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.

[email protected] will take place November 21st in Barcelona!

[email protected] final will take place November 21st in Barcelona! In this event we present the 10 finalists of the Open Data Tourism Hack-at-home, together with the finalists and winners of the other Opencities challenges. During the 4-month process, more than 300 developers have been involved in the creation of civic apps for the tourism in the cities.

The new Open Data Tourism Hack at home, part of the Open Cities project, brings together two important themes of the smart city – open data and sensor networks – and uses them to help European cities find new ways to manage the big challenges and benefits of tourism today.

The winner app of the Open Data Tourism Hack-at-home will win €3000 and a nomination for the Mobile Premier Awards 2014, the international reference prizes in the apps world, which will take place in Barcelona, during the Mobile World Congress.

CHECK OUT THE FINALISTS

Spot in Helsinki/Spot in Lisbon

Moovit

Sooligan

Tales & Tours

GuideMeUp OpenCities

yourInstantApp

Ztl Alert Free

Take a Hike!

QuesCou

Onfan food

THE ONSTAGE JURY

Area Manager Strategic Partnerships EMEA at Booking.com

Associate Researcher and Senior Advisor on Digital social innovation and collective platforms

The three finalists of the Urban Lab Challenge which will also present their proposals on the event are the following:

SOLUTION: facileStrategy® – The Tourism Monitoring Center (from Rudder Technologies)

Rudder’s solution is a demonstration of how the tourist promotion of a destination can be made better and more effective, when it is completely aligned with the policies, planning activities, and tourism management of the destination.

SOLUTION: CiteumArs (from Compartia)

CiteumArs helps cultural heritage managers or curators in museums, tourism offices or any kind of heritage institutions to show their heritage assets through a customizable app.

SOLUTION: Engaging Cultures Travel (from Trip4real)

Trip4real is an online marketplace introducing travelers to unique experiences. Nowhere else can travelers immerse themselves into the culture and enjoy social gatherings with locals.

Open Cities is a partially funded EU-project focused on promoting Open Innovation management in the public sector by conducting experimental driven research in Crowdsourcing, Open Data, Fiber to the Home and Open Sensor Networks in major European cities: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Helsinki, Paris, Rome and UK-NESTA (UK cities involved in the project through NESTA).

Follow the Open Data Tourism on Twitter: #odtourism

Apúntate a [email protected] antes del 30 de octubre!

¡El 30 de octubre se cierran las inscripciones para apuntarse al concurso [email protected]! Si eres estudiante, inscríbete gratis y descubre cómo funciona el mundo de las apps de la mano de expertos del ecosistema móvil. Además, los participantes podrán programar sus aplicaciones y asistir a workshops sobre los temas clave para crear apps. Gracias al proyecto Opencities, los participantes tendrán acceso a un portal de OpenData.

Al final de la jornada, cada participante podrá presentar su app ante el público asistente y de un jurado formado por especialistas en diferentes ámbitos de la tecnología. Una vez terminadas las presentaciones, se nombrarán los ganadores y se entregarán los premios.

PREMIOS

1 º Premio: una Play Station 4 y la posibilidad de presentar tu idea en la Smart Cities Expo Barcelona 2013, que se celebrará en noviembre
2 º Premio: una tarjeta de regalo FNAC valorada en 100 €
3 º Premio: una tarjeta de regalo FNAC valorada en 50 €
* Aquellas apps que utilicen datos públicos tanto del portal de OpenData de la UPF como de otro lugar tendrán un punto más en las votaciones finales

Consulta las bases y los premios en juego aquí

¡La inscripción es gratuita!


Smart City Expo 2012 muestra en Barcelona apps creadas para mejorar la vida en las grandes ciudades europeas

Se pueden obtener entradas gratis de un día para la Smart City Expo 2012 y el evento registrándose aquí

Smart City Expo 2012 acogerá el 15 de noviembre la Open Cities App Challenge, que es parte de Open Cities project, un proyecto coordinado por ESADE que está explorando cómo el crowdsourcing, open data, la instalación de fibra en los hogares y los open sensor networks pueden utilizarse para mejorar la vida en siete grandes ciudades europeas: Ámsterdam, Barcelona, Berlín, Bolonia, Helsinki, París y Roma.

Las principales ciudades del mundo se enfrentan a un crecimiento de población, las personas que las habitan necesitan aumentar la eficiencia y reducir sus gastos y, a su vez, es necesario asegurar una buena calidad de vida para el conjunto de los ciudadanos.

Una nueva generación de aplicaciones móviles está usando open data para transformar cómo interactuamos con las ciudades en las que vivimos

Para hacer frente a estos retos, Open Cities Project ha invitado a los desarrolladores a enviar sus aplicaciones para las ciudades, con la opción de participar en la Open Cities App Challenge en Smart City Expo 2012. El ganador recibirá un premio de 3.000 euros.

Las apps finalistas proceden de Europa e incluyen soluciones para mejorar la movilidad urbana, compartir información entre ciudadanos y el gobierno local, ayudar a personas ciegas a encontrar su camino en la ciudad o localizar los aseos públicos.

