The Future Is Now: “Body cameras combined with AI” With OPKIX CEO, Lawrence “LG” Greaves

Capture the moments you live in, and live in the moments you capture. Our family and friends deserve our attention, our connection, and our love. As a part of my series about “Bleeding edge” technological breakthroughs that seem copied from science fiction, I had the pleasure of interviewing CEO and Co-founder of OPKIX, Lawrence “LG” Greaves. […]

Capture the moments you live in, and live in the moments you capture. Our family and friends deserve our attention, our connection, and our love.

As a part of my series about “Bleeding edge” technological breakthroughs that seem copied from science fiction, I had the pleasure of interviewing CEO and Co-founder of OPKIX, Lawrence “LG” Greaves. Splitting his formative years between London and Johannesburg, OPKIX Co-Founder and C.E.O. Lawrence “LG” Greaves first made his mark on the business world upon settling in Southern California during 2005. He planted roots in Orange County at the age of 22 and started a consulting firm that would be acquired by a national firm. Elected to the company’s leadership team, he stood out as the youngest leader in the firm’s history. 2008 saw him co-found ETONIEN at 25-years-old. The financial consulting practice specialized in assisting pre-IPO companies with accounting, planning, budgeting, and forecasting, while also serving private equity firms and Fortune 500 companies by restructuring management. ETONIEN blossomed into a respected national firm that hired over 800 employees since its inception with offices all over the U.S. As ETONIEN achieved success, his entrepreneurial spirit drove him to become a board advisor and shareholder for various businesses as well as an active venture investor whose portfolio encompasses technology, hardware, real estate, bio-technology, and more. Adept at augmenting revenue growth, marketing, capital formation, and fundraising, he started as one of the first three investors and assumed the role of C.E.O. for OPKIX in 2016, raising a seed round of $675K at $10 million valuation as well as a Series A of $5.4 million at an $88.5 million pre-money valuation.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

After reviewing the initial brand concept, I originally found my way to OPKIX as a potential investor. I immediately connected with the team and eventually offered to not only invest financially, but to invest my years of team building, leadership, management, and board experience in the form of being the company’s CEO and Co-Founder. From the outset, we always saw the device as more than a camera. Our goal was to build a community of creators, and we’ve collectively fashioned the foundation for such a community to flourish.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career with OPKIX?

A year after I became involved in OPKIX, we had identified a clear strategy, raised $6 million dollars, and had just started the design and engineering services to build the world’s smallest, smartest, wearable cameras and video editing app. In doing so, we met with industry leaders in the imaging space. These leaders all told us the size, quality, and functionality we demanded from this camera were impossible. I left that day and immediately booked an in-person session with our lead engineer, Dr. Lane Brooks (undergrad, Masters and PhD in electrical engineering from MIT as well as “Guinness World Record” holder for the world’s smallest camera design, at that time). I remember flying to his Utah base. I rented a $40 private room — at a public library of all places — and we sat in front of a white board for hours listening to him explain why it was impossible.

We ultimately found a workaround, which has now become the underlying IP (pending) for our first-generation wireless camera systems: the OPKIX ONE. We simply wouldn’t take, “No,” for an answer. The moment of finding the workaround has been the most emotionally dynamic and interesting development. It really solidified our brand trajectory.

Can you tell us about the “Bleeding edge” technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

As we are a hardware, software, and social sharing company, we’re looking to leverage the next phase of artificial intelligence to enhance the user experience of photo and video sharing. We’re working extensively on the educational aspects of our current and future releases throughout each level of the Opkix ecosystem. We are undergoing training for human learning through artificial intelligence as well as personal and professional communication mediums on the B2B side. We have some previously filed patents that are non-consumer focused. These patents have some major runway with regard to the intelligence community. It will use the best of the discrete form factors we are able to achieve and further enhance the use case through the value of real-time sharing and intelligent interpretation of video-based content.

How do you think this might change the world?

It already has! Billions of videos are created around the world, and they are no longer 30-minute camcorder videos of our children’s recitals. They are short, real-time videos intended to document our lives. Video is the new keyboard. Our opportunity is to support the use of a smartphone, but enable and empower you to put the smartphone down. By putting it down, you can be present in the moments you want to capture with our sleek, lifestyle-focused mounts that can record at the speed of now. Existing players in the tech community are evaluating their next big moves in the evolution of the smartphone. It used to be a one-stop technology solution that could do multiple things. Manufacturers are now breaking down the functionality of a smartphone into multiple wearable components that communicate with each other harmoniously, yet more logically assimilate to the natural ergonomics of the human body. A wearable camera is the logical next step in the seamless integration of technology into daily life. Frankly, it’s a blue-sky opportunity for OPKIX.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

