OptoVision: The World Through a German Lens
We are so preoccupied with the digital world today, trying to catch up to a new show or series, buying things online, searching, and sitting countless hours before a screen that we forget how this affects our health, especially our eyes. So the salvation we seek lies in glasses or, even better, lenses.
Günter Agotz and Jürgen Braun - two bright minds - were the first to notice that the medical sector was surprisingly lacking in ophthalmology. So they embarked on a journey to improve it.
Their idea was to focus on lens manufacturing to offer the best possible tools to their fellow Germans and later improve the optical instruments that test visual impairment levels. This is how OptoVision was born!
However, Gunter and Jurgen’s road to success wasn’t as straightforward as it sounds. Keep reading to see their story and the obstacles they had to overcome.
The Entrepreneurial Beginnings
Günter Agotz and Jürgen Braun were born and raised in Germany. As children, they both were curious, thirsty for knowledge, and engaged in countless activities. But, one important characteristic that led them to where they are today is that both Günter and Jürgen were strong believers in their native German capabilities.
At the time, Germany was rising in its development step by step. Technology was booming and slowly entering every field. This is what drew Günter and Jürgen to dream of something more and far advanced than what was currently on the market.
Ever since their childhood, there was no doubt that they would enter the entrepreneurial waters. However, they were still urged to attend college and get a degree.
And yet, even throughout their education, they couldn’t stop longing for new and better things. Particularly, they were set on solving one specific problem – to help the visually impaired people.
However, passion wasn’t enough - they also had to work hard. Times were different back then, with no Internet or access to various libraries, so graduation on time for Günter and Jürgen meant that the world was their oyster.
Günter and Jürgen wanted to help people, but they didn’t know how to approach them directly. So they came up with a better idea - help the ones that were helping those in need.
That is why when these two bright minds joined their forces; they came up with one mission: to start a valuable company that would help independent opticians deliver the best products and high-quality service to the visually impaired.
Their plan was to focus on lens manufacturing to produce the best products for opticians to elevate medical expertise in Germany. Of course, they needed technology to optimize the products, but IT experts and engineers were only a few then.
And this was only the tip of the iceberg of challenges.
Apart from creating the business plan and ideation process, Günter and Jürgen had another significant problem – a lack of funds to start their company and manufacturing.
It is natural for a new startup to face funding issues, but what makes OptoVision’s story different is that Günter and Jürgen had to go through this process during a much more difficult time. Pitching to investors can seem an easy task today, but this was the biggest challenge for Günter and Jürgen.
Why? Simple. In the early 70s, investors weren’t as keen on investing in lens technology as they are today. They had to give double the effort to show them that this was a profitable and helpful idea.
Sadly, there was no one brave enough to take a risk with them. So, without investors, they had one option: quit the plan, or bootstrap their company. As quitting was off the table, they opted for the even more difficult road – self-funding.
After some time, luck finally smiled their way, and Günter and Jürgen got the opportunity to borrow money from a farm and invest it into their idea. This was when their fate turned for the better, and both bright innovators finally embarked on a journey to pursue their dream.
Langen’s Pride on OptoVision
Back in 1979, Langen got its first German vision factory that improved the lives of sight-impaired people with the best quality lenses.
They had a humble beginning, just like any other fresh company, but through persistence and dedication, Günter and Jürgen managed to stand out in the industry and promote their product as the best.
In its early days, the company faced unavoidable beginner issues but still managed to hold its ground by creating healthy working ethics and productive discipline to deliver the best results.
Peak of Success
Günter and Jürgen's greatest success was from the last quarter of 2016 and the beginning of the first quarter of 2017. However, that is not where it ended, as OptoVision is still on its path to growth.
In 2017 OptoVision managed to triple its sales, selling over 3.5 million lenses around the world. In other words, that is 12% more than 2016, and concluding the year, it remains the most profitable year in its existence. What’s more, OptoVision has sold 32% more lenses in overseas markets.
The Tools and Instruments department expanded significantly as well. After noticing the massive adoption of their product on the market, the chief executives claimed they would dedicate more time and effort to producing more and focusing on quality, high-end technology.
Undoubtedly, their highest sales come from the German market, despite the fact that their business is spread in 12 international markets, including the US.
Expanding the Idea
When technology began to develop in ultra mode, Günter and Jürgen saw it as an opportunity to push their mission further.
As a result, they introduced 'Visioner VR' and 'Retina Care' – virtual reality glasses with embedded software for early detection of typical eye diseases. By mixing the latest trend in technology, OptoVision provided the most accurate product on the market to detect early eye problems.
The German opticians take pride in their fellow Günter and Jürgen, who tirelessly focus on improving the optician field in the country.
Günter and Jürgen's focus, determination, and diligence in the entrepreneurship and scientific field show that it is only a starter pack.
Through constant persistence for nearly 42 years, OptoVision got voted for the best lens manufacturer three times in a row in 2016, 2018, and 2020/21.
Despite the highly saturated market, OptoVision executives are not seeing this as a triumph but as feedback from the customers and fuel to continue doing more. The “Best Lens Manufacturer” was a ray after a rainy year.
From the borrowed farm money, nowadays, OptoVision holds $7 million in funding. With headquarters in Langen, Hessen, Germany, OptoVision managed to grow into a giant with over 400 employees under its wings.
The 40+ years under Günter and Jürgen's belts show how much these two innovators are dedicated to their cause and fulfilling their aims. Today, they provide services from lens types to various features and customizations like color, protected coating, self-tinting lenses, etc.
Günter and Jürgen have created a company that truly cares for their customers, providing care tips and checkups to their customers.
It currently operates in 12 international markets and still works hard to keep the significance and power that stand behind the phrase “Made in Germany”. With this, Günter and Jürgen want to show that OptoVision will continue striving to provide high-quality lenses made with state-of-the-art technology while keeping ecological, social, and economic sustainability in mind.