WHAT: Dot is a small 360-degree video camera that clicks onto the iPhone 4. Free app will allow easy uploading to Dot website and sharing. Expected retail price is $79. Patents are pending.
Dot is the second product from Kogeto. The first was a panoramic camera that resembles an overhead projector. Named Lucy, it is meant for educational use and costs about $3K.
Kogeto plans to make Dot for the iPod Touch and Android devices (iPad’s camera not good enough -- yet).
LAUNCHERS: CEO Jeff Glasse founded a museum and documentary film company that he sold to Teachscape -- tech-driven, online education for teachers. Co-founder David Sosnow worked with Jeff at Teachscape and helped design Lucy.
WHY: Lucy is a niche product. The iPhone 4 has a high-resolution camera, and millions of people own iPhones. People often spend time at an event trying to capture it -- Dot allows them to hit record and put the camera down. Take video of parties, car rides, concerts and games, or use for security. Jeff says, “Our users will show us how they want to use it.”
WHEN/WHERE: Beta this summer. On sale and Dot website launch in September / New York City. [ Dot’s manufacturer is in Rochester, New York -- Jeff is “happy to make stuff in the U.S.” ]
BACKSTORY: For a Gates Foundation project, Teachscape needed to capture thousands of hours of classroom video in just a few months. With a Google Street View camera, which cost $100K, it took a week to get one hour of video. Jeff knew he needed a simpler solution. On a rare trip to a supermarket, he noticed a curved security mirror. He figured if he shot with that and used 3D, he could get a pretty normal looking image in 360. He left Teachscape to found Kogeto and produce Lucy. Teachscape purchased Lucies for the Gates project.
BUSINESS MODEL: Beyond selling hardware -- most likely at the Apple store and Best Buy -- Jeff says Kogeto is “building an ecosystem for panoramic video.” That means a freemium model for storing Dot videos and live streaming from Dot. He thinks Kogeto could also charge for “Dot to Dot services” in which video from multiple Dots at one event could be stitched together to make a 3D model.
COMPETITION: Traditional video cameras and devices like the iSee 360, which turns old iPods into video recorders/players. Jeff says Dot will compete with any iPhone accessory, notably iHome products.
CUSTOMERS/GROWTH: Over 1,100 pre-sold through their Kickstarter project, which ended last week. That number includes 170 beta testers, who paid $196 for the privilege. Jeff expects to sell 100K to 200K Dots in the first two to three months.
Kogeto is also getting celebs on board: A popular daytime talk-show host (not Oprah) plans to use Dot, as does Anthony Bourdain for his show, “No Reservations.”
PHILOSOPHY: The company name is a play on “cogito ergo sum,” Latin for “I think therefore I am” (credit Descartes). Jeff says the company celebrates bright people doing smart things. “We live on white boards here,” he notes.
ON APPLE: “As much as we love Apple, one thing we don’t love is their obsessive secrecy. I understand it’s good for their business, but it makes it hard to be a partner,” Jeff says, quickly noting that Apple has given them engineering support for Dot. But “when the iPhone 5 comes out, we’ll be waiting in line with everybody else.”
ON USING KICKSTARTER: “It wasn’t about the money. It was about engaging people, testing assumptions and finding out whether this thing we think is exciting is exciting to other people,” says Jeff.
DOT BACKERS ON KICKSTARTER:
Chris, a technical writer in northern Utah, gave $98 to pre-order a Dot after browsing Kickstarter for iPhone-related projects. “I plan on taking this to a lot of concerts,” he says. “Using this in conjunction with the Oona [another Kickstarter project - iPhone stand] has me really excited.”
Kaan Erturk, a multimedia developer for KeyFruit in Istanbul, was looking for ways to shoot and publish 360-degree video. The company gave $210 for two Dots and to beta-test the software and platform. In addition to recording the company’s own meetings, “we are producing video content for some brands for their various campaigns and this device will most likely give different ideas to us,” Kaan tells us.
WHO BACKED IT: Jeff (sold his Apple stock), friends and family, plus 1,023 people on Kickstarter -- nearly all pledged enough to pre-order a Dot.
TOTAL RAISED: $120K via Kickstarter (original goal was $20K). Currently raising a $3M Series A. Jeff says they are deciding on a “strategic partner” to finish the round.
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 12 currently. Jeff expects to have 20 by the end of July.
The prototype -- as revealed in a new video -- is made of black polycarbonate and clicks onto the phone with or without your screen protector in place.
The Dot iPhone app will allow you to capture, review and browse your Dot videos.
Watch the video on the phone, swiping left and right to change the view. On your web browser, click and drag with your mouse.
1. Panoramic Photographs (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
2. Riding Shotgun with Google Street View’s Revolutionary Camera (Popular Mechanics, November 19, 2007)
CONTACTS & LINKS
Email: jglasse at kogeto dot com
Email: dsosnow at kogeto dot com
DailyDots blog: http://dailydots.tumblr.com/