Archive for Smartphone

Aditya Argawalla: Innovation In India

Aditya Agarwalla- Co-Founder of Kisan Network

Kisan Marketplace is an online marketplace connected to farmers in India through a mobile phone app. The farmers use the app to sell their crops to buyers. This system generally makes things cheaper for both the farmers and the buyers, because it cuts out the middlemen and geography which limits them in India.

This business is unique due to the new rise of cheap smartphones in India. Until recently, smartphones were not commonly available to people in India. But with this recent rise, has come a great opportunity to use technology to help the farmers more efficiently deliver their crops to sellers. Aditya Agarwalla 22, dropped out of Princeton University to start this business with his father, a farmer in India. They have a simple app, which farmers download onto their smartphones, and it connects them with a vast marketplace of buyers, with Kisan Network acting as the middleman connecting the two.

Aditya Agarwalla saw a need to sell crops more efficiently for farmers. He tapped into the technology, which at that point was a relatively unexploited field. As the first innovators in this market, the Kisan Network’s success has been remarkable. They have moved over one million pounds of crops in under one year.

Convenient Store At Your Door

Yakir Gola and Rafael Ilishayev launched goPuff when they were only sophomores at Drexel University in 2013. GoPuff is your convenient store on wheels, bringing over 3,000 items ranging from snacks and drinks to necessities and electronics – straight to your front door in 30 minutes or less. The idea came to them as car-less freshmen roommates constantly asking for rides to get basic necessities or cigarettes. There were apps for full-blown grocery shopping or gourmet food, but what about just a plain old convenient store run? – and goPuff was born.

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Before they had even fully launched, they were already getting orders from fellow college students and residents of Philadelphia. At first, the roommates worked 17-18 hour shifts with their (new) cars to deliver the snacks and goodies, but with time came employees and they now have dozens of drivers in twelve different cities across the US.Image result for gopuff

Gola and Ilishayev don’t see other food delivery services as their competitors – they see the brick and mortar convenient stores as their primary competition. Competition is a loose term however – in 2014, they already had 25,000 customers in Philadelphia alone just a year after launch.

While it’s unfortunate that their services don’t extend to Grove City, they are constantly expanding and setting up camp in more major cities across America. So the next time you’re in a big city with a hankering for Ben & Jerry’s, goPuff’s got your back.

uBreakiFix

Justin Wetherill built a multi-million dollar business out of his bedroom in Orlando, FL. What started out as a simple problem – a broken iPhone screen – turned into an idea that Justin developed into uBreakiFix, which is now an international franchise operation.

After working as a staff accountant for a few months out of college, Justin quickly realized that he didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk for the rest of his life. He and his friend David Reiff tried their hand at a few different business ideas, including an online custom t-shirt business and a custom gaming computer business. Neither of them picked up much traction though. It wasn’t until Justin dropped his iPhone 3G and broke the screen that the idea for uBreakiFix was born. Not wanting to pay $200 to have the phone fixed by Apple, Justin ordered some parts online and decided to learn how to do it himself – and proceeded to break his phone even worse. But that didn’t stop him. He went on to buy a bunch of broken phones on eBay and learned how to fix them through trial and error. David built a website to advertise their services. For $79.99 you could mail in your phone and they would fix it and mail it back. The business took off, and they quickly realized that customers wanted same-day repairs, so they opened up a storefront. In the first month, they made $18,000 in revenue and $28,000 the second month – Justin quit his job in the third month.

The business expanded from one store to two quickly. Justin would hire and train his friends and paid them $10 an hour with a deal that if they worked hard for six months, they could own a store. Within three years, uBreakiFix went from zero to 47 corporate stores and a revenue of $27 million. Currently about 15% of the stores are owned by former employees.

Justin’s story shows that entrepreneurship is a lot of trial and error and learning to get back on your feet when something goes wrong. It’s also about accepting risk – the reason why his company was able to grow so fast was because they put almost all the revenue back into the company, betting on the fact that their idea would be successful.

