Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Narrative — Formerly Known as Memoto — Launches Life-Logging Camera, Raises $3M

A little camera that clips onto the wearer’s shirt collar and takes a photo every 30 seconds will start shipping in November, nearly a year after it raised 10 times as much money as it sought on Kickstarter.

In the meantime, the product has been delayed with difficulties such as fitting a GPS antenna into a tiny inch-and-a-half square. But the $550,000 worth of Kickstarter attention also ended up attracting the interest of True Ventures, the venture capital firm that has developed a portfolio of hardware startups such as MakerBot, Fitbit and 3D Robotics. True has now led a round of $3 million for the Linköping, Sweden-based startup, along with LDV Capital and Passion Capital.

So, why haven’t I mentioned the company’s name yet? Because it’s changing. Previously known as Memoto, it will now be called Narrative. That’s not by choice; Motorola sent the company a cease-and-desist earlier this year, based on its trademark for “moto.”

The Narrative Clip is an itty-bitty device with a camera, GPS, USB charger, battery indicator and an accelerometer for input (double-tap means take a picture). Users upload their pictures to Android and iPhone apps, where they are sorted into a timeline with the interesting ones highlighted (those with color, sharpness and faces). A lot of the photos are bound to be crappy, especially given that the camera doesn’t have a flash.

The device is set to cost a not-itty-bitty $279, and will start shipping Nov. 1.

Do people really want to take pictures of their lives at a rate of two per minute? “It is creepy and interesting,” said Narrative CEO Martin Kallstrom in an interview this week.

“It’s fun to explore your life in hindsight,” he said.

People who have told Kallstrom they’d like to use the Narrative Clip include the parents of a kid with autism who has trouble describing what happened to him at school all day (in that case, his classmates would all have to sign off on being recorded), the family of a man who lost his memory in an army injury and want to help him remember his days, and a train conductor who is often harassed by passengers and felt the presence of a wearable camera would be a deterrent.

Kallstrom said he might have wished that the Narrative Clip were ready sooner to capitalize on the attention paid to Google Glass — given that it also has a controversial wearable camera — but he also was glad to miss the hype cycle.

“There’s a big risk of this being a novelty gadget that no one really cares about, and that’s not who we are,” Kallstrom said. “We want to create value.”

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google