Jewelry With a Purpose – To Keep You Feeling Safe
In our series ‘Innovations Made in Berlin’, we present startups making a difference in their fields. Today, IoT jewelry from Laemon.
The female founders team of IoT startup Laemon is creating beautiful objects with hi-tech. The idea of these wearables with a difference was born of a personal need – to feel that one’s teenage kids are safe as they explore the world.
Susana Gomez from Laemon explains how her startup is making a stand against violence.
Susana, this series is called “Innovations made in Berlin”. What is your innovation? When did it originate, and where? Can you describe the place, and who was involved?
We developed the first IoT-enabled jewelry bracelet on the market, which includes loud and silent alarm functions for personal safety. I had the idea for it in 2019 on my 40th birthday. I thought about how my two daughters – 5 and 7 years old - will feel once they hit puberty and explore the world by themselves. My wish is for them to feel safe and independent and to be able to protect themselves – without me having to monitor them.
That’s when I started looking for co-founders to bring my vision to life. There are four of us co-founders now. Daria Stepanova oversees the technical hardware development, Olya Plisko is responsible for the software development of our app, Vanessa Rexin is taking care of business development and financing, and I’m in charge of design, marketing, and sales.
What do you sell and why should someone buy it?
Our smart jewelry bracelet allows users to trigger either a very loud or silent alarm in an emergency. Users can activate the alarm quickly and intuitively with just one finger. At the same time, our app will inform family, friends, and/or a 24/7 staffed emergency service center about the user’s location.
Our vision is to provide a sense of freedom, independence, and safety using reliable technology applied to fashion accessories. We want to empower people to always feel free and safe. By wearing our bracelet, the wearer makes a visible stand against violence, and looks good at the same time.
How did you find funding for LAEMON?
We met our first investor during the program of a Berlin Startup Scholarship called “Deep Tech Stipendium”, where she was one of our mentors and had the time to get to know us as a team and experience how we worked on our mission. Besides this scholarship, we also got accepted to the EXIST scholarship. Together with this and our first angel investment, we secured our pre-seed funding. Right now, we are setting up our upcoming seed round where we are looking for early-stage VCs who aim to invest in a rare and talented all-female tech team including an impact case with a high return on investment.
“Berlin is the place to be for young entrepreneurs if they want to be seen and recognized internationally.”
What advice that you got at an early stage helped you the most while starting and growing your business in Berlin?
Someone told me to tell everyone about my idea. That was a game-changer. The more you tell friends and especially strangers about your idea, the more it will feel concrete and binding to you. The feedback will be extremely varied and will surely surprise and inspire you many times. And by the way, you'll meet people who want to support you in your endeavor.
How did you manage to establish contacts with potential clients?
Thankfully, we have a big network that we can rely on, especially when it comes to PR and social media influencers. As so many people relate to personal safety in general and the feeling of not feeling safe on the streets , they were intrinsically motivated to share our mission to make a strong stand against violence.
What do you want to achieve in the next six months?
Get the certification for our first product done and ship the first batch to our customers to collect comprehensive feedback. Secure our follow-up funding and find a strong B2B partner to run a common pilot project for merging tech and jewelry or to implement our IoT knowledge into corporate structures.
How do you find the right people to work with?
We find them thanks to the help of our network and through classic job offers that we share with certain groups or specific organizations such as universities. LinkedIn is also a great place to search for talent.
What is the biggest challenge for LAEMON right now?
To complete production and certification for our first products and pre-finance the purchase of electrical components, which needs to be done early due to global shortages.
What is your reason why Berlin is the place to be?
Berlin is the place to be for young entrepreneurs if they want to be seen and recognized internationally. Especially when you are just getting started, Berlin offers a huge network of aspiring entrepreneurs and a public support structure that is unmatched, in my opinion.
“Founding a startup has been the ultimate lesson in my life.”
What have you personally learned so far on this journey?
My biggest learning was: Don't be afraid to fail! I can hardly put into words how much I have learned since the beginning of 2019. No one can take that away from me. I already have less to lose than I have gained. Founding a startup has been the ultimate lesson in my life. It also helps to remind yourself that nobody’s perfect. You must get rid of your expectation to be perfect. There will be so many new things that you will have to learn from scratch. And for all the topics that you can't grasp at all, there will be people in your network who will help you.
Thank you, Susana, and good luck to Laemon!
In the next few months we will be showcasing more Innovations Made in Berlin.
Interview: Olaf Bryan Wielk, ideenmanufaktur
Header image: © Laemon