Blueprint CFO Presents: Future Focused Entrepreneurs – Thermography Trailblazer with MoviTHERM’s Markus Tarin


Markus Tarin is the President & CEO of MoviTHERM – Advanced Thermography Solutions. Mr. Tarin has studied Radio and Television Engineering as well as Embedded System Design in Germany, where he graduated in 1996. He has extensive experience with visible and non-visible imaging, especially in the Near Infrared (NIR), Shortwave Infrared (SWIR), Midwave Infrared (MWIR) and Long Wave Infrared (LWIR).

Tarin was the lead architect on many product development projects for defense, research, medical and industrial applications. Through his company, he has commercialized many of these developments for remote monitoring, automated thermal imaging and non-destructive testing.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • What makes MoviTHERM unique in the thermography industry, and insights about the firm’s thermal imaging innovations
  • Markus’s background, and how he got involved in the thermography/thermal imaging industry
  • How old Markus was when he first knew he wanted to have an electronics-related career
  • Difficult times Markus faced in his career, and the impact of the textile industry crash
  • The best and worst aspects of owning a business, from Markus’s perspective, and common misconceptions about “being your own boss”
  • The commitment needed to successfully lead a company, and the responsibility that business leaders feel
  • How Artificial Intelligence (AI) is impacting MoviTHERM’s industry
  • COVID-19’s impact on MoviTHERM, and whether Markus sees any impact of a potential recession
  • What the Purchasing Manager’s Index is, and what information it shows
  • Markus’s view on work-life balance, and how many hours he works per week as President & CEO
  • Why MoviTHERM decided to work with Blueprint CFO, and Markus’s initial impressions as a new client
  • The power of peer advisory organizations like Vistage, and the importance of checking your blind spots as an entrepreneur

About the Series. Blueprint CFO Presents: Future Focused Entrepreneurs is an interview series and podcast highlighting entrepreneurs and businesses that are going places by focusing on the future and developing a roadmap for success. Hosted by Jim Downes, founder of Blueprint CFO, a future focused fractional CFO & accounting services firm based in Southern California.

About Blueprint CFO. Blueprint CFO is a future focused fractional CFO and accounting services firm based in Orange County, California. Partnering with entrepreneurial companies to guide and support them on their road to success, Blueprint CFO equips clients with the Profitability Roadmap® they need to grow. Learn more at


Jim: Hello everybody and welcome to Blueprint CFO presents, our bi-weekly podcast featuring future-focused entrepreneurs. Today’s guest is Markus Tarin, president and CEO of MoviTHERM. Hello Markus.

Markus: Hey Jim, thanks for having me on. Appreciate it.

Jim: It’s going to be exciting to have Markus on. He’s got a very interesting company and we’ll learn all about it in a few minutes. But first, our sponsor of our program is Blueprint CFO. We are a fractional CFO and outsourced accounting firm. We work with our clients to help them grow their business and make more money by bringing them timely and accurate financial data that they can use to make better business decisions. Our website is Thank you very much. So Markus, let’s get into our interview. Number one question is, tell us a little bit about MoviTHERM. What does MoviTHERM do?

Markus: MoviTHERM, the name itself comes from motion vision thermography. We are a thermal imaging company. We have a hybrid business model. We are a distributor, selling thermal imaging cameras for the do-it-yourselfers, strictly business to business. We have product solutions developed for quality inspection, plastic welding, package inspection. We have a line of non-destructive test systems for aerospace, doing defect detection in carbon composites. We also have a cloud-based IoT solution for early fire detection and condition monitoring. We also act as a systems integrator, helping customers with bigger projects.

Jim: Before I met Markus, I didn’t know what thermography was. It’s using infrared cameras to do heat detection. Would that be a fair way of describing it, Markus?

Markus: Yes, there are two categories. One is the surveillance world, which uses it for night vision. We are on the other end of the spectrum. We have calibrated temperature cameras, so we can measure pixel by pixel what its temperature is.

Jim: One of the applications I’ve seen is an industrial laundry using your systems for remote monitoring to ensure no fires break out.

Markus: Yes, we have several industrial laundry facilities using our IoT-based cloud early fire detection. They have issues with spontaneous combustions due to dirty laundry coming in with oils and solvents. We can monitor the development of that exothermic reaction and give an early warning.

Jim: One of the latest innovations is an all-in-one unit that has everything in it, the camera, the server, and the internet connection.

Markus: Yes, we call it a Gateway. It’s the gateway between the cameras and other sensors to our cloud-based solution, which runs on an Amazon web-based server. We can even do this either through the customer’s infrastructure or via cell phone.

Jim: What makes MoviTHERM special in its industry?

Markus: We have a model called “simplify the complex”. We’re constantly innovating. Our IoT cloud-based solution was a testament to that. We wanted to simplify things for our customers.

Jim: How did you get into this business?

Markus: I started as a single-man consultant, doing automation work. I always had a knack for image processing. FLIR, one of the largest thermal camera manufacturers, reached out to us to automate their software for thermal imaging. That’s how we started in the machine vision world with thermal imaging.

Jim: Was that 25 years ago?

Markus: Yes.

Jim: How did you come to the U.S?

Markus: My dad was installing textile machines around the world. He needed help automating a machine in LA. I came to help him, and after a year, the owner of the company hired me on. I became the plant engineer for a few years till 1999, and then I went on my own.