Nice City Passport (España)

ComunicaPA (Italia)

Huellasolar (España)

Toilet Map Vienna (Austria)

BikeCityGuide (Austria)

BlindSquare (Finlandia)

Eureka (Italia)

PayPark (España)

Hogenood (Países Bajos)

Wheelmap.org (Alemania)

La Open Cities App Challenge tendrá la forma de un evento AppCircus, donde cada participante tendrá tres minutos para presentar su aplicación ante un jurado de expertos. Además del premio en efectivo, la aplicación ganadora tendrá la oportunidad de participar en los Mobile Premier Awards, considerados los premios de referencia del sector de las aplicaciones móviles, que se celebrarán en Barcelona durante el Mobile World Congress.

También tendrán protagonismo en el evento los tres finalistas de Urban Lab Challenge, que pretende convertir las ciudades en laboratorios urbanos para facilitar el uso de espacios públicos para probar programas piloto de productos y servicios con un impacto urbano. Para este evento, se ha pedido a los desarrolladores que encuentren tecnologías de generación, almacenamiento y distribución de energía para los edificios con el fin de reducir su huella en la emisión de carbono.

Los visitantes de la Smart City Expo 2012 pueden asistir a AppCircus Open Cities App Challenge el 15 de noviembre, de las 15.00 a las 18.30 horas en la Sala 5, Módulo 2, en la Fira de Barcelona, Recinto Gran Vía.

New Open Cities Innovation challenge launching August 27th – Join now!

The Open Cities Innovation Challenge is a large, pan-European crowdsourcing experiment and your chance to create and make your mark within the city you live. Your ideas will be seen and discussed by millions of European citizens and policy makers and can help shape the future of your city today!

Open Data is hot! Everyday, governments and government agencies, publish more data on the Internet than anyone else. European cities have an overwhelming amount of data. Tell them which data you need to open now and how we can use them in sustainable apps!

The Open cities project calls for developers to collaboratively brainstorm in our Open Data Forum about these two Open Data problems:

  1. Which City Data should be opened first (not already opened)?
  2. How can we have profitable apps (profitable business models for apps)?

Get great prizes in exchange of your ideas!

The top 5 winning ideas will receive prizes summing up to €1,500 and an invitation to the Smart City Expo finale in November in Barcelona.

All participants who complete successful all the Challenge steps (including contribution to idea forums and three brief surveys at different stages of the challenge) will receive Amazon vouchers worth of €20!

And finally, all key contributors will receive a special mention in the official Open Cities whitepaper with the lessons learned, published at the end of the challenge and distributed all around the EU.

The clock is ticking! Enter the Innovation Challenge now.

Its easy.

  1. Register for free!
  2. Brainstorm online
  3. Win great prizes!

The Innovation Challenge deadline is November 1st, 2012.

AppCircus Newsletter #43 – London Calling, Lisbon Finalists and Open Cities App Challenge extended!

Welcome to the AppCircus!!!

Join the AppCircus – the travelling showcase of apps! See the winners of latest AppCircus events! Check out up and coming events! Exciting days ahead for app developers engaging with the AppCircus brand. Check out this week’s fresh news!

  • Last days to register your app at AppCircus @ Campus London
  • Few spots left to attend AppCircus Developer Day
  • AppCircus Lisbon finalists
  • 77 BONUS days to submit your app at the OpenCities App Challenge
  • Meffys Awards deadline approaching
  • WebVisions coming to Barcelona

AppCircus @ Google Campus London deadline June 21.

Last days to register your app to pitch at AppCircus @ Google Campus on July 4. Registration deadline is June 21.
The event is set to be of another great reference for the London-based app developers to showcase their talent and for the local app ecosystem players to learn about new the business opportunities in this exciting and fast-moving space. Check out the jury to select the apps and who will be judging the apps on stage at Google Campus on July 4th.
The event is free; you only need to register here to attend.

Continue reading “AppCircus Newsletter #43 – London Calling, Lisbon Finalists and Open Cities App Challenge extended!”

Sept 15th Open Cities App Challenge, still on time to submit your App!

We are pleased to announce the extension of the OpenCities App Challenge deadline to September 15!

This will present a unique opportunity for alignment between this first pan-European app competition and some of the major open data app competitions running locally in Europe:

It also presents a great opportunity for developers to participate with one app to several competitions at the same time, given the similarities in requirements and the themes covered.

The OpenCities App Challenge is a free entry competition, and your chance to create and make your mark within the city you live. Every day, governments and government agencies, publish more data on the Internet than anyone else – use their information for FREE! Your app can be seen and used by millions of European citizens and the best bit is -it remains all yours! Make money from your app idea!

….more…. Continue reading “Sept 15th Open Cities App Challenge, still on time to submit your App!”

June 21th Barcelona AppCircus Developer Day: On stage Jury Revealed

Next June 21 Barcelona will host one of the most awesome events of the season: AppCircus Developer Day, with speed mentoring sessions for developers to learn with experts, workshops and the AppCircus context with 10 great apps competing to be in next year’s Mobile Premier Awards!

