An Interview With Storage Together’s Luke Amargo, Winner of Smart City Hack’s ‘Best Solution’ Award 2016

Five months of hackathons, competitions and a worldwide product search led to last week’s Smart City Hack final – and what a final we had! In front of a packed audience, as well as all the passing Smart City Expo visitors, our ten finalists passionately pitched away their apps and solutions to our jury of industry professionals. No one pitched more passionately though than Storage Together’s Luke Amargo. Coming all the way from Phoenix, A.Z. Luke laid out the app’s potential and the team’s future goals with real panache, resulting in Storage Together being awarded the ‘Best Solution 2016’ prize. We grabbed him for a quick chat about the app’s dramatic beginnings and plans for 2017.

What’s your background?
English Literature from Grand Canyon University with minors in Design and Entrepreneurial Studies.

What caused your first interest in apps and developing?

I started focusing purely on writing, I loved creating worlds. However there was more things to create beyond fiction and it was great having people rally behind an idea. This got me into developing.

Where did the concept for the app come from?

I had a car accident on my way to my college, and my items got destroyed. I discovered if I burdened my stuff at a friend’s house or a pricey storage unit my stuff would’ve been fine. So I combined both ideas and had this idea of “share economy-fying” self-storage.  Eureka from a wreck.

The sharing economy has seen huge growth and exposure in the past few years, do you think apps will continue to lead the charge?  

Apps that simply allow accountability and flexibility we’ve not had in the past. Though desktops in theory could do the same, applications have geolocation and portability, so apps are a necessity. Our competitors don’t have an app, so I don’t consider them 100% members of the “share economy.”

How did you hear about Smart City Hack?

My company does an incredible number of pitches, and this was on the radar when I was doing research at Grand Canyon University.

What’s been your proudest moment so far?
Winning this! It has been an incredible honor. We got to bring the prize back to GCU, Phoenix and to my family. I have been praying for adventures, and this was by far, one of the favorite adventures (also my favorite time in Europe). I remember also, afterwards, taking a guitar and performing right by Plaça d’Espanya to celebrate.
 
Reaching your audience is one of the hardest challenges with any product, how do you plan to attract more users?

Organic is ideal. For instance, people who refer us personally to their peers is my favorite way of marketing. However, with the need of storage being prevalent in our target market of college students, all we have to do is argue our value proposition. Money stays with locals. You save money (40% below the industry). Also, you have more space for your life! We have some guerilla marketing and of course SEO/FB Ads on the way. But I treasure organic reach.

Where do you see the future of the app going? What are your expansion plans? 

We don’t have to build brick-and-mortar stores, we have room to really focus our funds. Scalability is huge for our vision of storage since the market has been growing even during financially tough times.

We want to have a stronger app so we can scale in any city without us having to jump in and ruin the flow of commerce, so we gotta tighten our backend. We are going to expand college to college (people who love the share economy), city to city and then the whole nation. We have a man in London who wants to launch a European beta test. We are focusing on quality, since the share economy is built on trust.

AC Barcelona 2016: Winner Interview with rtist’s Duncan Campbell

Following their recent win at our homecoming AC Barcelona event, we chat to rtist’s Duncan Campbell about the app’s creation, his career and the sharing economy…

What’s your background
I’ve been writing software for the last 15 years, and apps for the last 6 years.  Just 2 years ago I founded Gorilla Arm, an app development agency here in Barcelona  Since then we’ve been making apps both for clients and for ourselves.

 

What caused your first interest in apps and developing?

Software development is in my blood – I remember being given a Commodore 64 when I was 8-years-old and instead of playing video games I spent a month learning how to write my own games.  I’ve done all sorts of development, from websites to servers to corporate apps.  But there is something really magical about apps.  This is software that bends and shapes itself to you and your needs.  It feels so much more personal.  And people LOVE using apps.  We have users who write to us to complain because we’re stealing their life away because they’re so addicted to our apps.  That’s what makes app development so rewarding.

Where did the concept for the app come from?
rtist came about when I was on a flight to Stockholm last December.  We were talking about art and about how we have many artists in our circle of friends who can’t afford to do art everyday because they just don’t make enough money out of it.  They end up working in other jobs and trying to make enough money to do their art at evenings or weekends.  I wanted to find a way for them to make more money, using their passion and talent productively.  I’d also recently seen a few people I know commission artwork from artists, and see how excited they were about showing off their work and talking about the experience.  It made sense to me to bring those two together, and offer a way for artists to make money doing art commissions.

