Pie Launches iOS 360 App, Raises Seed Round for 360 Mobile Social Network

For consumers looking to get into creating 360-degree videos there are several ways of going about it. They can by cameras which have single lenses (360fly) or duel lenses (Gear 360, Ricoh Theta S), or cameras that can attach to smartphones (Insta360 Nano). But there are even cheaper options to create eye-catching immersive videos, one of which launched today, Pie.

360 video startup Pie, has just released its first app for iPhone on the App Store. With it users can record a new ‘touchable video’ format the company has developed called ‘slices’ (kind of like swipeable 360° GIFs).

Replaying_Slice - Pie

To make a Pie video users have two options. The first is to use a consumer 360-degree camera like the ones mentioned above to capture content, then upload it to the Pie app. If you’re using a Insta360 Nano you’ll be able to use shoot videos directly with the Pie app. Video clips are trimmed to 10 seconds – a length which CTO and co-founder Guillaume Sabran says: ‘is long enough to explore a space in 360, but short enough to keep the viewing experience dynamic and interesting.’

But what if you don’t have a 360-camera. That’s when you use Pie’s ‘slices’ feature. Capturing a slice is similar to the process of taking a panorama, with the user scanning the space in front of them, from left to right, for 3 to 5 seconds. These can then be played back, with users swiping their smartphones or moving the device around.

“Until now the difficulty of creating a 360 video has been holding back mass adoption of this new medium,” Sabran elaborates. “We set our self the goal of making the process of capturing, editing, and sharing a 360 video at least 10x faster than existing options.”

“We’ve had a great response to slices, particularly from younger users who have seen 360 videos in their Facebook feed but until now haven’t had a way to make one that was quick, easy, and didn’t involve buying separate hardware,” explains co-founder Jacob Trefethen.

“The fact that slices allow you to move forwards and backwards in time as well as through space was initially an accident we came across while hacking on the iPhone camera. Once we realized what that experience could be like, we couldn’t wait to get it out there. It means you can slow down, speed up, and reverse dance moves, skate tricks, or even just funny faces with a swipe of your finger or just by turning your phone using the iPhone’s gyroscope, the same way you move through a 360 video.”

But Pie isn’t just interested in creating a unique app, it wants to build a mobile social network where users can discover, create, and post 360-degree videos in seconds. Which is why it has raised a seed round from McClatchy, Colopl VR Fund, Sparkland Capital, Stage Venture Partners, Graph Ventures, Matter Ventures, and others to create it.

Co-Founder Ceci Mourkogiannis said: “We are excited about the long-term possibilities of VR as it relates to 360 video, but today we want to serve the 2 billion people who already own smartphones and give them a way to create and watch 360 videos that fits into their everyday lives.”

VRFocus will follow the progress of Pie, reporting back with any new updates.