MOVE ‘N SEE, The French Startup Selling Auto-Follow Cameras In 70 Countries
French company MOVE ‘N SEE has designed robot cameraman models and auto-follow cameras that are finding success outside of France, and particularly in the U.S., as its CEO and founder Eric Willemenot explains.
Eric Willemenot has always been passionate about two things: filming with cameras and sports. “I recently rediscovered my old VHS camera from the 80s — it’s huge! It’s incredible to see the evolution of cameras: at the beginning of the 2000s, their prices and sizes have decreased dramatically, while the image quality has improved so much,” Willemenot notes.
In 2011, the engineer, who previously worked in the space sector and specialized in instrumentation, decided to combine his two hobbies with his professional knowledge to found MOVE ‘N SEE, a startup that designed a unique product for its time: auto-follow cameras. “In many circumstances, you need someone to hold the camera, orient it, zoom in and out, start and stop recording, etc. But sometimes you’re on your own and hiring a professional can cost up to 800 euros for one day,” says the CEO of the company, based in Brittany, western France. “There was no solution on the market to deal with these issues.”
Popular among American pastors and horse riders
Four years later, MOVE ‘N SEE launched PIXIO, a robot cameraman that, once mounted on a tripod and equipped with a camera, can film a moving target with a 360-degree radius, and is fitted with a fully automatic zoom and live streaming capability. A watch that the user has to wear on the wrist, arm or in his pocket helps the camera track his movements and allows him to start and stop recording. Its equivalent, PIXEM, offers the same options but for a smartphone or tablet. Both devices cost 700 euros. “It was essential for us to offer products with a competitive price and that are very easy to use. No particular technical skills are required,” Willemenot notes.
The products, which were presented at the CES in Las Vegas in 2015, found instant success, particularly in individual sports and stage performances. “Our devices are successful among pastors in the U.S. They are currently being used in around 1,000 churches across the country, enabling them to live stream their services, which are a real show!,” the company’s founder says. The robot cameraman options are also popular in horse riding, from amateurs to professionals, and even became the official training support device of The United States Equestrian Federation. The devices are useful for remote coaching as well. “The student films himself and the video is live streamed to a coach who can be anywhere in the world and talk to him through an earpiece,” Willemenot explains.
An AI-based camera for team sports
The company, which employs around 20 people, aims at going further with new products and digital services that already include MOVE ‘N COACH, a contact platform for coaches and students in horse riding, and a video platform called MOVE ‘N TUBE.
MOVE ‘N SEE recently started selling PIX4TEAM, an auto-follow camera dedicated to team sports. No need for users to wear a physical radio tag, the device uses artificial intelligence to follow the action. For the company’s CEO: “This is an affordable and high-quality solution for professional and amateur teams which want to live stream their games but don’t have the funds to pay for filming services. In France for instance there are about 15,000 soccer clubs, so the potential market is huge when you look at other levels beside the big leagues.”
The French startup has also launched a new digital product: PIXLIVE, a free smartphone app to allow users to record and live stream a game, featuring a scoreboard, a timer and the possibility to replay highlights and share them on social media.
94% of international sales
While sales in France are steadily rising, 94% of the company’s sales were international in 2021, with the U.S. as the biggest market, representing between 40% and 50%. MOVE ‘N SEE ships its products in 70 different countries, with the vast majority of sales in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, in Northern Europe and North America. “It was our goal from the beginning to target an international audience. Our products were unique at the time so we had to develop a market and find customers quickly. We were lucky to find American partners to shine a light on our startup,” Willemenot explains.
The success was also achieved thanks to web marketing, which MOVE ‘N SEE relies on, instead of employing a sales representative. And while the company has a few resellers, the majority of its sales occur via its website. “Working without a commercial sales network allows us to maintain competitive prices,” the CEO notes.
While the startup’s current focus is on expanding the markets for its recently launched products, it is already thinking about new devices to design, such as fixed automatic cameras for sports halls. “Shooting videos has democratized to the point that everybody now has a camera in his pocket,” Willemenot concludes. “Tools and uses have evolved rapidly and will continue to.”