I have left Panono GmbH in 2017 after its assets have been acquired by Professional360 GmbH.
Panono is a Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera that takes immersive 360 photos in 108 Megapixels. And yes, it is indeed throwable. The camera is designed to be tossed into the air in which case it will trigger automatically once it has reached the highest point of its flight. This allows its operator to take stunning 360 images without tripods or other mounting constructions in the picture.
‘[…] after playing around with the ball for a bit, we can officially say that, yes, it is every bit as awesome as it seems.’ — Gizmodo
In October, 2012, Jonas Pfeil, Björn Bollensdorff and me founded the company in Berlin. Our goal was to build a completely new and innovative hardware product from scratch and get it into the market. It had to be easy to use, small, extremely robust, and mass producible.
The whole story started in 2011, with the help of the accelerator of the TU-Berlin, we applied for the eXist scholarship to start our journey as entrepreneurs. After evaluating the potential production costs, we started a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo. We didn’t know if it would work, there was no successful campaign before us that had such a high minimum goal ($900k USD) and a high price tag ($500-$2999 USD). With tremendous support and worldwide coverage from the media, we raised $1.25M USD, breaking the record of the biggest crowdfunding campaign from Germany. Panono was extremely popular, which is why we decided to start a equity-crowdfunding campaign to let everyone participate in a potential success. With 1.6M EUR raised, we became Companisto’s biggest start-up campaign. At the end of the campaign, we finally had a the first working Panono and started the mass production.
We launched the Panono Camera into the market and closed with over 2.5M Euro revenue in the first year. We had reached our initial goal, we have successfully brought an idea into a product that can be bought not online, but also in the retail stores. I can’t describe the feeling when you walk into the closest electronics store closest to you and see the product that you have created in the shelves for the first time.
Unfortunately, the exciting story of Panono ended very abruptly when we failed to secure funding to scale the business. We were fighting until the very last minute to get an investment but couldn’t secure the funding. This sadly allowed one of the last investors we negotiated with to completely take over the company. As this meant that we can’t ensure that all our previous supporters would get their promised rewards or equity, we decided to leave the company.