To read more about Justin’s story, see this interview with him in Forbes.

StyleSeat

Have you ever received a bad hair cut? Melody McCloskey has, and she turned this experience into a business. McCloskey in the founder and CEO of StyleSeat, which is an app that connects hair stylists and customers looking for a haircut.

McCloskey was tired of the hassle of booking hair appointments. She found it frustrating when she called a salon sometimes stylists wouldn’t answer the phone or when they did, you just received a random appointment with a random stylist that wasn’t even good at what she wanted to be done. McCloskey decided to fix this problem with her app. StyleSeat makes it easy to book hair appointments with specific stylists. You can search for stylists by where you are and even by what the stylist specializes in. This is such a wonderful tool not only for people in need of a haircut, also stylists. Stylists can promote themselves for what they are really good at and what they prefer to do.

Melody McCloskey really stood out to me because she experienced a problem and made it into a successful business idea. This is such a great entrepreneurial quality to have. I love how she tapped into an industry that pretty much everyone utilizes and made it better. The cosmetology industry is already a saturated industry, but McCloskey found a way to innovate and come up with something new.

 

 

 

Pit It! Pinterest.

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There is an online platform that many individuals, particularly millennials, enjoy. Well, often it’s a procrastination mechanism, at least it is for me. Pinterest allows you to save links to various sites including (but not limited to) retail sites and blogs. “Pins”, as they are called, are categorized and browse-able. With one simple click on the image, your computer, tablet or smartphone immediately links to the site from which the picture was pinned. This allows a user to collect and share others ideas, styles, thoughts, quotes, travels and just about anything you could think to take a snap shot of. I have certainly found myself spending a lot of time on this virtual creativity board.

Ben Silberman, born in 1982, co-founded the virtual pin-board known as Pinterest. Silberman is an internet entrepreneur and acts as the CEO of Pinterest. Silberman is quite the accomplished man. He participated in a prestigious high school research program at MIT, and he later graduated from Yale with his undergraduate degree. Silberman worked at Google in the online advertising group, until he started creating his own apps. Silberman said he thought of Pinterest because he has always liked to collect things. Now, with Pinterest, we can all collect ideas!

The Supercapacitor

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In 2013, Eesha Khare showcased her energy supercapacitor at an intertnational science fair.  Her invention, a “super battery” in nature, has the ability to fully charge and hold a large amount of energy within 20 to 30 seconds.  This supercapacitor can pack a ton of energy into a tiny amount of space and hold the charge for a very long time.

Eesha has been and is currently working on its future applications.  She believes her supercapacitor can revolutionize phones and other electronic devices in the near future.  Eesha has also stated that her supercapacitor is 10 times more efficient and long lasting the current rechargeable battery.

Eesha is currently working through the second part of her product innovation.  Her prototype and technology were a success and she is currently working on how to ready her invention/product for the mass market.

While it’s been 3 years, her and the supercapacitors future is very promising.  The supercapacitor has the capability to revolutionize the technological industry.  The concept of “waiting for your device to charge” would be completely erased.  Eesha’s idea for faster and longer lasting energy will “literally” be in our hands sooner than we know it.

Gifting Africa

Eighteen year old Alain Nteff was alarmed by the high death rate of newborn babies and pregnant women in his community. When he was  20, he developed a mobile app called “Gifted Mom” to help solve this problem. The app helps teenage mothers and health workers calculate due dates. It also collects and sends information to women in the community. His app has more than 500 downloads and is integrated with locally made phones. It has 1,200 pregnant women and mothers as beneficiaries and has led to a 20% increase in antenatal attendance rate for pregnant women in 15 rural communities. Nteff is also working with 200 medical students to reduce brain drain in Cameroon. He plans to reach 50,000 pregnant women and mothers by end of 2015 and 5 million across the continent by 2017.

