As you may recall, the theme of the 2011 MITX Interactive Awards is Epic Battles. Every week leading up to the ceremony on December 5th, we'll be discussing a new Epic Battle. Read on for the latest discussion.
Reading hundreds of lengthy applications and reviewing URLs or PDF case studies...
Scoring every award submission on multiple criteria...
Attending a half-day in-person meeting to discuss and debate the entries...
That’s what judging the MITX Interactive Awards takes.
Last night’s MassChallenge Awards Ceremony was a great celebration of entrepreneurship and our wonderful Boston startup community. In fact, MassChallenge itself is an amazing startup success story, with only two years under their belt John, Akhil and their team have created something incredible.
1. In a nutshell, what is your company all about?
People in small businesses, nonprofits, and other professional organizations who are building their brand have a BIG problem: They want mobile apps as part of a marketing campaign, but can't have them. It takes too much time or money. It's also too technically complex to code an app, which may not even be accepted by app stores!
Appguppy solves this problem. Our free service lets small businesses, nonprofits, industry experts and professional organizations, create AND instantly deploy, mobile apps to consumers on ANY smartphone OS. Reid Hoffman has famously said, "People are now their own brands." Appguppy lets you brand yourself or your organization, with a mobile app.
2. How was your company founded and what inspired its creation?
We're a team made up of a doctor (Ash Nadkarni), an MBA candidate and attorney (Anagha Nadkarni), and a MIT software engineer (Raj Dandage) and we ran into a problem that we realized is really common! Ash wanted to brand a health blog through a mobile app and Anagha wanted to market a business school networking association. Meanwhile, our hacker was coding mobile apps for small businesses but found that that they either couldn't afford the monthly expense or got apps rejected from the IPhone App store. We put our heads together and got the vision for Appguppy: a simple frontend service for fast mobile app creation and even faster deployment through any smartphone OS.
3. What makes your company different than other companies in your Marketspace?
Our competitors are either charging expensive monthly subscription fees or still relying on the app stores for deployment. These are two major factors that limit their scalability. As our hacker found out from personal experience, organizations can't afford high subscription fees and the IPhone App store simply will NOT accept every app. So we've put a major spin on deployment using inbound marketing: Mobile apps created with Appguppy are deployed instantly via Facebook, Twitter and QR codes. As soon as you're done creating, the app can be downloaded on your consumer's smartphone in minutes! And apps work on ANY smartphone OS. Features of the mobile app also capitalize on inbound marketing: Your app integrates all of your social media, daily deals and events and offers e-commerce functionality. So anyone who uses Appguppy gets "made" and "paid"!
4. What has been your company's greatest accomplishment in 2011?
Landing clients before we've even had our beta launch! Gaining early market traction has really validated both the problem and our solution to it. Our focus on the customer, and the customer's problem, above all else, is also why we started Appguppy in the first place. We've had more than 100 people signup to create their own mobile app. We've also attracted a major national chain as a potential reseller of the service.
5. Create your own question!
Q. Hmmm, so if the service is free, how do you make any money?
Our business model is built on three sources of revenue: First, we sell Appguppy's creation and deployment service as a white label solution to marketing companies and social media strategists who need a mobile marketing strategy for their customers. Second, we sell priced plans to enable deployment of mobile apps to not just a few hundred, but mass markets of customers. So anyone gets the first 250 downloads to their consumer for free, but pays for variably priced plans for downloads beyond this number. Third, we'll be offering specialized plugins which upgrade the initially created mobile app, providing additional functionality.
6. Why are you a MITX member?
The people! MITX is an organization made up of people, both in its leadership and its members, who are truly passionate about the startup environment. That's fostered a spirit of true collaboration here in Boston. People keep writing about how we need to do more in Boston to nurture the talented entrepreneurs with roots here. It's organizations like MITX that are really helping to do just that.
Guest post by Nicole Palovich, Director of Marketing Communications, Children’s Hospital Trust.
My nephew Kyle got a red cast—promptly signed by his brothers and newfound first-grade friends. Pretty cool.
Just a day before, there was a call from my brother, reports of a swollen pinky, and tears from Kyle’s brothers—accompanied by cries of “it was an accident!” Not cool.
Kids play hard. From time to time, they get hurt. Parents (and aunties) worry. But we can do more.
In the spirit that would make the kids in our lives proud—we ask you to play. Play something—anything—for 24 hours, and help kids at Children’s Hospital Boston. Do it through Extra Life, a 24-hour game marathon Saturday, October 15.
Extra Life has its roots in the technology world as an event founded by Sarcastic Gamer. Nationally, Extra Life challenges folks to game to help Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, an association raising funds for 170 children’s hospitals in North America. When you select Children’s Hospital Boston from the drop down menu on the registration form, any money you raise supports our work right here. Last year alone, 84 folks raised nearly $20,000 to support the patients at Children’s Hospital Boston. Sure, there are kids like Kyle, treated for the bumps and bruises childhood often delivers. But some kids are going through so much more. You can help.