Artisan & Ocean is a Korean startup that develops accessories for scuba diving. Their top product is DIVEROID, which allows users to turn their smartphone into an affordable all-in-one underwater diving camera. It boasts four major functions: a dive computer, underwater camera, compass, and a logbook. DIVEROID was created for scuba divers to safely wander underwater with everything they need in one device.

Story Behind the Underwater Diving Camera DIVEROID

Jungil Kim, the CEO of Artisan & Ocean was just 22 when he founded his first startup, a merchandising company that transferred Korean entertainment products to other East Asian countries. The market for Korean cultural products was increasing and Kim saw a business opportunity in Thailand. Even though the company was successful, he was losing his drive.

“The point is, I wasn’t interested in entertainment. A lot of people brought our products but after six months, I felt tired.”

He shut down the company and a couple of months later, he found his real passion: creating an innovative product or service and scuba diving.diveroidjungil

During the summer of 2012 on Jeju Island, Jungil witnessed a scuba diver pass away from decompression sickness because of the lack of a dive computer. Because diving deeper into water causes many changes in the body, divers need to monitor their activity. Diving computers that record a diver’s depth and let them know when it’s time to make a decompression stop are expensive so many divers risk their safety simply because they can’t afford these diving computers. Dive computers can go for around $1,000. Prices can be higher depending on the features it has while DIVEROID costs as low as $213.

Startup Journey

When Jungil was a freshman at his university, he came up with the idea for a dive computer that attaches to a smartphone to safely guide divers as they ascend deeper into the waters.

“Dive computers are really expensive and it was difficult for divers to get. I thought that I could make it in a cheaper way and distribute those functions to divers. Most people these days have smartphones. Because smartphones are basically computers, I had the idea that they could replace a dive computer.”

In 2013, a 23-year-old Jungil applied for and received a grant from the Korean government to officially start DIVEROID as a startup company.

“What I learned from my first start-up was that if I have something I want to do, I shouldn’t take any detours even if it’s difficult. Even if I take the easy way now, there will be mountains in front of me in the future that I can’t expect.”

With that mindset, Jungil Kim left university to produce and market DIVEROID full-time.

Key Features of DIVEROID

Underwater Diving CameraDrivers need diving computers as well as underwater cameras. However, buying both of these devices can get very expensive. DIVEROID offers both functions because it can turn any smartphone into an all-in-one dive computer/camera.

Dive Computer 

The dive computer graphs the user’s diving. It also allows divers to see their temperature, depth measurements, the remaining time in the dive, battery life, oxygen toxicity, and nitrox levels. This is possible because DIVEROID has a built-in temperature sensor as well as a pressure sensor. If any safety regulations are broken during the dive, DIVEROID will vibrate and send a notification that will alert the diver.

Underwater Camera/Video

DIVEROID includes a high-quality underwater specialized camera. It offers 4 camera modes: Ultra-wide angle, wide-angle, zoom, and selfie. These features will only work for some supported smartphones. In addition, it offers a 4K video mode for photorealistic videos. Divers can use the real-time software-based red filter feature to optimize the color in any environment.

Photo-synced Logbook

DIVEROIDIt can automatically sync up with your underwater photos/videos with the Logbook. Drivers can access the logbook through the DIVEROID app where they can not only access their pictures and videos but also get depth information. Therefore divers will have data on their diving records. The content can be shared on their social media.

Waterproof

DIVEROID has been tested to ensure no water enters the case by going through a strict water pressure chamber test. The case has a double O-ring built in the housing with a 200-foot depth waterproof functionality. In addition, there is a heat sink system that prevents fogging inside the case by releasing the heat.

Gorilla Glass & Poly Carbonate Case 

The DIVEROID is made with only the top tier materials like Gorilla Glass to ensure strength and scratch resistance. The case is made of Polycarbonate with Glass fiber for high strength and durability.

Boat Calling Function

If you ever need a boat to pick you up. The DIVEROID lets divers call about using the app. A text message will be sent with their exact location using Google Maps data.

Compass 

It also offers a compass for underwater navigation.

Underwater Diving CamerasPraised by Divers from Around the World

From a business perspective, Jungil is very aware of the niche market that DIVEROID appeals to. In Korea, there are around 300,000 scuba divers. That number goes up every year. Since DIVEROID’s launch back in 2015, it’s user base has been steadily increasing. The sale of the device is available online via WADIZ and Kickstarter, as well as through dealers at scuba diving sites. Again, DIVEROID is on the market for $213, far below the general price of dive computers.

Even though there is a more defined consumer market, Jungil is very confident in DIVEROID’s potential.

“I think the smaller market makes it easier to understand the user. Like understanding what the user wants and what’s important to them. For example, we can come up with the idea that scuba divers are adventurous, they love to travel, and not afraid to try things. We are able to understand our users more than companies who have bigger markets. Penetrating a target is far more important than the size of the target. Targets can be changed at any time.”

The DIVEROID team goes on company scuba diving trips to strengthen teamwork and test out DIVEROID. The startup has adopted a more westernized way of developing a company culture to inspire innovation and creativity.

The Future of DIVEROID

When Jungil talks about his hopes for the future of DIVEROID, one unavoidable topic is expansion. While DIVEROID mainly focused on the Korean market, they are looking to go global. 50% of scuba divers in the world reside in the United States. Florida and California have a large and growing scuba diving population and Diveroid plans to expand to those markets in the upcoming years. Furthermore, DIVEROID plans on expanding to other underwater markets.

After sitting down with Jungil Kim and learning the story of DIVEROID and the innovative technology that it provides to its users, I have no doubt that DIVEROID will make an impressive splash in the American scuba diving market very soon.