“I come back to New York and I see people, just regular people wearing camouflage. I fucking hate that,” Mr. Glasse told the crowd at Village Vines, his face twisting into a snarl. “I will get in my car and I will drive around Manhattan looking for people in camouflage. When I see someone I HIT THEM.” He shifts moods from anger to innocence.“When the police show I say, oh I didn’t see them. Must have been the camouflage. I thought it was a fern, officer.”
People often ask Mr. Glasse how he finds time to run a new company and be a stand-up comedian. “The truth is, I don’t have kids. Most people get off work, they have to go home and spend time with their family. I work on my comedy. It’s my passion.”
After the success of Lucy, Mr. Glasse realized he had found another passion. In April of 2010, he left Teachscape and founded Kogeto with David Sosnow, a film producer and cinematographer who helped build the Lucy project.
“It was the two of us sitting in an office at WeWork labs in Soho,” said Mr. Sosnow. speaking with Betabeat by phone. “We faced in opposite directions, but the space was so small the backs of our chairs touched one another. We just had our cell phones, so we would go into the bathroom when we were on a conference call, because that’s where we got the best reception.”
Over the next year the team at Kogeto designed Dot, the world’s first panoramic camera small enough and cheap enough for the mass market. They raised a small amount of venture capital funding, $720,000, and put together a Kickstarter project. “The idea was to sell a few units and kind of test the market out,” Mr. Sosnow said.
The Lucy had been a revolution at $1,500, but on Kickstarter, backers who gave $99 would get their own Dot camera. The goal was to raise $20,000. More than 1,000 backers ended up pledging over $120,000 into Dot before Kogeto shut the Kickstarter down, and pre-orders kept pouring in to the company’s website.
For a young company without a track record in the consumer electronics space, this was an overwhelming success. Instead of shooting for 2,000 units on their first production run, Kogeto made plans to sell and ship 120,000 units before Christmas.
The popularity of the iPhone is the secret to making the Dot cheap and accessible to such a large market. Instead of building an independent camera unit, the team at Kogeto has designed a small, sleek attachment that fits over the lens of the iPhone’s built-in camera. Go ahead, say it. An iPhone accessory.
Viewed normally through the iPhone, the video appears like a small, 360-degree doughnut. But after filtering it through Kogeto’s software, which users can download as an iPhone app, the viewers sees something resembling a wide-screen movie. Users can swipe around the scene, all 360 degrees, with the touch of their fingers, a cinematic experience unlike anything most of us have ever known.