This post is part of our June series on start-ups. We reached out to some of our favorite local start-uppers to find out how they're innovative. This post is by Raj Dandage. Raj has a BS and MEng from MIT and has 10 years of experience leading innovative software companies, beginning with founding and selling Cognate Technologies while still in college. He has been working in the mobile space since he founded the Next Generation Mobile Classroom at MIT, in partnership with Microsoft. Most recently, Raj served as lead architect at WolfPAC Solutions where he architected the flagship WolfPAC product, in use at hundreds of banks worldwide. He has been profiled in Crain's Business Magazine and Mass High Tech and has been quoted in publications such as the Washington Times, United Press International, and eWeek. He has also appeared on numerous TV and radio stations. Raj currently serves as president of the board of directors of the nonprofit OneWorld Classrooms.
A couple of days ago, I was walking to my favorite Mexican food truck for lunch when I had an unpleasant surprise - it wasn’t at its usual location. That could mean several things. Had they launched a new menu and found greater success for their eats in a different neighborhood? Did they take the day off? Worst case scenario – maybe they had gone out of business?!
Naturally, I got my phone out and started my hunt. I quickly considered which app would give me the speediest results – I decided to take a shot at Twitter. I happen to follow several food trucks and love getting their updates. But to my dismay, it was impossible for me to scroll through the millions of other tweets coming at me at the same time. Sure, I could create a few lists on Twitter, clean up my stream a little. But it certainly struck me at that moment, when did social get so noisy?
My vision for my mobile startup Appguppy has always been that anyone can be their own mobile storefront. Just about everyone has extensive and sometimes fragmented digital media presence. So why not put it together in the form of a news update, add in mobile commerce and a dash of geo-location to come up with a mobile app that functions as your own mobile storefront.
Food trucks included! As my stomach grumbled away, I would have loved to refer back to my food truck’s mobile app, use the geo-location feature that Appguppy offers to locate the truck’s new whereabouts, and check out any changes in their menu for the day through our news feed capability.
The appeal to some of social may be its very noisiness. It’s exciting to build an audience, flattering to have an offhand remark retweeted and touted as wisdom. I would know. I totally get a thrill when that happens to me.
But as a consumer, mobile lets you have a private, two-way conversation with a brand. And for the brand? It’s a chance to bolster business with existing customers in innovative ways.
I’m excited to have architected a technology that democratizes going mobile for just about anybody. I’m also excited to see how it will continue to burgeon, especially as Appguppy takes a specific marketing approach to all of our possible verticals of customers. But one thing’s for sure – my immediate move is going to be make my next user my favorite food truck!