Meet the professionals that will be part of the jury on stage: Continue reading “June 21th Barcelona AppCircus Developer Day: On stage Jury Revealed”

Apps4bcn: The Finalists!

The first edition of the Apps4bcn contest has been a huge success, gathering a total of 86 mobile applications. Several topics were covered by the participating apps: from geolocation-based solutions to improve urban mobility, to those that focus on leisure and culture, gastronomy and sports apps, apps that provide information to citizens and tourists, apps that encourage public participation using mobile devices, etc. The engagement of tech entrepreneurs can contribute significantly to the creation and improvement of services for citizens.

From this selection of finalists, the jury will choose the 4 winning apps, which will be announced at the Awards ceremony to be held next June 14 2012 at 12h during the BizBarcelona event (Room 4 – Palau 5).

The jury evaluated the 86 submitted apps and given the high quality of all apps deliberation was difficult.  Yet 10 finalists were selected, as announced below:

* Aparkarma – by Corkfun

* By-Taxi – by Techideas (A special mention goes also for this app, which has received the most online votes)

* CasualJobs – by OnaDevice

* Enllaç – by Aer Studio

* Fesedit – by Easy INNOVA S.L

* Firenze Virtual History – by Mondadori

* Labtrip Guias de viaje – by Labtrip

* Ofertia – by Ofertia

* OnTheBus – by OnTheBus group

* QRPager – by Car Acerting Tech

* TrashOut – by TrashOut

Selection was made as per the following criteria: app fills a need or solves a real problem; originality, creativity and innovative component; user experience; technical and operational feasibility; use of Open Data sources.

Check the full list of participants in this link.

AppCircus Developer day selected apps

We’re excited to announce the apps to pitch at the Appcircus Developer Day event to take place next June 21 at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Campus de la Comunicació-Poblenou (Roc Boronat, 138) (google map). AppCircus Developer Day is a free event that includes workshops and 1-on-1 speed mentoring sessions with experts for developers to discover new opportunities for creating revenue-generating mobile apps and succeed in the app economy.

The selected developers will do a 3-minute pitch of their app in front of an expert jury. The winner will get a chance to win a nomination to the Mobile Premier Awards, during the 2013 Mobile World Congress.

The AppCircus Developer Day event starts at 17h and the winner will be announced at 18.30h.

The selected apps include:

SetFace puts a face to your smartphone contacts looking for public images on the Internet that may have profiles, photo albums, blogs, depending on the person’s visibility and notoriety on the Internet. Available in English, Spanish and Catalan.

Dogfight is a WWI based multiplayer airplane game that is full of action. Fly through training levels all the way up to full-blown dogfights against enemy planes. Playing alone is fun but the real fun is going multiplayer against your friends

beAdSense is a powerful and beautiful Google AdSense ™ (readonly) client. Its key features are: universal application, Google 2-step verification login support, multiple AdSense accounts support, quick earnings information of: Today, Month total and Month average, quick next/prev report gestures (swipe right or left to change them quickly), month summary, month summary chart (+ landscape mode chart), among others.

QuitNow! is an app designed to help people quit smoking. It also has an advanced ‘chat’ where users can talk about their feelings while quitting smoking.

QuesTInSitu is a web and mobile app designed and built to support learning in situ activities based on tests. Users can create geolocated questions and tests (routes) in a webmap (from Google Maps). The questions follow the educational technology standard for assessment IMS Question & Test Interoperability (QTI). QuesTInSitu also is a player of questions where users can answer the geolocated questions and they are automatically corrected.

DressApp is a new marketing way for shops in Barcelona that allows them to increase sales through an iPhone & Android app. “DressApp, Your Pocket Closet” offers users the option to view and manage their clothes closet through their mobile anywhere & anytime. In just 2 months it has had 15,000 downloads.

Learning a foreign language? Looking for partners to practice with? What if nobody in your social network can practice with you? Introducing Lext Talk: the first social networking and chat app designed for Language Exchange! Search the map to find others who have similar language interests, near you or across the globe. Send them a message and start the conversation!

The first Smartphone directory for professionals. From casualjobs you may look for professionals, organised in more than 1000 categories, and become a member of the directory and publish your professional profiles. Casualjobs is different from other apps, because it actually find applicants, it categorizes them and puts them in touch with the person who needs the job done.

Make sure to never miss any of the most important sports news. Sports Republic gathers sports news from the whole world so that no one misses what really matters for them. Sports Republic has an elegant and customizable interface, and allows you to become your own sports news editor.

New Sokoban is a puzzle solving game that challenges you with a renewed version of classic sokoban logic game. What about sliding the boxes while swiping onto your device screen? What if sokoban world got new rules and laws? New Sokoban offers to you a completely new gameplay that makes solving puzzles a peaceful and brain breaker experience. Ready?

Diaro is an awesome application that helps visitors in Barcelona to get the right directions when walking through the city. With Diaro, finding buildings, monuments, museums, restaurants or other points of interest is as simple as following an arrow. No data connection needed.