Jim: That’s cool. So you started, it was just you, and now the company’s grown to, I can’t remember, like 30 or 40 employees?

Markus: No, not quite, 15 currently.

Jim: Okay, 15. As you’re growing, have there been rough spots? Times when things weren’t going well and you needed to reinvent yourself or go in a different direction?

Markus: Absolutely. My roughest spot was in the very beginning. I had started this company coming from that textile background. I had made a lot of connections with European textile manufacturers. My first idea for this company was sales and service for European textile machine manufacturers, like my dad did, in the US on the West Coast. I had signed up six or seven of those, and it started out pretty nice. Then the textile market crashed. Everyone started to diversify their product lines, creating cross-competition. Suddenly, the phone calls came in from these folks I was representing, saying, “If you keep representing this company, you can no longer represent us because we have competition here.” I ended up with one or two, and that’s not enough business for me. I can’t sustain this. At one point, I was down to $200 in my name. I didn’t have enough money to pay the rent or a ticket back. I was too proud to call my dad and ask for help. But the next morning, a customer called in distress, asking for help with his machine. I told him he had to pay me that day, and he agreed.

Jim: That was a godsend.

Markus: Yes, it was. Later on, I pivoted outside of the textile world. The whole market crashed, everything moved over to India and China. A lot of companies went out of business around that time, including the one I used to work for. So I pivoted, and this whole relationship with FLIR started. I was branching into this whole world and building my company up from the ground.

Jim: So you own your own business, and you’re the president and CEO, which means you’re in charge of everything. What’s the good part about owning your own business?

Markus: I think I’ve created my dream job. I was following my curiosity in technology. I’m a total technology geek, passionate about technology. I created my dream job. I could solve so many different problems and work with so many different companies. We were very technology-focused and industry-open. I got to see a lot of different manufacturing companies, learn how they work, and solve their problems.

Jim: That’s great. What’s the downside of owning your own business?

Markus: It comes with a lot of commitment. The clock never stops ticking. Whether you’re on vacation or on the weekend, you’re always thinking about the next thing, the next problem to solve. Everyone in the company looks to you as the leader to solve their problems. There’s a constant level of pressure. You’re responsible for everyone, their families, your customers, and your company. I always chuckle when I hear young people say they want to be their own boss. They think it’s going to be great, but they’re wrong. Your employees and customers are your bosses. If I compare myself to working for a company, when I go home at night, it’s my time. On the weekend, it’s my weekend. I don’t have to worry about work. But as an entrepreneur, you have to be on top of things all the time.

Jim: Right, it’s rewarding, but it’s a lot of pressure. You have to continually reinvent yourself, which is challenging.

Markus: Absolutely. We had to reinvent ourselves many times.

Jim: I’m going to throw you a curveball here. We’re looking at artificial intelligence and how it’s going to affect the accounting industry. Are you doing anything with AI at MoviTherm?

Markus: Absolutely. We’re part of the A3 Business Association, which is for advancing automation. Part of that is robotics, machine vision, motion control, and lately, AI. We’ve been using it. During the COVID times, we developed AI-based solutions. We use it for fire detection as well. It’s fascinating technology, but you have to understand its limitations.

Jim: Right, it’s a piece of the puzzle. During the last few years, we had COVID. How were you affected by it?

Markus: Talking about a curveball, when I saw the outbreak abroad and the travel restrictions, I saw a big wave coming towards us. I thought this is going to kill our industrial businesses. But we’re in the thermal imaging business. We knew from the SARS outbreak that thermal imaging cameras had been used for detecting fever on human skin. We pivoted rapidly, and that was our savior moment. Our business took off like a rocket ship.

Jim: That’s amazing. It shows the power of innovation and being nimble. This year, they’ve predicted a recession. Are you seeing any effects at MoviTherm?

Markus: We definitely saw a slowdown in Q1 and Q2. There are signs now that things seem to be turning around. We’re tracking with the PMI, the purchasing managers index, which has reached the bottom and is going back up.

Jim: Right, we have to keep moving or get passed up by the competition. What’s the normal work week look like for Marcus?

Markus: Balance is a spectrum. I’ve improved. I used to work a lot more. I manage to stay away from weekends. I’d say a 45-50 hour work week is common. I’m also working on hiring more middle-layer management to free up more of my time.

Jim: Right, you’re building an organization and empowering people. You’ve been working with us for a few months. What are the benefits of working with Blueprint?

Markus: I realized I need to take my finances more seriously. That’s why we’re happy to have you on board. We need to straighten out our accounting and match it up with our efforts. We need to trace our profitability properly and understand our actions by numbers. The financial side of the business is critical.

Jim: Right, we’re implementing project accounting. We’re tracking what people are doing with their time every day. We’re going to delve into those numbers. Any last tips for budding entrepreneurs?

Markus: Join a peer group, like Vistage or the Entrepreneur Organization. It’s invaluable to brainstorm with like-minded people and other entrepreneurs. Check for blind spots and approach problems the right way. Other people have fantastic ideas you can implement.

Jim: Right, it’s humbling. You have to reveal what you’re struggling with. But to get feedback, you have to get those issues out there. Thank you, Marcus, for being on our podcast. We’re Blueprint CFO. If there are any entrepreneurs out there watching the show, please let us know.

Markus: Thanks so much. It was great.

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