On day one, Bill Robertson pitched an idea to innovate the way that cab drivers find their customers, particularly the cab drivers who do not have access to expensive dispatch services. The “Fare Catcher” team assembled to create a device that crawled websites for events and locations (Eventbrite and Foursquare). By Saturday, their team created a web app-generated list of locations where people were likely to be on that day (with times included). So, at night, they went around to different cabs in town to ask drivers if they’d be interested in their product. Mingming Jiang was even able to sell one of the generated lists for $2 to an interested cab driver!
After deciding to pivot their product given their market research, Fare Catcher is looking like it could be a great asset not only to cab drivers in Houston, but event-going Houstonites.Weiting Team Members: Drew Berger, Waseem Ahmad, Hrothgar McClendon, Luis Flores Ever wanted to skip the line? By linking Google Maps with a crawler that looks for the number of check-ins at any given location, weiting provides an answer by letting you know which locations in town are not at capacity. You can skip the line, chill out with a group of friends, or potentially receive some early-bird deals so that you don’t have to. Luis Flores created a great interface for a product hacked by Waseem and Hrothgar meant to help you figure out where to work and play given the capacity of a popular location. They will be demoing the web-based app tonight at their presentation. SingSomething Team Members: Adrien Pellerin, Claire Schaffer, Jesus Cortez, Linda Cheng, Linge Dai, Ian Akash Morrison, Weibo He This fun app with its intuitive user interface provides a “Draw Something”-like game for people who enjoy flexing their vocal pipes – without lyrics! The SingSomething team worked tirelessly to not only code the Facebook-based game, but to validate its usership in the marketplace from a business perspective. Basically, each turn, you chose a song given a list of suggestions within the game, and you sing it to your friend without singing any lyrics for the song. The SingSomething business teammates also came up with various ideas for monetization of the game – hopefully, the app will take off and capitalize on those ideas. Voca Team Members: Niketan Pansare, Alejandro Pena, Fernando de Oliveira e Magalhaes, Mira Chen, Westin Williams Voca’s mission is to bring voice activated technology to the next level by using your android phone to signal customized web-based APIs. Businesses and individuals can take advantage of voice-activated command functionality provided by this startup. For their presentation tonight, they’ll be demoing their product for the audience. Swag-It Team Members: Tolulope Akinwumi, Sophie Xu, Sailesh Prabhu, Yimin Luo, Heaven Chen Tolu and Sophie of the Swag-It team interviewed various fashion-minded females in Houston in order to validate their idea for an iPhone app that provides live feedback on trending “swag.” Turns out, they struck gold, because apps that are looking to rate fashion products are all the rage. “When we were asking questions about our product at a store called Happy Clothes, we ran into this 16-year old prodigy singer with fans who she was sure would be crazy about this app,” said Tolu, the team member who came up with the idea just before 3DS. Although the Swag-It team won’t be able to deploy this weekend due to Apple AppStore restrictions on timing, their app should be in beta mode as soon as it’s accepted into the AppStore. They’re also excited about the app’s potential for monetization, especially in the realm of fashion. Sommario Team Members: Stephen Noh, Chris Ertel, Paul Fitzgerald, Paul Kwiatkowski, If you’re an undergraduate, then you know the frustration inherent in creating your first resume – or even when you’re updating your resume. This was exactly the problem that Stephen Noh and Paul Fitzgerald identified before entering into this weekend. They decided that undergraduates would benefit from a free service that not only formatted and helped students with their resumes, but also deployed their resumes to companies that fall in line with those students’ experiences and abilities. With the fiesty Paul Kwiatkowski hacking away on the problem with his jolly roommate Chris Ertel through every single hour of the day, this idea for a new resume-building website, Sommario, is likely to take off.
This weekend has been a crash course in tangible, real-world entrepreneurial experience, and we’re delighted to see the cross-disciplinary action that has taken place in Duncan Hall over the past three days. We’re excited to see what the judges tonight have to say about these new companies and what their next steps will be!