These were my favorite slides from the presentation, illustrating the optimistic outlook and huge upside still open for the mobile sector:
The slides on “re-imagining” were some of my favorite in the entire 88 page deck, and of them, the “Connectivity” and “Photography” re-imagined slides really hit the nail on the head with what we’re working to do with SimpleCrew.
So much can be communicated with photos, and for the first time ever, SimpleCrew offers teams an easy way to share and organize photos across a team.
It’s a re-imagining of connectivity for teams, with photographs as the medium. And it’s all up and to the right.
Mary Meeker from the Venture Capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, & Byers (KPCB) always kills it with her Internet Trends presentations, and I love it every time.
In particular, I love it because of how amazing the numbers have been for mobile. They’re incredible. It makes me feel all warm and tingly inside, seeing the graphs that portray a technological revolution we happen to be right in the middle of, right now.
You don’t even need a VC analyst to tell you that there’s big stuff happening in mobile lately. You can just look around and see it in every pocket – it surrounds us.
Think about how amazing this is: computing has brought about three waves now, each of them creating massive technological change (along with vast fortunes) from the period before. The first was the proliferation of the PC. Then there was the internet. For both of those waves, my generation was too young to really appreciate what was going on, let alone dive in and participate.
But this wave, mobile…
The first iPhone came out in 2007. I was 19, and had just finished my first year at University of Maryland. Like most people that age, I had just recently started considering the options for my future and would be for the next few years before graduation.
A couple months after that first iPhone came out, the economy hit the fan and everything turned to shit. Students started graduating into the crappy economy, and the “Jobless 20-Something” became a defining cliche of the time. My friends and I watched the value of our college degrees plummet to almost worthless, a year before graduation.
And then this happened:
All of a sudden, a ray of light appeared amidst the frenzy of the shit economy, and that ray of light was mobile. A new wave of technology that brought a new wave of opportunities, value, and wealth.
This time, we weren’t too young. And we weren’t too old either – that’s very important. We weren’t 4-5 years down paths towards middle-management in office buildings anonymous.
We were young, jobless, and had nothing to lose. We were just right.
By now, it’s practically conventional wisdom that it’s never been easier to start a company. With basically zero start-up costs, infrastructure readily available, and the world’s knowledge at your fingertips – very little of the barriers to entry that existed just 10 years ago exist today.
And now we have the explosion of this new platform. The smartphone. Think about how incredible of a canvas this thing is. With the touch screen, it offers literally infinite possible interface options. It has a camera (or two), a compass/accelerometer, a speaker, a microphone, a light, and a headphone jack. It’s connected to the web, it’s always on, always around, and there’s millions of them. And that’s just for now.
Think about how many problems there are that can be solved with the right software on this canvas! And of course problems can translate into opportunities for business. You literally can’t put a number on how many business opportunities there are out there now. It’s effectively infinite.
Thus, it’s a beautiful thing Mary Meeker reports on. For a generation that graduated into an economy in the dumps, mobile has offered a beautiful silver lining. The chance to create tools that solve problems and create value for people, and build businesses around those tools.
We may have been to young for PC and the Internet, but this wave, mobile, is our wave.
In industries including field marketing, property management, construction project management, insurance inspections, and more, photos play a critical role in business operations.
Photos are used to document work, report progress, maintain accountability, communicate with clients, and more.
Taking and organizing photos is a mess of point & shoot cameras, photo uploads/downloads, email attachments, and desktop folders.
There are time delays, while managers wait for cameras to get back to the office.
There are syncing issues, with no easy way to make sure everyone has access to the same folders.
What is your product or service?
Today, using SimpleCrew, teams can now upload photos via our iPhone and Android apps directly to the team’s database hosted securely in the cloud.
It happens instantly, so team members don’t have to worry about sending emails or uploading photos later.
And every photo includes time and location info, so teams can see organized campaign summaries with timelines and maps showing exactly when and where each photo was submitted from.
How far are you from having an MVP (minimum viable product)? MVP is done
What phase of development is your company in? Functional Product with Users
Are you incorporated? Yes
Who will you be selling your product or services to?
