We are currently developing a new and unique type of CCTV camera. CCTV cameras are widely used already, of course - but ALL standard models need external power, and signal wiring, so they are restricted largely to urban areas.
Our camera design is VERY different; it will be equipped with on-board Solar Power, and its own on-board Cellular (mobile) internet connection, through which it will push images into the cloud. Like no other camera, it would be totally independent of power sources.
Quite literally, it would need no wiring; provided there is some mobile signal, it could be mounted ANYWHERE - in just minutes - and the images from it be visible, from anywhere on earth, moments later. We believe it would be enormously useful to a very wide range of users, for example using this camera, large-scale perimeter and border security installations could be built, where none were previously viable.
We plan to grow the business rapidly over 3-4 years, by which time it should be attractive to larger companies for acquisition.
Our impact comes by allowing cameras for the very first time to protect people and assets where no mains power is available. We feel this product would be a major benefit to all sorts of security, health & safety, and asset-protection applications.
We find that a huge range of sectors are normally unable to make any use of CCTV. Just think, of all the locations you can call to mind, where a CCTV camera could be useful to improve public safety, or crime deterrence, or asset protection but cannot be used, just because there is no power. Just as one example, this is true of all sorts of simple "outdoor terrain" spaces - think riversides, canalsides, parks, estates, nature reserves, coastal areas, beaches, wetlands, farmland, car parks and so on.
Another example, very well known to all local authorities, is the "void property" - that term meaning an unoccupied property typically with all mains services turned off, but which is the responsibility of someone to look after. This applies to flats, depots, office buildings and so on - which we find are very difficult to adequately secure from burglary and vandalism.
The application range goes on; we have an interested party looking to use it in the grounds of nursing homes. Another is looking at using it for perimeter (fence-line) surveillance in game parks in Kenya. Other areas that may be applicable would be long-run border/perimeter applications overseas, Mexico/US, for example. It is clear to us that many users would find they can make use of these cameras immediately, having had no such solution before. More such examples can be found in the marketing section below.
We believe we are in the lead by being the first company to seek to compact the technology into a small, self-contained, easy-to-install camera.
Substantial accomplishments to date
We have approximately 20 years experience building video & CCTV businesses, and a successful equity exit already.
Mike Holt has been an electronics product developer for over 20 years, working in Defence, Studio TV, ATE and CCTV. He has founded two manufacturing businesses before, one in 1994 making CCTV products & another (with Paul) in 1997, designing IP-networked CCTV systems.
Paul has also been in electronics for over 20 years holding senior roles at HP before joining the CCTV sector. From 2004 to 2011 he ran Vysionics a major UK speed-camera business, growing tunover four-fold and as part of his role as Chief Executive successfully secured £9 million of development funding.
In Specialised Cameras we have key electronics and software components and prototypes are in construction now. First production is aimed for 3-4 months after funding, first sales within 6 months.
The business would make money quite simply by making & selling the cameras. The founders have 20+ years experience as a manufacturer of industrial electronic products like this and also of marketing & selling them in the UK and overseas.
The cost pricing and (for the moment) the retail & trade pricing is sensitive commercially, so for competitive reasons we prefer not to state these publicly here at this stage - but we would happily share those details by email, with any prospective investor who would like to send us a query.
What we can say here, is that we feel margins are very sound - a large part of the development focus has been to achieve a low cost-of-build. We aim for the gross margin from "list" price to be in the order of 60-65%. This is important to give us room to offer distributors a decent sales margin of their own.
Marketing and Sales of the product initially would be direct to end-users in the UK, to build a pool of "early adopters"; but as volumes grow, sales would move progressively to being via distributors (who tend not to be interested to stock new products, until they see an active market for them).
Once under way in the UK, we would begin overseas marketing, initially through trade shows & seek to strike in-country distributor relationships at the same time. Initial overseas markets would be the USA, South Africa & Australasia, and later Europe. South Africa could be a very good market for the product, as could the USA.
We do have a fully-detailed business plan, with four-year projections, explaining more about marketing, competition & the product.
Use of proceeds
We are seeking to raise capital in two stages:
A) A first round of seed funding now.
B) A second round of funding once sales are under way, to finance the push into overseas marketing.
The first-round funds would allow the business to complete the prototype development, and also to get through the production engineering process, on to creating the first 'pre-production' units. About half this work is the mechanical engineering of the pre-production enclosure work. This would entail some custom mouldings (vacuum-formed), sheet metal detailing and fittings. The other half of the work would be more of what is already going on - electronic hardware detailing (printed circuit boards etc) & the continuing development of the on-board embedded software.
