I gotta tell you, one of the most interesting startups I’ve seen at a startup conference is World Housing Solution. This Orlando based startup has created a way of making extremely strong, quick to build shelters out of Structural Insulated Composite Panels. The company’s founder, Ron Ben-Zeev tells us that SICPs, are like a super strong sandwich made out of fiberglass bread and a foam center. Ben-Zeev and his team have found a way to quickly and effectively use this material for shelter.
The SICPs make World Housing Solution shelters great for emergency needs like the aftermath of a natural disaster. They are also great for deploying in emerging countries. For instance, the scale model of the structure they showed off at Southland is actually being deployed to the horn of Africa as a hospital for women. That project calls for five of WHS’s structures to function as a maternity ward, delivery room, clinic, kitchen and rest rooms. In this case the structures deployed will be permanent but it will take days rater than weeks, months or years to get the hospital off the ground.
In addition to being extremely quick to set up the WHS shelters are hurricane resistant (up to 155mph), earthquake resistant (up to 7.8 richter), they don’t mold, mildew or rot, they’re fire resistant and bullet proof. Ultimately this makes the WHS shelters ideal for fast implementation in civilian, government and military installations.
Although he has no formal “construction” experience, Ben-Zeev is actually a Wharton educated executive with a background involving strategic consulting for Fortune 100 and 500 companies. He also served as Strategic Counsel to the North American CEO and President of Siemens Information Systems.
Earlier today we told you about GeekWire’s 2013 awards in Seattle last week. The award for the geekiest office space went to Killer Infographics, which also partnered with GeekWire for a creative, totally awesome view of startups. Although known for their “Killer Infographics” the teams at Killer and GeekWire created an 8 bit video game style movie called “The Adventure of the Startup Kid”.
The video was created to play at the beginning of the GeekWire awards which were held last Thursday at EMP Seattle and very well received.
The Adventure Of Startup Kid starts off in the office where Startup Kid has an idea that is a mashup where “Twitter meets Kickstarter mixted with FourSquare and Vine”. Of course Startup Kid’s co-worker thinks it’s a great idea and Startup Kid quits his job.
Then of course he goes to dad for seed funding, eventually finds a team, and goes for venture funding. Each step along the way looks just like an old 8 bit video game with challenges that are like beating level lords at the end of every game. For instance when the team goes for venture funding they have to reach money bags being dropped from the sky by a cloud, reminiscent of getting coins in any Super Mario or Sonic game.
One of the biggest challenges in the game/movie is when it’s time to face the competition. The screen turns red, the space needle turns into a space ship and then they face the competition in a Street Fighter esque battle.
Just after that there’s the final battle where an animated Jeff Bezos pulls up in a semi truck that says Amazon and begins throwing boxes at the Startup Kid. Bezos flies off on a rocket but not before tossing a bag of money to Startup Kid. Startup Kid sort of wins because he gets acquired but then ends up back in a cubicle, presumably acquihired, that is of course until he has his next startup idea.
Comments Off on instaGrok Is A New Way To Learn, And It Works! SXSWedu Video Interview0LikeLike 2,063
When I first sat down with Andrew Bender, President and CEO of instaGrok I was mesmerized at what I saw. I originally though that a “research engine” would be boring, or at best a fancy way to say search engine, and Google has determined we don’t need anymore of those.
Once Bender took me through a demo I wished that instaGrok was around when I was in school. I told Bender that I am a very visual person. I “white board” just about everything, drawing webs, flowcharts and arrows all over the place. Well instaGrok takes whatever your researching and visually shows the user how things are connected.
Bender showed me two examples. The first was gravity. As you can see from the grok above gravity is connected to Einstein, equation, orbit, object, universe, scientists, force, astronaut, and Newton. When you’re on the instaGrok site if you click on any of the circles another web appears showing how the connections are connected to other things.
On the right side bar instaGrok connects the user to key facts, websites, videos, images, quizzes and a glossary. Now the user is connected to mountains worth of research in a very easy to understand and navigate UI. If a user was actually working on a research paper about gravity they could pin anything from the right hand columns directly into the grok.