We’re focusing first on real estate investors and grassroots marketing teams. Our main sales channels are direct marketing, event sponsorships (real estate investor conventions), email marketing, and content marketing.
2.2mm real estate investors in the US.
150,000 property/real estate managers in US
195,000 construction managers in US
47,000 event promoters in US
32,000 advertising/marketing agencies in US
We launched a public beta on September 17, and have gotten an enthusiastic response from both industries.
Who are your competitors and how are they different?
Currently there are indirect competitors doing similar things for other industries, or focusing on different aspects of field team management.
Do you have any adivsory board members or mentors? Yes.
Why are you applying to Startup Chile?
We are scrappy, but still need to supplement our small amount of funding with minimal freelance work. The 40k grant will give us the freelance-free 6 month runway to bootstrap to “Ramen profitability”.
Additionally, co-founder Mike McCabe, has strong ties to Chile through the exchange program at UC San Diego with Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. In 2009, he spent 4 incredible weeks traveling Chile with 12 Chilean friends he met at UCSD, including Felipe del Sol Fernandez of AdMetricks, a current SUP company.
He had a true insider experience and has had the desire to return ever since.
How will you contribute to the Chilean entrepreneurial environment? Mike and Alan have an extensive network of over 200 start-up peers, mentors and professionals from Yelp, Techstars Seattle, 2 Techstars for a Day events, and persistent networking. We know the importance of a warm introduction and plan to leverage our network in anyway possible to help out our fellow SUP cohorts.
We’ve already been mentors to a 1st time tech entrepreneur. We are more excited than he to have Blur It app under review in apple’s app store. Being mentors is something we are very much looking forward to.
When possible, we will hire local Chileans before outsourcing.
What communities do you belong to and how do you contribute to them? Alan:
Red Bull North America – former brand manager, now connect with leads.
Yelp.com – former sales. Maintains relationships with managers and directors in NYC.
Mike : Founder’s co-op http://www.founderscoop.com/ and TechStars Seattle: Mike was a 2011 TS Hackstar in the shared workspace between Techstars Seattle and Founder’s co-op. He still remains active in google groups email chain for both TS and FC and attends the yearly Techstars networking reunion. PistonAgency, San Diego: Current freelance work for international companies such as Oakley, Mitsubishi, and Yakult.
What is your Action Plan for the 6 months in Chile? Month 1 Direct Marketing/Sales
Month 2 Paid Marketing, continued direct marketing
Month 3 Continued paid, continued SEO, continued direct marketing.
Month 4 Continued paid , continued SEO, continued direct marketing
Month 5 Continued paid, continued SEO, continued direct marketing
Month 6 Continued paid, continued SEO, continued direct marketing:
Your personal details: About the Founder Name: Alan VanToai
University: University of Maryland
Degree and Area of Study: Business, Marketing
Co-Founder of SimpleCrew.
Formerly Co-Founder of Headstash.com – an online magazine for the jam and electronic music communities.
Former Account Executive at Yelp.com – supported local business with Yelp Advertising packages.
Former Regional Brand Manager at Red Bull North America – manage regional and local marketing campaigns for Red Bull in DC and Baltimore.
Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America.
Team: Letter of Recommendation Highlights
“Alan VanToai and Mike McCabe – the founders of SimpleCrew – impressed me from the beginning. They combined the dedication and energy often seen in young entrepreneurs, with the focus and talent usually reserved for the older, more experienced professionals.” How long have you been working full time on this project?
How many people are working full time on this company?
Why are you and your team members the perfect team to lead this project?
Mike and I are the quintessential hacker/hustler duo. Mike is a talented full-stack developer with a knack for creating software that solves real world problems.
I’m a business hustler who knows the market and can sell to it.
Team Member Information (1) Team Member Name: Michael James McCabe
(1) University: University of California, San Diego & University of Delaware
(1) Degree and Area of Study: M.S. Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics (UCSD) & Honors B.S. Electrical Engineering (UD)
(1) Brief Bio PistonAgency, Jan 2012 – present: Freelance development for international companies such as Mitsubishi, Oakley and Yakult.