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Lifeproof cases turn an iPhone into an underwater camera

Published: Friday, Jan. 20 2012 8:59 a.m. MST

Gary Rayner, CEO of Lifeproof, and Angel King, the company's event director, show off an iPhone its waterproof case at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake.

Joey Ferguson, Deseret News

San Diego-based Lifeproof Cases Inc. demonstrated the protective abilities of its iPhone protectors at the 2012 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City.

The protectors, which are sold by major retailers like Best Buy, guard the smartphone from drops, scratches, water and extreme cold.

Gary Rayner, chief executive officer of Lifeproof, dropped an iPhone from six feet and then dipped it into a fishbowl full of water during a demonstration.

The phone was still fully functional.

Lifeproof’s product disrupts other markets because the case transforms the iPhone into things like an underwater camera and a portable GPS, Rayner said.

The company is now looking to expand its product beyond electronics retailers and into the outdoor market.

“We are here to essentially get good placement with the outdoor market where this has the most applicability,” Rayner said. “We think it just makes a lot of sense to be a place where people are making an emotional connection with their lifestyles with the stores they go to.”

Before starting Lifeproof, Rayner worked in developing black-box recording devices. After his kids broke multiple iPhones, he decided to use his expertise in developing iPhone protection.

The company, which has about 40 employees that are mostly engineers or customer service representatives, spent $2 million in research and development, which was mostly bankrolled by Rayner. Additional funding came from undisclosed angel investors.

“We’ve had very good support from our angels, and they continue to be dedicated,” Rayner said. “They are stepping up with further rounds to a large degree.”

The company is in a series b investment round.

EMAIL: jferguson@desnews.com

TWITTER: @joeyferguson

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