New heights for Moment, as mobile photo startup launches Kickstarter for drone lens and more

Seattle-based Moment, makers of hardware, software and more designed to take mobile photography to new heights, is setting its sights even higher with the introduction of Moment Air — lenses, filters and cases for use with drones.

The nearly 6-year-old startup announced the launch Tuesday of its fifth Kickstarter campaign, centered around a drone anamorphic lens made to attach to a DJI Mavic 2 Pro or Zoom. The intention is to make video shot via drone more cinematic through the use of lens technology that was first introduced by the company in a 2018 Kickstarter campaign that raised $1.5 million.

The crowdfunding goal is $100,000 this time around.

“We’re hoping this campaign is even larger and inspires everyone with a DJI Mavic to start flying more,” Moment CEO Marc Barros told GeekWire. “Whether an amateur or pro, this gear gives you a high-end cinematic look for just a few hundred dollars.”

Moment’s anamorphic drone lens shown locked into place in flight. (Moment Photo)

The lens, made with aerospace grade composites and metals, was designed to be especially lightweight. The Kickstarter price is $200.

Moment is also offering up Airlight Drone Filters in a flashy red color for $99. The neutral density (ND) filter gives footage a slight cinematic blur and the circular polarizer/linear (CPL) filter helps change the light angle bouncing off bright surfaces.

Lens filters enhance the cinematic quality of video footage. (Moment Photo)

A new iPhone case is also part of the campaign. Compatible with iPhone Xr, Xs, and Xs Max, the $25 case is 0.75mm thick and designed to fit easily with a drone controller — or a gimbal or tripod.

Moment has evolved far beyond just a lens and case company. A year ago the company released the Pro Camera app to bring more DSLR-style controls to mobile photography. As a result, Barros said Moment is seeing success with both hardware and software as the paid camera app is a top 10 paid photo/video app and a top 50 paid app in the App Store.

The newest Moment iPhone case is suited for use with a drone controller. (Moment Photo)

The company, which also got into gear bags this year, has expanded its ShopMoment website into an online retailer, carrying about 20 different brands. And Moment Travel, which offers guided adventures for photographers, has “done really well” in the first year, according to Barros, and will be expanding to destination workshops and online learning content later this summer.

“I’ve never seen consumer as hardware or software,” Barros said. “Unfortunately that’s often how the investor world sees it as being binary to a hardware or software company. I just see it has having customers, understanding their needs, and building them products and services. Some of those offerings are physical products, some are software, and some are experiences.”

The company now employs more than 40 people, with 18 at a home base in Seattle and the rest working remotely. Barros said Moment is profitable and revenue is now bigger than where he got with Contour, the action sports camera company he founded, which he said peaked in 2012 at $25 million before losing out to GoPro.

“Early on you can’t really predict a consumer market. My belief is you focus on a niche product to start, learn from your customers, and then build from there,” Barros said. “What has changed from our Contour days is you can build a direct to consumer business which allows you to have closer relationships and therefore a more financially sustainable business. It allows you to go wider with more offerings versus having to mass produce the company on a single hit product.”