Written by Perry King
Smaller than a baseball, the many-sided timelapse camera captures months of HD footage on one charge, and makes editing and sharing easy.
“The dimension of time is obviously very valuable but there’s very little we understand about it,” said Schwanzer, a software developer who co-founded ZEITDICE with Matt MacDonald, a mechanical engineer.
Their philosophy: Our perception of time is informed by technology.
“You take a little clip with your phone, maybe use an action camera to get a couple hours…But that’s what not life is,” Schwanzer says.
Working on the premise that the best stories unfold over hours, days, months, and even years, ZEITDICE frees users from the cumbersome setup of traditional timelapse photography.
Equipped with a strong battery, a weather resistant structure, and magnetic mounts, the device includes software that allows users to easily edit and publish footage through its smartphone app.
Schwanzer founded ZEITDICE in 2013, after arriving in Canada from Austria.
Working in front-end product development and splitting his time between Toronto and New York, he hungered to get his startup idea off the ground. “It was a year ago when I quit my full-time job, incorporated, and put up 100 units,” Schwanzer said. “People bought them right away.”
Schwanzer’s self-funded venture has since turned heads, especially in creative industries with big audiences.
“We have people lined up who make TV shows, for Discovery Channel, for HBO…high-end content producers,” said Schwanzer, who himself worked in interactive entertainment. “[They’re] not replacing their cinema cameras — it’s for additional content.”
When manufacturing became more costly than anticipated, Schwanzer set up a lean operation focusing sales on build-to-order projects. “Little mistakes cost time and time is money,” he explained, “and you want to hold up the quality that you promised.”
That promise of that high-quality product has amassed a waitlist of about 2,000-plus customers.
To further sharpen ZEITDICE’S focus, the startup graduated from Creative Destruction Lab at U of T’s Rotman School of Management, and the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab. Those experiences exposed Schwanzer to key experts, including Steve Mann, a pivotal figure in the wearables space.
Now, the company’s team is growing and Schwanzer envisions a future that includes taking the company past its hardware-centered business to better leverage its software assets.
Ultimately, building ZEITDICE was a gamble, but Schwanzer had a hunch the little camera would find its feet. Why? With hard work and the right business plan, it was simply a matter of time.
Photo Credits: Andrew Williamson Photography