The second round finance, planned for next year, would accelerate growth by financing more aggressive marketing overseas e.g. US trade shows - plus support for a full-time salesman in the UK.
We believe that there are a huge range of sectors, which could make immediate use of the camera. These are just some of them:
Wildlife & Wetlands Trust
Zoos + Safari Parks
Fish Farm operators
Farmers (farm thefts)
Local Authorities, Police, Military
Pool of London Authority
British Waterways Board
Facilities Management companies
Quarrying & Extraction
Stables & Liveries
Water companies (reservoirs)
Electricity companies (substations)
National Rail (level crossings etc)
Boat-owners - boats not in marinas
Holiday home owners (power off)
'Void' (empty) properties
...and many, many more.
Characteristics of target market
We would focus on five main sectors initially:
1) Outdoor Terrain, Nature reserves/Wetlands, National parks, Estates, Forestry, Rivers/Canals, Coastal etc. Many we feel, have security and/or public safety concerns.
2) Farms. Of 300,000 farms in the UK, more than 41,000 are large - over 250 acres. £40M of assets are stolen from UK farms every year.
3) Boats. Many boats are not in marinas, & suffer thefts – radios, navigation electronics, etc.
4) Police, Local Govt "Void" properties are a headache for many local authorities. Also "Fly-tipping"- illegal dumping of waste. Cameras could provide arrest-quality images.
5) Utilities (Electricity/Water/Gas) For Electricity companies, substations can be a problem - being unattended, full of high-value plant and a target for copper theft. For the Water industry, reservoirs & pumping stations could be a safety concern.
All these markets exist in many countries, not just the UK, we therefore think the camera offers Global sales opportunities.
The founders have run CCTV businesses before & have marketed & sold to most of the markets noted below.
The Target Markets section above describes the five sectors for our initial focus. Below are details of how we aim to reach each one:
1) Outdoor Terrain: Nature reserves/Wetlands, National parks, Estates, Forestry, Rivers/Canals, Coastal etc. There are several organisations which are obvious choices to market directly to: RSPB, Wildlife & Wetlands Trust, National Trust, English Nature, UK Forestry Commission Thames Conservancy, Port of London Authority (Tidal River Thames), British Waterways Board (canals authority) and HM Coastguard.
2) Farms: To market to farmers, we would use two routes:
(a) Through NFU (National Farmers Union) local meetings, and
(b) through Police "Farmwatch" schemes. 'Farmwatch' are 'neighbourhood-watch-like' schemes than many UK police forces have put in place to try to keep track of Farm theft.
3) Boats on swinging moorings: Presentations to sailing clubs around Britain; 'Banner' advertising on 'boating' portals such as ybw, exhibiting at boat shows, promoting via Chandlers (as distributors)
4) Police & Local Govt Local authorities are major users of CCTV already. We could directly market to them re "void" properties initially. Police could use these cameras at many potential trouble spots. We would promote via crime prevention teams.
5) Utilities (Electricity/Water/Gas) The total number of companies being small, we can direct-market to them, inviting them to trial equipment.
At present, we believe there is no direct competitor for this product. There are some "system level" solar-powered-camera offerings, built one at a time for specific applications. Typically these are large physical rigs, comprising one or more coffee-table-sized solar panels plus a large heavy battery pack, plus a pole mounting and sometimes a vehicle trailer, plus a conventional camera connected to it all. Bespoke systems like this cost typically £3,000 to £10,000 per system and require professional installation. Some examples are below.
Webcamera Systems Austrailia - $8,448
RapidCam UK - £9,650
2M CCTV USA - $4,000+
By comparison, our product would be compact enough to hold in one hand; packed in cartons, approximately three or four would fit in a conventional car boot and roughly 40 or 50 in a small van. Our camera would not require specialist installation - it would be readily installable by the purchaser – mountings are included with the product.
We could of course expect some competition to arise during the life of the product, there is no magical way to stop this. We believe that our best approach is simply to push ahead as rapidly as we can, continually improving, innovating and developing new versions of the camera so that we stay in the lead.
We feel we have the necessary technical ability and we have first-mover advantage. Ideally, we would be able to strike "badging" or licencing relationships with larger companies who want the product, and so avoid battles with larger companies - rather, we make them our allies.