Tired of being left out of the picture when snapping a photo of a loved one? Don’t want to wield an awkward selfie stick to get a pic with your friends? UC Berkeley alums Eddie Lee (Haas / SCET certificate ’11), Samuel Pullman (EECS ’12), and Jae Choi (Econ ’13) have created Podo, a new kind of camera that takes the photographer (and the selfie stick) out of the picture. Just stick the Podo to any surface and use your smartphone to wirelessly snap photos.
Lee, Choi, and Pullman we were working on a software-based startup when their first investor told them that they needed to change their idea to be considered for investment. Unsure where to go next, the three friends realized that taking photos in social situations was more difficult than it needed to be.
“Being three friends and hanging out all the time, especially embarking on this exciting endeavor together, we would take lots of pictures,” said Podo Labs President and Co-Founder Eddie Lee, “Naturally one of us was always left out of the photo, or Jae had this DSLR but lost the transfer cable, so a bunch of our photos are stuck on its memory card to this day. So Podo was born out our own need for an easy way to have and share the photos we really wanted.”
Part of what is special about Podo is its micro-adhesive pad that sticks anywhere to mount the camera without any stands or clips. The pad can be washed with water to rejuvenate its stickiness, “The [pad] definitely feels like magic when you first use it!” said Lee, “It’s a silicon-type of material that has very small features that interact with the wall and create a temporary, physical bond. You can imagine it as having thousands of microscopic suction cups, or else little ‘hairs’ like a gecko foot. When it picks up particulates that gunk up the surface, you wipe them off with water to expose the surface again.”
Podo started its first Kickstarter campaign in April 2015 and raised $427,565 with 3,609 backers. Podo is now on its second generation and has started a new Kickstarter campaign that has already raised $125k (with a $50k goal) at the time of writing of this article. The next generation Podo is cheaper than last (at $49), has a larger sensor for better low light photos, and a wide-angle lens to help you fit in larger groups. Further, you can now sync up to six Podos to capture a single moment from different angles or set up a time-lapse for your event.
Lee says that the mentorship he received at Berkeley was particularly valuable, “Bringing in entrepreneurs to give talks was extremely valuable and encouraging. I’d love to give back to students someday as well.” Lee credits the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem at Cal for making his startup possible including mentorship from Sutardja Center Industry Fellow Bernt Wahl, Sutardja Center classes (especially the one’s that brought in real entrepreneurs to tell their stories), and meeting his first investor at the Berkeley Startup Fair.
For more information about Podo, check the Kickstarter campaign. Right now, there are still early bird special Podos available at $39 (with delivery promised by Christmas!). Also, check out their promo video below.