Sadly, over 7000 women still die per year in Cameroon from pregnancy related complications which can be prevented by a simple educative SMS. The company  notify subscribe women by SMS on when they should do their ANCs and tell them why. Subscription to their SMS solution is free and be done on the companies homepage. The company has the inspiring campaign and goals to use low cost technologies to fight ignorance and Maternal and Newborn Health issues. They organize monthly outreach sensitization projects, one village at a time to help Africa for the better.

Robert Nay

Robert was 14 when he created Bubble ball- an app that took competition from angry birds. This game launched his game company Nay Games. Over two million people downloaded his app in two weeks. He created the app with no previous knowledge of coding. He researched how to code at the library and took ideas from games that he liked on his phone. His only investment was a macbook given to him by his parents.

This is amazing as it shows not only that kids can be creative and do amazing things, but it also shows how powerful reading is. Reading is sometimes ignored or forgotten in the new technology age, but he was able to gain enough knowledge to code over 4000 lines of code on his own without previous schooling. I think that some of the smartest people are really just avid readers or self taught geniuses.

Lesson to take away- read a lot and you will be too smart to unsuccessful.

Beme

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Over this past summer, filmmaker  and youtuber Casey Neistat and former VP of Engineering for Tumblr, Matt Hacket launched a new app called “Beme”. After working on the project for over a year, the duo was finally ready to release their new format for video sharing.

“Beme” is an app that, according to Neistat and Hackett, captures the unfiltered and genuine moments in life. “Beme” captures videos with the rear camera in four-second bursts by covering an iPhone’s proximity sensor. The screen goes black so users have no way of previewing the content. Viewing others’ content is done via a snapchat like interface where you hold down your finger to play and when the video finishes, it’s gone forever. The app lets you react to other peoples’ content with the iPhone’s front camera by sending a selfie to someone as they watch the video.

So what makes “Beme” different or better than other forms of video sharing, such as Snapchat? Being frustrated by the superficiality of social media today, Neistat feels that “Beme” allows users to consciously capture their life without altering it to make it seem like something that it’s not. With such widespread use of social media, Neistat felt that there needed to be something that could capture life in the most unaffected, candid manner. Neistat states that he loves sharing apps, such as Instagram, but it’s not the right platform to share little photos of what he sees throughout the day, rather it’s a place to share beautifully edited aspects of his life. According to Neistat, social media today is built to share with the world a version of who you are. Now, “Beme” wants you to share who you really are.

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Within eight days of release, “Beme” users shared 1.1 million videos and sent 2.4 million reactions. As of now, Neistat and Hackett decided on a slower, invite-only rollout to ensure that each user had at least one friend on the app. The partners said that they hope to upgrade the app’s background soon so that they can do away with invite codes and let anyone join. In addition, while this is currently only available on Apple devices, they are working to develop it into an app for Androids as well.

Eko Devices

The evolution of smart phone technology  has modified so many functions of everyday life. It started with music, and quickly took over the necessity for computers, and then wallets. Now smart phone technology has the ability to allow doctors to move away from their signature accessory: the stethoscope- to a more modern sleeker version.

Eko Devices allows doctors to use a stethoscope attachment that amplifies the patient’s heart beat into a software program on smart phones. The key to this new advancement is core technology( the amplification device). The Core transmits the sound waves into the Eko application in which the sound is recorded and can be stored and filed under each patient.

Eko Devices was founded by three guys (Connor Landgraf, Tyler Crouch, and Jason Bellet) with a dream to modernize one of the simplest duties of a medical professional. They have received over 800,000 dollars in angel donations to get their company off the ground. The core system is available for purchase, and the application is available for all apple devices and coming soon to android. Currently Eko Devices is backed by countless industry leaders, and well known physicians.

These three young men saw a device that wasn’t dated by any means, but decided it was time to modernize it. I think it will be interesting to see how they adapt their business model to be conducive to other adapters, allowing the medical professional to take other vital signs right from their smart phone.