The other topic we looked at was “Brown v Brown” and a user built grok. This grok features a bunch of links that the creator has added, or pinned, to it with the information they need.
You don’t need to register for instaGrok, but if you do you can save the groks you create for as long as you would like.
We got a chance to interview Bender at the LAUNCHedu showcase as part of SXSWedu. Check out the video interview below:
Comments Off on Athens GA Startup Wagglez It All Began With A Honey Bee Dance0LikeLike 1,947
Sure there are plenty of daily deals startups out there. In fact, one of the most popular Atlanta startups is daily deal startup ScoutMob, but, none have as good a name as Wagglez.
Athens Georgia based Wagglez takes it’s name from a dance that honey bees do when they get back to the hive to tell the other bees where the honey is. It’s that same principal Wagglez is hoping to achieve with deal seekers.
By delivering relevant local deals straight to the smartphone ,Wagglez eliminates the need to clip coupons or use a daily deals site like Groupon.
When a user fills out a profile on Wagglez, their data (minus their personal info like their name) is saved and delivered to participating merchants. Merchants can then analyze the data to see which offers and promotions are working with which demographic. They can then use that data to offer more strategic offers that will benefit both the consumer and the merchant.
Wagglez wants to make the daily deals experience as easy as possible for the end user. There’s no need to print coupons, all of the participating merchants create the deals themselves, along with the stipulations to take advantage of the deal. This makes the experience as easy as walking into a participating merchant and redeeming your Wagglez deal.
Wagglez is incubating at the FourAthens incubator in Athens Georgia along with several other up and coming tech startups.
Wagglez wants to be as relevant to visitors as it is to locals. The idea came about when founder Chris Bell and some of his fellow University of Nebraska alums went to a football game in Seattle. They didn’t know where to go or what to do. They were eventually pointed to a bar which some other fellow cornhuskers had taken over. For travelers, Bell is hoping to make Wagglez a platform where out of towners can easily find the best things to do with the best deals as well.
Bell was unable to be at the Startup Rally event in Atlanta Monday as he and his wife are expecting a baby, who will also become a Wagglez user. In his place we got to talk with Matt Downing, who even does the Wagglez dance for us in the video. Check it out below.
Comments Off on Video Interview With Indiana Startup Squad, Collaborative Code Editing0LikeLike 740
Imagine if Google Docs (or Drive whatever you want to call it) was all about developers and coding. Imagine if you could work on code projects easily and together from around the world. Then imagine if you could upload those projects to DropBox. Well with Indiana startup SquadEdit.com you can.
SquadEdit is like Google Docs for developers, except instead of working on papers, spreadsheets or presentations, you work on coding projects together.
With Squad you can have your coding project on several different “work spaces” and they have a plan for individuals and small groups, all the way up to 50 users. Everyone involved on the same Squad project can see everything updated and in real time. You can also create sub projects of projects. If one part of the team is working on one function and the other part of the team is working on a different function, each team member can see the task they’re working on and the entire community project.
This is one of those startups that is a great resource for other startups. Now you don’t have to have your developers in one room and you don’t have to take different conference calls, skype sessions and Google+ hangouts to make sure everyone is on the same page. As Squad CEO Hillary Cage explains in the video interview, it’s an all in one collaborative experience.
Oh and as for DropBox, you can save your Squad projects in DropBox and share them with others. Our West Coast editor Junaid Kalmadi got a chance to interview Cage at the The Innovation ShowCase in Indianapolis last month. Here’s that interview:
Comments Off on Indiana Startup: Volunteer Your Voice, So Easy A Congressman Could Do it VIDEO0LikeLike 623
An Indiana startup called Volunteer Your Voice has streamlined the phonebank process.
If you’ve ever had to execute a phone bank campaign you’ve probably experienced a long and tedious process. Most phone banks rely on volunteers which makes even finding out who’s helping a task in itself. After you’ve got your volunteers set up you have to set up the phone bank, print surveys and register the volunteers to the phone.