The sharing economy has seen huge growth and exposure in the past few years, do you think apps will continue to lead the charge? 
I guess the reason that apps are taking the charge here is because they make it so easy to offer a service without being stuck in front of a computer or telephone all day.  You can hire cars or book rooms or order artworks while you’re sat on the bus, and the other party can accept and process everything from their phone.  You don’t need to dedicate your life to this – you can keep everything moving while doing exactly what you were doing before.  I think apps needs to evolve as users’ needs are evolving, but I think apps still have a lot of life in them, especially in the sharing economy.

 

How did you hear about Appcircus?

AppCircus has been a major force in Barcelona for the last few years.  I remember going to an AppCircus event a few years ago and wondering if I’d ever have an app worthy of participating.  As a Mobile World Congress attendee I have been to the grand final twice now – never thinking I’d ever make it to the same stage. Let’s see if rtist manages to join the other world-class apps on that stage in February.


What’s been your proudest moment?
My proudest moment has to be the day that we gained 40,000 new users for our app Enscripted.  We were featured by a number of large online publications and I watched in shock as the number of users sky-rocketed in just one day.  I was glued to my phone for the whole time.  It just goes to show that hard work and a good idea can pay off.

 
Reaching your audience is one of the hardest challenges with any product, how do you plan to attract more user?
We’re planning a few strategies.  Mostly we’re hoping that the artists who join the platform will hep us reach their followers – who we know are already art lovers.  We’re also planning a large Instagram campaign, as well as an offline campaign to reach more new users.

 

Where do you see the future of the app going? Any expansion plans?

Right now we’re just starting out.  We’ve launched in Spain and we’re busy making everything perfect ready for an autumn launch in the UK.  Once we know that everything is going well in two countries, we;re going to start pushing out to the rest of the world and seeing if we can help artists across the globe benefit from our platform.

 

Head to http://www.rtistapp.com/ to learn about and download the winning app

Ya están aquí, las 10 apps finalistas de Appcircus Madrid, ¡suerte a todas el 18 de mayo!

Apps para gestionar la economía personal y para el ocio son los grupos temáticos mayoritarios en los que se engloban las aplicaciones que estarán en la final de Appcircus Madrid. En total, 10 apps elegidas entre 66 participantes que competirán el día 18 en el Madrid International Lab. Aquí las tenéis:

Videona, una aplicación para Android con la que se puede grabar, editar y compartir clips en tiempo real. 

Mooverang, aplicación para Android e iOS con la que gestionar las finanzas personales, que además da consejos personalizados, avisos y recomendaciones.

Free Touring, una aplicación para Android que promueve el turismo colaborativo al poner en contacto a guías y turistas para organizar freetours sin intermediarios.

Catawiki, con esta app para Android e iOS el usuario puede participar en subastas online semanales de artículos singulares.

Weplan, una app gratuita para Android e iOS, para controlar el gasto telefónico y encontrar la mejor tarifa.

FanDazTap, app para Android con la que el usuario puede jugar con su música favorita llevando el ritmo con los dedos y competir con los amigos para ver quién lo hace mejor.

The Circle of Health es una aplicación disponible para iOS que ayuda al usuario a mejorar su salud cardiovascular.

Thingthing Keyborad es una app para iOS ideal para las persona que trabajan desde el móvil ya que permite acceder a distintos documentos desde un único teclado.

Womenalia App, diseñada para Android e iOS, permite acceder a la primera red social networking de mujeres.

Y myBeweeg Trainers & Workouts, una app para Android e iOS con la que el usuario puede encontrar entrenadores personales o acceder a entrenamientos personalizados.

El jurado de expertos encargado de elegir la ganadora estará formado por: Elia Méndez, Managing Director Spain en la Mobile Marketing Association, Carlos Rodríguez, Fundador y CEO de Wazypark, Alberto León, Global Partnerships Senior Manager en Telefónica, Diana Morato, CEO de Deliveroo España, y Javier Castro, especialista en Promoción de Apps de Google.

Precisamente Javier Castro será el encargado de impartir el keynote con la charla ‘Find the right users, find success’, dirigida a desarrolladores y centrada en la promoción de apps en Europa. Castro, que desarrolla su labor profesional en Google Irlanda, vendrá expresamente para hablar sobre la importancia de encontrar los usuarios adecuados para que una app tenga éxito. También compartirá su experiencia con nosotros Jorge Guijarro, fundador de The Long Finger Company, cuya app Schooltivity como sabéis ganó la edición 2015 de Appcircus Madrid y el Audience Award en los Mobile Premier Awards 2016.  

