Opal Continues To Prioritize Hardware Development Two Years After Launching C1 Webcam


December 14th marks the two-year anniversary of Opal’s launch of the C1 webcam, which garnered a significant amount of attention with a waitlist of 16,000 people. The timing of the launch couldn’t have been better, as it coincided with the global pandemic that has drastically changed our work dynamics. While our relationship with work has evolved over the past few years, webcams have fallen short of meeting the demands.

Key Takeaway

Opal has invested heavily in their hardware development, recognizing the importance of delivering high-quality webcams in an evolving work environment.

A Successful Launch with Room for Improvement

Prior to its launch, the C1 received positive feedback for its hardware design and picture quality. Many reviewers even considered it as a low-cost alternative to DSLR webcams. However, there were several software-related shortcomings that needed to be addressed. Opal took note of these key issues and promised to fix them.

According to co-founder Stefan Sohlstrom, the initial team consisted of only four people, making it a challenge to tackle the complex software aspects. They had to rewrite a significant amount of code, as well as develop a new app called Composer. This enabled them to enhance the stability of the machine learning and computer vision components of the camera.

Opal raised their seed round of funding in November 2020 and launched sales of their first product 13 months later. With a small team and the inevitable bugs that come with a new product, they faced challenges in managing customer feedback. Sohlstrom admits that they struggled to keep up with customer inquiries and concerns due to their limited resources.

However, Opal has learned from their early experiences and has since expanded their team to 16 full-time employees. While this may still seem small compared to their competitors, the company now feels more equipped to handle customer feedback and meet expectations.

Continued Growth and Future Plans

Opal’s primary focus in terms of hiring is on engineers. They recently announced a $17 million Series A funding round led by Founders Fund, with notable influencers such as Marques Brownlee and Casey Neistat also participating. This funding will enable Opal to not only strengthen their existing product, but also invest in research and development for future devices.

However, Opal remains tight-lipped about specific details regarding their upcoming products. The company’s founders have succeeded in navigating supply chain challenges and are actively exploring opportunities for expansion beyond webcams. The team is determined to push the boundaries of what Opal can achieve in the hardware space.

Despite their growth, Opal aims to maintain a relatively lean team size. They recently opened an office in San Francisco, their first since launching during the peak of the pandemic. While remote work is allowed, the company encourages employees to come into the office due to the nature of hardware development, which requires in-person collaboration and prototyping.

While Opal acknowledges that there is still work to be done to make the C1 the best webcam on the market, they are dedicated to continuous improvement. They are aware of the areas where they excel, such as image quality comparable to DSLRs, but they are committed to addressing any remaining hardware and firmware constraints.

In conclusion, Opal’s ongoing commitment to hardware development has ensured that they deliver innovative webcams that meet the evolving needs of a changing work landscape. With a focus on hiring engineers and securing funding, Opal is poised to make significant strides in the webcam industry and beyond.

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