Lemuro Smartphone Lenses as seen on BBC’s Dragons Den Season 17 Episode 13
“A German-Portuguese business combo have their business, which makes camera lenses for mobile phones, brought into sharp focus, but will they be in the frame for investment?” BBC Dragons Den Season 17 Episode 13
Words from the Founder:
Lemuro has been a labor of love for me as a photography enthusiast. It’s been a long-term dream of mine to bring advanced camera lenses to the iPhone-using masses. Thanks to our spellbinding success on Kickstarter, we’ve reached out to thousands of amateur and professional photographers all over the world. That’s only the beginning – as we’ve just secured lucrative backing from BBC’s ‘Dragons’ Den,’ thanks to the investment of Deborah Meaden.
I wasn’t always involved in photography, at least not professionally. I made my mark in the banking sector. Specifically, I was deeply involved in investment banking. It’s still an exciting industry for millions of people, but I quickly found myself approaching a crossroads.
Investment banking was beginning to grow stale, at least from my perspective. I was becoming more and more passionate about my photography about capturing the world around me. However, I’d always be heading back to the same desk, for the same 9-to-5 experience. It’s a dream for some people to leave behind a tedious job to pursue their passions.
For me, however, it was more than just boredom. Young people were breaking free from the industry. Ethical and moral lines continued to blur in a time when financial crises loomed large. That wasn’t a world I wanted to be a part of anymore.
So, I made the leap, as plenty of young, idealistic people do, into running my own enterprise. This wasn’t always guaranteed to work. I was aware of the risks, but the writing was on the wall. I couldn’t continue to wallow in an industry that was souring as much as the financial sector. There was no future for me there.
So, I started exploring the world around me. I invested money in traveling and took my camera into the wild, wonderful world. I began to notice exciting new trends in social media. I realized that there was a niche for people to take sharper, more colorful pictures, all without having to invest in expensive camera equipment. Instagram demands quality photos – and I had a brainstorm to help meet that demand.
I started Lemuro completely online in an effort to disrupt the mobile camera industry. There needed to be greater liberty and access for smartphone photographers to take amazing pictures and footage. My aim and the company’s aim is still to bring professional photography essentials to a broader audience.
I feel great photography shouldn’t come at a premium rate. Lemuro’s simple, hyper-practical lenses are designed to be affordable and easy to use. We’re also concerned about style, too. Everyday people want fantastic lenses and accessories that look the part. Again, I genuinely don’t believe people should have to pay hundreds of dollars for the privilege.
The team and I have continued to develop and market our lenses and cases through Kickstarter. Crowdfunding is a wonderful way to get ideas up and running. It’s fantastic to be able to show the world what we want to do, and to give our audience the chance to impact on our journey. Thanks to the success we’ve experienced through crowdfunding, we already have a series of professional lenses, cases, and accessories on the market.
However, I believe Lemuro has a long way to go. This is more than just a start-up. This is a brand which will continue to challenge the photography industry. At the very least, I want to show the world that you don’t have to earn a six-figure salary to fund your passions.
That, ultimately, is what drove me to BBC’s ‘Dragons’ Den.’ The TV show has helped businesses like mine to find investment from some genuinely lucrative sources. Preparing for the show was, inevitably, going to be a little nerve-wracking.
However, once I appeared before the Dragons, I was confident that my message, and Lemuro’s ethos, needed to be heard.
Standing in front of the five investors – who have seen so many people come and go without a shred of money – I poured my heart out. I threw Lemuro’s ambition into the Den, making it clear where we intended to go, and the changes we wanted to encourage. Lemuro has never been about making money. Instead, it is about making photography that little bit more accessible.
I met with some strong opposition. Peter Jones, who is the longest-standing Dragon on the show, locked horns over my disruptive business model. Jones defended the traditions of the industry, yet I battled on. Jones was going to be a problematic Dragon to convince. He is the owner of the high street photography chain, Jessops.
I directly challenged Jones. I didn’t let his line of attack break my projection. I made it clear that, in fact, traditional camera sales are in decline. The future of photography lies in the smartphone. Thankfully, other Dragons were able to see my line of thinking.
Having received offers from Taj Lavlani and Deborah Meaden, both of whom were impressed by my pitch, Lemuro accepted investment from Meaden. This is a massive step for Lemuro, which will allow us to continue developing new technology, and to supply our products to a broad, modern audience.
Our Dragons’ Den success is only the beginning. I can’t wait to start working together with Lemuro on our joint venture. We have come a long way as a humble start-up. What’s next? For one, we’ll be taking our future innovations back to Kickstarter, where it all started. I can’t wait to show you what we’ve got in the pipeline.