OrcaVue: From Backyard Stunts to Market Leaders in 360 Photo Booths
At events, you may have come across a few “360 Photo Booths”. If you’ve been lucky enough to attend the SuperBowl recently you may have noticed a new kind of photobooth. So-called slow motion glamor booths are cropping up at all kinds of events these days, and it’s in large part thanks to OrcaVue. OrcaVue has completely changed the photo booth experience for hundreds of thousands of people, and not just athletes and celebrities. But as fascinating as their product is, the story behind it is even more so. The company was founded by Daniel Rosenberry, an engineering graduate, and his brother, who garnered a major following with their crazy backyard stunts. The brothers got popular enough that America’s Got Talent requested an audition. They formulated a plan to capture the moment with a "matrix bullet time shot."
“Traditionally, this is captured with an array of cameras taking photos at the same time, but we only had one camera. Being a recent engineering graduate without a real job yet, I decided to use my engineering skills to create something that could capture the shot with just one camera,” says Rosenberry. Their prototype needed to be portable, which added to Rosenberry’s challenge in making an arm with the camera on it that could spin around the subject . Once they had it figured out, there was no intention to start a company. However, a friend convinced them to patent the device and post pictures online; and the rest is history. As they sold unit after unit, they realized that this could be a viable business. Thus, OrcaVue (ORbiting CAmera View) was born.
Bootstrapping a Startup and Overcoming Challenges
The initial vision was for OrcaVue’s product to be used to film products or people, not a photo booth. However, it evolved over time, and now they offer a range of products for events and businesses. OrcaVue's 360 booth has become a sub-industry in the event space, and they hope the consumer version of their robotic arm photo booth will do the same.
Success has naturally been built off of overcoming challenges. In the beginning, there was a steep learning curve as the entrepreneurs had to learn everything from scratch, including accounting, machining, and logistics. They had zero experience in those areas, and it was incredibly challenging to learn everything simultaneously; moreover, they had virtually zero funding at the time. But through hard work they were able to bootstrap and grow at an exciting rate since 2014. “We were told it wouldn’t sell, that there was no demand as our product did not exist at the time, but we realized the demand as we posted images and people were asking where they could check us out and use it - we had created a need for a product that did not exist,” says Rosenberry.
The business challenges were accompanied with prototyping, testing, revising, and then scaling. “We have to make a certain number of products all the time, and if a particular material runs out, we have to re-engineer a new system that will work with the new material. Thankfully, we have the flexibility to make everything in-house, which enables us to shift gears quickly.” Their ability to adapt and engineer in house, especially with the use of sheet metal in their fabrication enables agility and flexibility that supports their ingenuity.
OrcaVue has had a lot of competitors popping up who are excellent at marketing, but not so much in product quality. While they try not to pay too much attention to their competition, they do hear a lot of feedback from their own customers regarding a lack of manufacturing quality in their competitors’ products. Rosenberry believes that, as a leader in this market, they have set a certain standard of quality that others don’t reach. With creating a new industry and being first to market, it can be frustrating seeing others enter the market and not deliver on the same quality for customers. As other competitors have entered the market, this has strengthened OrcaVue’s foothold within the industry as they lead in delivering the best experience for both their partners, as well as the end user.
Looking to the future, Rosenberry has a consumer version of the robotic arm product that he’s hoping sees as much success as the 360 photo booth has. While ramping up production to meet the demand for both products, they’re excited to explore new opportunities as well. These kinds of robotic photo technologies could be utilized in all kinds of unexpected ways in manufacturing, packaging, or even just as-yet undiscovered opportunities in film and photography. Says Rosenberry, “As for where we're headed in the next five years, we have an exciting opportunity to expand within the consumer market and create a sub-industry in the event space - furthering the experience and making it more immersive, more engaging, more fun. We will continue to ramp up production and our prototyping as we explore new opportunities to delight our users.”
Keys to Success: Customer Service and Production Efficiency
The success of OrcaVue is not just due to their innovative products, but also their dedication to customer service. Rosenberry emphasizes that they take great pride in their ability to provide personalized support to their clients. They work closely with their customers to understand their specific needs and create custom solutions to fit those needs. “Our commitment to customer service has earned OrcaVue a loyal customer base and a reputation as a company that truly cares about their clients,” he says. Part of what creates the ability to customize their solutions is the use of sheet metal manufacturing. Rosenberry continues “the ease of uploading a CAD, checking for manufacturability, and getting parts fast has expedited both the prototyping and production process for us.”
Partnerships and Vision
With their innovative products, OrcaVue has set the bar high for competitors in the industry. However, their team is content with simply dominating the market, they are always seeking to improve their products and expand their reach. One example of this is their partnership with the NFL. OrcaVue has been working with the NFL for several years, providing their innovative photo booth technology for events such as the NFL Combine, Draft, and Super Bowl. This partnership has allowed the company to reach a wider audience and showcase their products on a national stage. “Looking back 5 years ago, it’s clear that our company has exceeded our initial expectations to say the least. We are excited to continue to grow as the market leader and drive it forward,” states Daniel.
About OrcaVue: Daniel Rosenberry and the team at OrcaVue are passionate about what they do, and their passion is reflected in the quality of their products. The team is committed to staying at the forefront of the event industry and providing their customers with innovative, high-quality products that exceed their expectations.