The drawbacks fictionalized in modern media with regard to the security and privacy concerns of a discreet, wearable, camera are not OPKIX-specific; they’re mostly “what if’s”. Our constant desire to document every moment of our lives and, reciprocally, to watch others do the same thing, along with the contradictory demand for privacy, is an oxymoron already playing out in society. We implicitly agree to share our content with the social media sites that house it and makers of hardware and software that we use to create it. It’s not a new trend. Our hardware is actually built with security in mind for the consumer. In fact, we went to great lengths to design a “light-pipe,” or the square halo light on the front of our camera that illuminates when recording. Therefore, the light notifies people they are being recorded. This is an additional privacy step that we developed to address such concerns as the ones sensationalized by content creators and sci-fi. As such, we pride ourselves on being responsible technology evangelists. We are constructing hardware and software to support the concept of being in the moment without violating another’s privacy. We want you to share what you want, where and when you want, so we have these extra measures in place in order to provide security, ensure privacy, and enable use of your preferred social media platforms.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

All credit for the initial concept goes to my business partner, Shahin Armirpour. Shahin is an avid snowboarder. While snowboarding during 2016 in ultra low temperatures, his wearable camera not only died in the cold, but took forever to transfer video files…Not to mention, it wasn’t aesthetically designed, either. Our breakthrough was the realization we’re not competing with this category of device, but rather we’re creating a device that addresses the needs of a modern-day consumer. OPKIX is building a new realm rather than occupying a pre-existing realm.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

Our goal is to allow the average person to capture and share great content. This capability shouldn’t be limited to someone who can only afford the latest and greatest inventions. We need our brand to be accessible and relatable. This generation deserves quality entertainment, authentic memory making, and more importantly, to experience the feeling of being the director and producer of one’s own life story. Personally, I can’t wait to see the creativity to ensue. We’re on the cusp of a new wave of content. We’ll be with its talented architects every step of the way.

What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?

We work alongside a world-class PR firm who continues to go above and beyond as our brand storyteller and marketplace conduit. We have the support of our investors who have built various billion-dollar companies responsible for numerous everyday innovations. We have also built out a team of 64 global ambassadors who are creators in their own right, lending their stories to our brand. The need for what we created was palpable, but we needed to design and commercialize it to make individuals realize what they had been missing in the marketplace before our launch. Our marketing is organic. We’re putting our products in the hands of talented individuals and accelerating the virality of awesome, original and authentic content to re-inspire a generation and breathe life into our cultural perspective on social media.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

This person is my wife — who was my second girlfriend ever — who I then married at an early age. She has not only been with me on this journey, but she is the captain of the ship. She inspires me to strive for greatness and to achieve the impossible. She reminds me to be humble or get humbled. She is able to reign in a guy who is otherwise unmanageable in a traditional sense. I owe everything to my wife and our two children.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I often donate to at-risk women and children. This includes supporting the build of one of the largest projects of its kind in downtown Los Angeles: St. Anne’s permanent affordable housing site. I started donating to this charity when I first had the resources to do so eleven years ago and was also on their board of trustees and directors for many years. I plan on continuing to fund charitable foundations to support women and children, as I believe they are the key to our collective bright futures. If we can provide the resource of a safe and nurturing environment for children and the mothers who raise them, I promise you this world will be a better place.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

1. Building a billion dollar brand is no cake walk.

While running my last company Etonien, I had a front row seat to the IPO of numerous billion dollar companies. Being nimble was the key to the success of each. Problems invariably arise from all angles. Reacting is just as important as acting. In launching a mainstream brand, you have to be prepared for anything, but you have to be even more prepared to roll with the punches.

2. Be more afraid of success than of failure.

Success presents a myriad of responsibilities. That’s an honor. If you’re aware of those challenges and willing to learn, you’re more likely to maintain success. The first time I became a C.E.O., I was overwhelmed by the responsibility. Everyone is looking at you. They’re relying on you. It’s a privilege not to be taken lightly. Hold on to a healthy amount of fear. You’ll look out for yourself and those around you better.

3. Be humble, or get humbled.

This one I have to credit to my wife. She keeps me humble every day, and it’s a key to success.

4. Your biggest nemesis is often yourself; get out of your own way.

It’s easy to get in your own way. I’ve done it throughout my career. I’m proud to admit it, because I walked away with some very valuable lessons. I didn’t repeat those same mistakes.

5. Shut up and listen more.

If you’re talking, you’re not listening. I rely on the wisdom of those around me and many mentors I’ve been blessed to call friends over the years. That will never change.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Capture the moments you live in, and live in the moments you capture. Our family and friends deserve our attention, our connection, and our love.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“If you never give up, you WILL succeed” — Chris Cyprus.

When I moved to America in 2005 with $400 and no college degree, my wife asked me what I would do to contribute to our combined success. I told her I would do whatever it takes. I actually joked that I would proudly clean toilets and, within three years, I would own the largest toilet cleaning business in America (but fully meant it, if that’s what I needed to do!). I am a highly optimistic realist who has learned more from the things I have done wrong than from the things that went right. I think we can all relate to that regardless of our own personal stories.

Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Thanks for taking the time to get to know us! With all the support we’ve received to date, we hope to pay it forward to current and future investors with our own fund someday

How can our readers follow you on social media?

@opkixCEO for myself, and @OPKIX for the brand.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

Thank you for the opportunity!

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