This Entrepreneur Wants Us to See and Record the World in a Whole New Way
The cofounder and CEO of OPKIX explains the birth of his social-first wearable cameras.
In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Who are you and what’s your business?
I am Lawrence Greaves, co-founder and CEO at OPKIX. Created specifically for a social-first generation, our first of its kind OPKIXOne wearable camera boasts a uniquely compact size, and pairs with an integrated app that allows you to edit your footage with the addition of filters, music and AR, and share across your favorite social platforms.
What inspired you to develop it?
My business partner, Shahin Amirpour, came up with the original idea one day while snowboarding when he realized that there was a need to capture video content hands-free. I had a similar "a-ha" moment when my wife came to me and said, "If you could capture video of the kids without looking at them through the screen of your phone, it would be a game changer." That’s when we knew we were really onto something.Related: Spoil Your Customers and Make Deliveries the Best Part of Their Day, This Entrepreneur Says
How is it different from other cameras in the category?
We are defining our own category! This is truly the first wearable camera that can be integrated into everyday life as well as adventures -- it’s not just for action sports. The OPKIXOne is available in a set of one or two cameras with the accompanying Egg that charges the camera and also wirelessly uploads content to your smartphone device almost instantly. The camera can integrate into a variety of wearable accessories including sunglasses, rings and even a necklace, allowing the user to capture content 100 percent hands-free. With the lenses just 1.4 inches long and the Egg measuring just under 4 inches, the whole system is the smartest compact device on the market.
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What is your marketing strategy? Who is the customer you want to reach and how are you going about it?
We launched this year direct-to-consumer, leveraging our incredible team of brand ambassadors and their followings. Our camera fits into so many different lifestyles, and we work with a diverse pool of ambassadors that we’re proud to have representing the brand, from a musical artist using the camera onstage while headlining rock concerts to a professional boxer using it in the ring, and even a celebrity makeup artist filming beauty tutorials. This word-of-mouth approach has helped us reach a vibrant audience of potential creators.
What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?
It means leading by example, running through walls, and being the first among equals.
How did you fund this? What advice can you share about the dos and don’ts of funding a company?
We have closed a Series A and Series B fundraise that brought our total funds raised to $11.8 million. We have raised from private investors, including my own personal investment. My investment was one of the first ones in the business because I truly believe we are doing something revolutionary. A majority of our brand ambassadors have been on board as initial investors as well.
How did it feel the first day you began running this business? When did you feel like "Okay, this is real, we're doing this!"
From day one this has been the most exciting journey. The opportunity to start OPKIX brought me out of retirement; I couldn't wait to get involved and help build this incredible brand. What we’ve created truly sunk in for me when we had a digital clock countdown to launch day, February 19, 2019, on the OPKIX website. When the clock hit zero, we truly felt how our vision for this brand was officially a reality, and it was surreal when the orders for the cameras started pouring in.
What was your toughest challenge and how did you overcome it?
The toughest challenge was having industry-leading experts tell us that our vision was not possible. Through hard work, determination, and never taking no for an answer, we made the impossible possible.
Is there a particular quote or saying that you use as personal motivation?
"Family over everything and never give up." This is my own personal quote and mantra, and I really take to heart that you should treat everyone you meet and work with as a member of your family. You never know how much someone’s support will mean to you down the road.