Marc Barros Launches Moment (interview and video)

Joe Heitzeberg
January 14, 2014

Today, Marc Barros (who has written extensively on the topic of hardware startups) is launching Moment on Kickstarter, a high-quality lens accessory that works with most smartphones and includes an innovative adapter design that allows it to be used with or without a case. They are launching two lenses today, both a wide-angle and a telephoto lens, and we got the chance to test them and to interview Marc on the eve of the launch.

HACK THINGS: Moment is launching today on Kickstarter. Tell us about it.

Marc Barros: Born out of my love for taking pictures, Moment is about capturing life. Started based on the belief that the future of photography is in our pockets, Moment is a collection of beautiful lenses that attach to your phone to enhance the photos that you can capture.

Our vision is to change the future of mobile photography by putting photographic finesse in your pocket. Designed from the ground up, Moment lenses are amazingly sharp, portable and easy to attach. Created with the highest quality materials, our purpose is to empower mobile picture takers everywhere to capture everyday life in beautiful ways.

HACK THINGS: ** **There are other camera lenses for smartphones on the market, so why should people back Moment?

Moment is unique for three reasons. First of all our engineering and production process allows us to deliver previously unattainable image quality. We optimized multi-element designs using the same recipe in designing professional cinema glass for HD film. We then fabricated the lens elements in the same high precision optical manufacturing facilities that produce lenses for 4K cinema.

Second these lenses work on the iOS and Galaxy platforms. A lot of the products are platform specific and our goal was to make sure that each of our lenses could work on the two most popular platforms. Third Moment lenses work with or without a case. We recognize that speed is important so we designed a thin metal plate that sits under any standard case so your phone is always lens ready.

HACK THINGS: It seems that lot of (particularly hardware) projects lately have opted to go the self-starter route instead of Kickstarter. Why did you decide to launch on Kickstarter?

We chose Kickstarter because it has an amazing community of people who are passionate about supporting new photography products. Its history of helping photographers, musicians, and product builders is something we admire. And of all the platforms we reviewed, we felt Kickstarter was the right place to launch Moment.

HACK THINGS: What did you do to prime your Kickstarter launch?

To be honest we haven’t done a lot of priming. We focused on our friends/family, local instagrammers, and the press. The hard part with making optical products is only have a few samples so it’s hard to put them in a lot of people’s hands for the to fall in love with the product. We are definitely a little anxious to see what happens on Kickstarter.

HACK THINGS: You’ve written a lot about the importance of branding. Tell us about Moment’s brand and how that plays into the product design.

Yes, we spent a lot of time on the brand. We started by understanding picture takers, why they capture pictures, what they capture, and their emotions around the entire experience. Those emotions were the anchor of the brand we created. And of all the words we talked about it, Moment is the essence of what a picture is. It’s this beautiful point in time that is understood through imagery in ways that words never can. Moments are all around us and they inspire us everyday to capture and share photos.

HACK THINGS: How are you approaching the manufacturing of Moment?

Selectively. There are only a handful of optics providers in the world that can provide the quality we are looking for and two of the founders bring a deep relationship with the supplier we are using. I’m a big believer in starting with a super high quality supplier, even if it makes your product more expensive.

HACK THINGS: What’s changed about doing a hardware startups between the time when you started Contour and now?

A lot! The momentum, infrastructure, and willingness to support new brands is incredible. If you are willing to be open about what you’re building and where you are in the process it appears that people really resonate with you.

What’s funny is we actually started Contour by pre-selling our own product to get off the ground. We needed money to cover our tooling and production costs so we started pre-selling our product for $50 a piece. After about 1,000 customers and no product in site we pulled the product and for the proceeding months continued to over promise and under deliver to our supports. What we initially said would be a few months to deliver took us over six months. I have definitely learned a lot from that experience!

HACK THINGS: Why should people back your project today?

We need everyone’s help to make Moment a reality. We are really proud of the prototypes we have created and the initial work we have done, but without the communities support we won’t be able to make this happen. Lens companies are not easy to fund without customer momentum. This Kickstarter launch is just the beginning of what we want to create to change the world of mobile photography.

Here’s where you can find Moment on Kickstarter

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