Archive for Smartphone – Page 2

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.

Reinventing the Wheel – Literally!

Bicycles are great solutions to get you where you need to go, with the benefits of being environmentally friendly and faster than walking.  However, there’s one major drawback – pedaling a bicycle can be hard work, especially for long distances or routes with lots of hills (basically anywhere in western Pennsylvania!).  So that’s where the Copenhagen Wheel comes in.

The Copenhagen Wheel was developed by a team of robotics engineers and designers from MIT specifically for Copenhagen, Denmark – a city known for its bicycle culture.  This innovative team wanted to take some of the work out of bicycling by turning a regular bike into a smart electric hybrid.  Many of the team members have had previous experience with popular startup tech companies.  Add this experience to a visionary marketing team and some venture capital investors, and you get the startup Superpedestrian.

The Copenhagen Wheel

The Copenhagen Wheel works by replacing the back wheel of your bike with the Copenhagen Wheel, which is then connected to an app on your smartphone.  A small servo motor and control system is hidden in the wheel’s sleek red casing.  This system captures your energy as you brake or go down the hill and then lets you use this energy pedal with 3-10 times the normal power of a bike!  This allows you to go up hills easier and go further, faster.  Even cooler is the fact that the Copenhagen Wheel learns how you pedal and can keep track of your fitness, while riding just like a normal bike.  If you don’t believe me, check out this video to learn more about the Copenhagen Wheel.

Clearly the old wheel has met its match!  Superpedestrian is busy getting the Copenhagen Wheel ready for market and it should be widely available within the next year.

Summly

Nick D’Aloisio is a 19 year old internet entrepreneur from London England. His father was a lawyer and his mother was a business executive so there were no programmers in the family. D’Alosio was inspired by Steve Jobs and Apple to get into technology and began to teach himself how to program and code. In his early programming career, he released apps such as the finger treadmill, an app that would turn your screen into a treadmill and allowed you to work out your fingers. Another one of his early apps was an app that was a picture of wood and when the user touched the screen, it would make a knocking sound. He is best known for his app Summly. Summly is an application that will condense news articles and other articles so that they only cover the key facts and important stuff. The user is able to decide which keywords to search for in articles as well as decide where the articles come from. One can keep up with their favorite sports team as well as reading about the stock market all in one app.Only after a month of publishing Summly, the app had over half a million users in 28 different countries. Summly has been taken off of the app store after it was acquired by yahoo. The app was transformed and is used in various web apps owned by Yahoo.  D’Alosio started teaching himself how to program and write applications when he was 12 years old. At the age of 15 he developed Trimit, the precursor to Summly. After receiving several investments, from celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, and a rather large one from a Hong Kong Billionaire, he successfully developed Summly. D’Alosio was acquired by Yahoo for $30 Million, and this year he won the Apple Design Award.  As well as writing multi-million dollar applications, and working as a computer programmer, D’Alosio has managed to complete high school and is currently studying at Oxford University.

iCracked.com

In January 2010 AJ Forsythe launched his iphone repair business, iCracked.com, along with Anthony Martin and Leslee Lambert.  AJ got the idea for this business after breaking his phone countless times and finally deciding to try and fix it on his own by ordering parts online. He was a junior at California Polytechnic State University at the time and decided to take a chance and “go for it.” The business started on their campus and within a year grew from serving one university to serving 65 universities. They currently have 109 locations worldwide which is impressive considering the company is only four years old.

The business is run on a turn key business model similar to that of a franchise. Cracked is comprised of iTechs who are equipped with the marketing, training parts, operations manuals and backend support to successfully repair iPhones and other Apple devices at any of the iCracked locations. Their company also offers mail-in services, wholesale distribution, iPhone buyback and refurbishing and has just recently entered the retail space.

One of my favorite parts about this company, and what I find most unique is that the repair men, “iTechs,” come to your house to fix your device.  They liken the importance of fixing your broken phone, to fixing a broken down car, and say they are the Triple A for phones. iCracked currently has 295 employees and 1079 iTechs located all over the world. To ensure the quality of their service all of the iTechs are trained and overseen by the iTech manager who keeps in constant contact with all of the locations. iCracked.com capitalizes on the inconvenience of mail in repairs, or traveling to the nearest Apple store and offers customers something no one else does.  Not only is this a much more reliable option than bringing your phone to that repair kyosk in the mall, but it makes it one step more convenient for the customer by bringing the repair right to their door.

Forsythe has a passion for giving back to the community and has done just that by opening a retail space in Long Beach, CA which will be run by youths ages 18 to 21 who have outgrown the foster system, whose wages will be subsidized. They refurbished a 1920s era hotel into a retail space and above the offices they created rooms for the youth to help them in their transition out of the foster care system. They train the youth and teach them skills to help them become responsible adults. A few of these youths will be hired to work in the retail space of the store and will be managed by a former iCracked repair technician.  I admire Forsythe’s extreme success and unique business idea as well as his desire to give back to the community and help people who are often overlooked. His story is an inspiration because he was my age when he started it all.

 

 

Password Required? I’ll Pass.

