We talked to Vedran Vukman of Vyoocam about running mobile app on wearable camera.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Vedran Vukman: Thank you for asking. All family members are healthy and ok.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Vyoocam.
Vedran Vukman: I’m a CEO and a founder of Vyoocam. The company is based in San Francisco, where my team and I came from Croatia, a small European country. My career started since I was a kid. I was a big fan of technology and loved computers. My uncle was a distributor of Apple (Macintosh) computers in my hometown, and I still remember the excitement when he showed me the first digital camera from Apple. The camera was called QuickTake, and compared to today’s standards, it was a terrible camera. Still, it was good enough to make me understand in which direction the technology will evolve. I knew the one day; we’ll be able to capture not only digital photos but digital video as well. I was occupied with the idea of how cool it would be to share your audio-visual experience remotely and show other people what you’re hearing and seeing. Once the Internet connectivity came to our doorsteps and when video streaming became a reality, I knew that someday, with the help of the technology, we’ll be able to do exactly that.
When Apple introduced the iPhone and, more importantly, its amazing operating system and the Appstore, I said to myself, one day, this needs to transform into a wearable form factor where the camera will be positioned at the eye level. The idea was to build it as a hands-free device that could be used effortlessly. The company was founded after I applied with the first working prototypes for the local hardware startup competition. By winning the first prize, I got the opportunity to present Vyoocam at the CES in Las Vegas, and that was when my startup career officially started.
How does Vyoocam innovate?
Vedran Vukman: Although it seems the company is building strange-looking wearable devices, our device is basically a wearable smartphone. The secret sauce about our technology lies more in the software than in hardware technology. Unlike smart-glasses, our device doesn’t have a head-up (augmented reality) display, so we had to invent a proprietary technology that enables Vyoocam to use the screen of any smartphone as its own. The technology allows users to control the operating system and the device’s apps the same way they control the android smartphone. In short, Vyoocam is the only wearable device that can run the same apps people run on their android smartphones.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Vedran Vukman: If talking about hardware development, the COVID-19 pandemic hit us hard because we’re outsourcing hardware manufacturing. Our vendors and manufacturing partner are based in China, and because of the lockdown and the travel restrictions, we’re still experiencing delays with product development. On the other hand, the situation with the global pandemic forced companies to do business remotely. Remote work and the use cases like remote assistance, remote training, and remote inspection became the buzzwords of the year. In those circumstances, to make communication between employees and team members possible, businesses started searching for a device like ours. As a result, our preorders exploded.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Vedran Vukman: Sure, but like everybody else, we had to adapt. Not being able to travel, we had to come back to our hometown and run the company from there. The change didn’t hit us on the business development side, but we took a hit on the hardware development side. Lesson learned? I find it remarkable that the pandemic showed how IT companies are the most resilient in those situations. For a brighter future, technology is the key to everything.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Vyoocam in the future?
Vedran Vukman: When you’re an entrepreneur, and especially if innovating, stress is something that you learn to embrace. Every day will start with problems that seem unsolvable and that you need to solve as soon as possible. More importantly, when you’re running a startup, the stress level hits its all-time high each time the company seems to run out of money. How do I deal with it? I don’t know. Sometimes I think that I’m doing pretty well, and sometimes the opposite. Either way, the feeling never stopped me from getting to my goals. In the future, we see Vyoocam as the leader in communication technologies. Our goal is for people to replace their handheld mobile devices with Vyoocam wearable devices.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Vedran Vukman: Our main competitors are companies building smart-glasses. Because we were involved with the market since Google Glass came out, we understand why customers are not happy with smart-glasses. We put all the disadvantages of such devices on the paper and decided to build a product that will exclude every single of them. Although we had limited resources, the initial customer response showed us that we did the right thing. Our plan to stay in the game is simple. We’ll keep innovating, and we’ll keep making things easier for our customers.
Your final thoughts?
Vedran Vukman: As an entrepreneur, my words for all future entrepreneurs would be, never give up, never surrender. It will take beyond anticipated. It will take sacrifice, but eventually, if you keep pushing, you’ll make it happen. Lastly, as an entrepreneur, you always need to sell, so if you want to support us, please check our website and place your preorder. Investors are welcomed as well. Thank you!
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