Houston and had plans of becoming a full-time professor and researcher. During his studies, he discovered that a component of his research had high commercialization potential. He worked with UH to file a patent, received a $50K grant from the National Science Foundation, and began his pivot from researcher to entrepreneur where he begun working on new technologies for Zenus.

“Through the NSF grant, we had the opportunity to go through a rigorous training program on the Lean Startup methodology. It was during this time that we conducted 100 plus customer interviews, built our business model, and when we really become engaged with the startup community,” Panos recounted.

As a newly minted entrepreneur, Panos utilized his mentors and advisors to overcome the various challenges and misconceptions that first-time founders face.

“If you’re new to startups, the concept is the following: you raise money, you build a product, you get sales. We got slowed down by that line of thinking in the beginning, when we were trying to raise money without having anything to show to investors. Through a lot of advice, we realized that the process is actually: you build a prototype, you get interest from the market, and then you raise money,” said Panos.

Panos first became engaged with Station in June of 2016 and Zenus launched the first iteration of their product in April of 2017. Since then, Panos and his team have have hit several milestones - from being featured as a top Houston startup to watch, to executing a successful pilot at an event for 250 in London.

While facial recognition is a huge market with endless applications, Zenus has decided to stick to events (for now) to build-out use cases and a solid foundation for maximum impact. They are currently seeking partners interested in piloting their facial recognition check-in at corporate and large events.

Interested in learning more? Check out their demo to see the process in action and visit their website at