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We live in an age of technological insecurity. With the seemingly endless digital accounts that people have these days between banking, email, Facebook and other social media, there is a heightened risk that one of those accounts will be hacked. Passwords are becoming increasingly weak and obsolete as  hackers improve their methods at breaking in and stealing personal information. The news is always proclaiming the latest security breach at the hands of computer hackers and yet not much has been done to improve the security of these accounts. Until now.

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LaunchKey is a truly innovative application that allows you to quickly and securely log into an online account without having to use a password. Just swipe your smartphone and you are in. It works by pairing any personal account like banking or a blog account with your LaunchKey account and whenever you need to log in, it will send your phone a notification for you to swipe and therefore log in. No more trying to remember dozens of unique passwords that you fear may be cracked. LaunchKey has simplified and bolstered the the process of securing and logging into accounts.

launchkey-pano_25641Geoff Sanders (far right) was 28 when he launched LaunchKey (pun intended). He raised over $750,000 in start up funds to design and promote his product. His goal is to streamline the sign-in process by making passwords a tool of the past. By doing so he has solved two big problems when it comes to using passwords.

1) The awkwardness of remembering countless combinations of letters, words and characters.

2) The danger of someone hacking into your personal and private accounts.

Sanders’ vision is to see big corporations make the switch and avoid the risk of security breaches. LaunchKey will also alert you if another person is trying to access your account. The possibilities are endless. Anything that can connect to the internet is an option. In the future you may be able to unlock your front door or start your car with LaunchKey.

CoatChex

Derek Pacque found the inspiration for his business, CoatChex, when he lost his coat when he was out one night because there was no coat check.  His business originally started as a simple, collapsible coat checking business that operated inside local bars, but he quickly became frustrated with the traditional model of giving customers a ticket when they check their coat, meant to be exchanged at the end of the night for their coat back.  Customers constantly lost their tickets and coats were easily confused.  So, Derek innovated a new coat checking system.  Instead of using tickets, CoatChex uses its own app, pictures, and QR codes, which not only makes the coat checking process much simpler, but has the potential to create even more revenue for the business because the venues that CoatChex works in desire information about their customers that CoatChex can get through their app and provide to the venues.

CoatChex actually worked at the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis and did over $100,000 in sales, incredible!

Derek appeared on the TV show Shark Tank, asking for $200,000 for a 10% share of CoatChex.  Mark Cuban offered him $200,000 for 33% equity, but Derek turned him down, unwilling to give up that much of his business.  He is now seeking $1 million from angel investors to use his technology in other services and develop brand partnerships.

Derek Pacque is an exemplary entrepreneur, not because he simply found a solution to a problem, but because he developed that solution even further when it had problems of its own.  He went beyond the simple solution and innovated to find a better one.

For more information, I encourage you to visit their website, http://www.coatchex.com/, (which, might I say, is very well designed).

 

Alex Fourie: iFix

iFix is an African based company started by Fourie which services all Apple and Samsung electronic products.  His company started when he was at college in South Africa where he would help his friends fix and troubleshoot their electronic products.  Once multiple people started contacting him to help them, Fourie knew that this idea was one that he could turn into a business.

iFix currently employs 40 people and has branches in multiple locations.  Fourie says that the company services over 4,000 customers each month.  This company is the first of its kind in Africa and it is evident that his idea has been well received.  By using his skills and technology available to him, Fourie was able to develop a business that helps and benefits others.

Coinbase

Ehrsam is a 25 year old Duke graduate who worked as an asset manager and investor for Goldman Sachs before he founded his company. His company is named Coinbase, it is essentially a virtual wallet for Bitcoin. It functions the same way as Pay Pal but uses a different currency. Bitcoin for those of you who do not know, is a new form of virtual currency. It is used globally and about $1.5 Billion worth of Bitcoins are in circulation. The major problem with Bitcoin is that it is very volatile, when the new currency was introduced, it was valued at $1200, now it is down to just over $330. Ehrsam is working to help provide more security to Coinbase users by allowing the user to instantly sell the Bitcoins when they are received to avoid deflation and the varying prices. Coinbase, makes it easier for companies to make large payments more easily as well as make transactions with foreign companies and dealing with exchange rates. Coinbase is available in 19 different countries as of now and is looking to expand. Ehrsam is attempting to make Bitcoin more mainstream. He has used the same model as Pay Pal but has put his own spin on it, Coinbase

allows the user to save their Bitcoins using the vault portion of the app. The vault is set up in a way that the currency can be stored safely, as well as allowing you and your business partner, or whoever you share the account with to cosign withdrawals digitally to avoid users to make unauthorized withdrawals. There are about 37,000 business that trust and accept Bitcoin, but the problem is that there are not enough users of this new currency. I’m interested to see where this business takes Ehrsam. Coinbase has almost 2 million users so far and is the “World’s most popular Bitcoin service.” Pay Pal is very successful and Elon Musk has moved on to bigger and better things, I’m wondering if Ehrsam will do the same, and his company will keep expanding, or if Coinbase will fail because of Bitcoin’s unpopularity and constantly changing exchange value.