What do Bradly Cooper, Ellen DeGeneres, Meryl Streep, and Brad Pitt have in common? Besides being part of Hollywood's elite, they also shared a moment in Twitter history. The "selfie" snapped by Cooper, and posted by DeGeneres, became one of the most retweeted posts ever.
Well now there's a start-up that is trying to make every selfie look as perfect as possible (minus the celebs).
"Our mission is to light front facing camera users while they take selfies, skype, or facetime so they can look amazing, even in the dark," explained Allan Shoemake, president of Glow Enterprises, which makes the LuMee Case.
Shoemake had 60 seconds to make his pitch to Wired Magazine writer Issie Lapowsky, NEA Partner Patrick Chung, Maveron Principal Rebecca Kaden and CNBC host Mandy Drury. But will the Power Pitch panel think his idea is the next big thing, or just a shot in the dark? Watch the video above to find out!
Lightbulb goes off
Allan Shoemake always had trouble seeing his daughter while skyping with her because she was always in a poorly lit room. So he started experimenting with how to light up the frame. For the first prototype, he used foam board and placed lights around his laptop. Then he experimented with his smartphone and came up with the LuMee Case. The current product works with the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. The case charges separately and does not use any of the phone's battery. To turn the lights of the case on, just press the button on the back. If it's too bright, holding down that same button allows the user to dim the brightness.
According to the company's website, the case takes about 30-45 minutes to charge and will last 2 hours on full brightness.
Lighting up the Competition
Panelist Issie Lapowsky said she was concerned about copycats and asked how Shoemake plans to ward off the competition. "We want to be the first case out there….I think our design, the value of the light and the quality of the light will stand out," Shoemake responded.
But host Mandy Drury pressed him further, asking about Apple (APPL) potentially doing the same thing cheaper and on a mass scale. "I think Apple is in the business of information sharing, they're not in the business of making you look good, if they did, they'd put a better front facing camera on the phone," he answered. The cases are manufactured in China and Shoemake said they make as many as 18,000 cases per week.
The LuMee Case is priced at $39.95 and panelist Patrick Chung said he felt it may be too steep for teens. However Shoemake said he believes the price is similar to phone cases on the market that don't offer electronics.
Shoemake said LuMee is using social media to drive customers to the website with a goal of creating a brand that will lead to additional distribution channels. He also told CNBC he plans to have future product lines such as tablet cases and silicon covers, and the company is researching ways to use the Lumee lights to signal a ringtone or when music is played.
Presales launched in June 2014. Shoemake would not reveal revenue numbers.
The company is developing products for the Samsung Galaxy S5 (GOOG) as well as the Apple iPad. And while Shoemake wouldn't give specific names, he did say they are in discussions with certain celebrities to endorse the product. So far the company has raised $62,500 from angel investors, friends and family.
Watch Allan Shoemake pitch his product the LuMee Case to Wired Magazine writer Issie Lapowsky, NEA Partner Patrick Chung, Maveron Principal Rebecca Kaden and CNBC host Mandy Drury..