When HD 360 degree Camera Giroptic launched their Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, many were quick to point our that Giroptic looked a lot like Geonaute, a product that Oxylane, Decathlon’s parent company (a leading French sporting goods store), had been showing around at CES earlier that year. The connection became much more clear when it was learned that Decathlon’s Geonaute was built by the Giroptic team, with, essentially, the same hardware technology.
The Geonaute camera, a near identical match feature-for-feature to Giroptic
During Giroptic’s campaign, I sat down with CEO & Co-founder Richard Ollier, and talked about his past relationship with Decathlon, and how their Kickstarter campaign might affect relations. At the time he felt confident that Giroptic was well within their rights, as a supplier of technology to Decathlon, to use that technology in a product that does not compete with Geonaute. Therefore, while Geonaute brands itself as a GoPro-like action sport camera, Giroptic’s positoning, and subsequent associated features, are more general-purpose.
That didn’t stop Geonaute from sending a search and seizure team to Giroptic’s office (both are based in the city of Lille), as l’Usine Nouvelle reported, supposedly looking for evidence that they have broken their contract with respect to Geonaute.
It should be pointed out that, while Decathlon has been working with Giroptic since 2012, the company still has yet to release the product – their website currently contains a signup form to be notified of pre-order opportunities. Giroptic’s Kickstarter campaign, which garnered $1.4 Million in less than 2 months, was put together in a matter of months (and was not years in the making), and allowed Giroptic to float their technology to the market and see who was interested.
Only time will tell if Geonaute has just cause for their search and seizure at Giroptic’s offices; however, any startup looking to work with Decathlon or other large corporations will likely be more wary in the future. Giroptic waited 3 years for their technology to get into consumer’s hands via a large retailer, and, ultimately, the fastest way to get customer feedback was to release the product themselves.
What does that say about the role of retail in the 21st century?