Los que queráis venir ya os podéis apuntar gratuitamente en este enlace. El aforo es limitado por lo que os recomendamos hacer la inscripción cuanto antes. Y como siempre, después de la competición tendremos un rato para networking entre todos los asistentes, pero eso sí, con una cervezita y unas tapas de por medio 😉 

Recordamos que Appcircus Madrid ha contado con la colaboración del Ayuntamiento de Madrid y con Andro4all, Difoosion, PickASOIpadizate, e ITespresso como media partners.

Os esperamos a toda la comunidad de desarrolladores de Madrid, ¡no faltéis!

An Interview with CatchMyPain’s Daniel Lawniczak, AC conhIT 2016 Winner

Following their recent win at our conhIT event we chat to Sanovation AG/CatchMyPain CEO and co-founder Daniel Lawniczak about the app’s creation and the future of mHealth…

Where’d the initial idea for the app come from?

I am a chronic pain patient myself. It took me several years and over 20 visits to different doctors until I finally found the right diagnosis and the right set of treatments for my problem. It was an excruciating odyssey. During that time I had a constant thought in my mind: There must be other patients on this planet having the exact same problem like me and some of them must have found a solution already. I wanted patients to be able to learn from each other. That’s why I started working on CatchMyPain in 2009.

Was the community aspect of the app something you intended to
include from the beginning?

Yes, based on my own experience, I assumed others would love to talk to other patients as well. Friends and family try to help but only a person who has the same condition can really understand what it means to deal with it on a daily basis and can give meaningful advice.

Reaching your audience is one of the hardest challenges with any product, how did you attract patients to the app?

So far, we have reached over 130’000 users worldwide. Our key drivers are app store optimization and word of mouth. We’ve spent only a couple of hundred dollars on ads to drive users to our app.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned with the success of the app so far?

Keep it simple and focus on the one feature that has the biggest impact on your users.

What’s been your proudest moment?

Every time I check our app reviews or user feedback, I see what positive impact our app is having on patients around the world. I am very proud to see that our small app can make such a big difference in people’s lives.

There’s been a lot of buzz around mHealth apps recently and Apple
has just released its first CareKit apps this week. Where do you see
the sector going in the next few years?

mHealth is the most exciting sector right now. 90% of healthcare still works the same way it did 50 years ago. This will dramatically change within the next 10 years. Big players will be out of business and new companies will emerge. I am glad to see big players like Apple driving innovation and pragmatic standards. Yet, the most important driver for change are innovative startups like us who focus on and understand the needs of the most important stakeholder in the healthcare business: Patients.

What next for CatchMyPain?

We are working on a big relaunch of CatchMyPain under the name Pain Companion. Besides a modern design, we are introducing some new exciting community features. The relaunch should happen end of May or June 2016. Besides our own app, we are working on a couple of exciting projects with companies in the healthcare sector.

For more information visit CatchMyPain.com and its company Sanovation.com

AppCircus Barcelona 2016 is underway!

 

On June 30th, the mobile capital Barcelona will hold an event that will bring together the most innovative developers and trendsetters within the Catalan capital of apps.

AppCircus Barcelona will be held at Antiga Fabrica Damm and any company, startup or developer with a mobile app that wants to be part of the event can participate. There are no restrictions on theme and the event is open to apps designed for any sector – the only limitation is the imagination of the coders and developers themselves!

Registration is free and easy to enter, just click on this link and follow the steps. The deadline for submitting apps will be June 12.

A jury of online experts will choose 10 finalists by mid June, these 10 will then be giving the chance to pitch their app on the big night. They’ll just have 180 seconds to highlight the most relevant aspects of their product and convince an onstage jury of industry professionals why their app is the best.

If you haven’t participated before now is the time to revel in the thrill of live competition. After the event there will be time for networking amongst key industry leaders while drinking a beer in the fantastic scenery offered by Antiga Fabrica Damm.

What can you win?

The winning app will be nominated for the Mobile Premier Awards 2017, the biggest (and most fun) app show on earth which takes place on the first night of the Mobile World Congress.

Interested?

Click on “Submit your app” and register. And remember that it’s free!

Good luck!