Then the next long step starts, which is training the volunteers on that particular banks mission, survey and goals. And then you wait…
Once the volunteers are done you tear down the phone bank, wait for results,and prepare reports.
Volunteeryourvoice.com has revolutionized this whole process from the top down. The biggest way they’ve changed the phone-bank industry is that you’ll use your own computer and headset and their built in telephony to actual make the calls. This saves the campaign huge amounts of money in overhead and means you can do the surveying from the comfort of your own home. If you have a PC headset and a high speed internet connection you’re ready to go and the quality is great.
If you don’t have a PC headset or a high speed internet connection you have the option of routing calls through your own personal phone, a landline or a cell phone/smartphone will work. The calls will be routed similar to the way Google Voice routes calls. This still insures that you can keep great data on the success of the campaign and that the people administering the campaign can still monitor your calls.
Volunteeryourvoice.com’s web based dashboard provides campaign administers easy access to real time reporting.
We got a chance to interview Jayson Manship the founder of volunteeryourvoice.com in the video interview below. He talks about their new SaaS platform and the industries that they serve. Naturally they are in the political space along with nonprofit surveys and alumni phonebanking for schools on pledge drives.
Comments Off on Nashville Startup: ClockOut Gamifying Taking Off From Work, Small Business Will Love This0LikeLike 639
The Startup Weekend Memphis team has taken a few solo entrepreneur projects and given them a spot to present in tomorrow’s finals for $1000 a piece. One of those solo entrepreneurs Brandon Heller from Long Island NY by way of Nashville.
Heller is working on ClockOut. When pitched Friday night it was a simple app to take the process of asking off a shift at work and making it social. Through the ClockOut app smaller restaurants, franchisees, bars and small businesses, with shift type work, would have the ability to let their employees take ownership of swapping shifts.
With the app, integrated through Facebook, two employees could swap shifts, or get a shift covered, have a historic log of it on a private Facebook network, and then inform the manager. This way the manager knows the shift is covered, and everything goes on like a well oiled machine.
To take any need for fees away from the small business Heller also decided (with the help of one of the Startup Weekend coaches) to ganmify the process. Now employee A who needs a shift covered pays $5.00 to ClockOut. ClockOut holds onto the $5.00 less their fee. Now employee B who picks up the shift gets a point for every shift they covered. When employee B has covered 10 shifts they get all the remaining money in that pot of $5.00 payments.
For some shift workers $5.00 may be a little steep but it also may be worth it for whatever reason they are calling out. The $5.00 shift covering game encourages people to pick up shifts, knowing that when they’ve covered enough shifts they’ll get the money they earned plus an incentive from ClockOut.
Definitely an interesting concept. Check out the initial pitch video from Friday below:
Comments Off on TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Interview With: Bar & Club Stats VIDEO0LikeLike 893
There’s no cutesie name name, no outrageously loud logo, no booth babes and no crazy animation talking about Bar & Club stats. It’s very straight forward and like a great name, their company name says exactly what they do. What a novel idea, Bar & Club Stats provides bar and club stats. It’s how they do it and exactly what they do with it that makes it cool.
Bar & Club Stats founder, Ben Silbert, said he started the business after finding most of the places he went to were really crowded. He developed an app and id scanner and then the back end piece which collects data.
Bar & Club stats is an app and id card reader that allows bouncers and door men to scan IDs. Fake IDs will not scan which makes it easier to weed out bad IDs and actually get rid of the offending person. Sometimes when someone presents a fake id they go into a temper tantrum yelling and screaming that their ID is real. After the ID is actually scanned the argument becomes a moot point.
As we reported earlier, the entry validation portion is just the beginning. Bar & Club stats take the data from the ID scans, anonymizes it and then analyzes it for the bar or club. This is invaluable information to a club owner. Were there more 18-21 year olds on Monday or Thursday? Did ladies night draw more men? Did our midtown club attract a slew of customers from Hoboken? All of this information is now available to the venue for marketing and business development.
While it’s not cute or quirky Bar & Club stats solves a problem for bars and clubs, well actually two. Check out their video interview here: