In my opening remarks to kickoff AngelHack in Boston, I talked about how some of the most exciting stuff happening in Boston is at the intersection of hardware and software, applied to solve serious social problems. The participants didn’t disappoint, as two of the three Boston finalists did just that. The third, meanwhile, was a cool consumer app I’d certainly use. Who says you can’t build consumer tech in Boston?
It was an honor – and a lot of fun – to be a judge, and big props to the Greenhorn Connect team for handling all the many logistics that go into a successful event. Here are the Boston semifinalists:
First Place: Pump You Up
Check out the picture above. The hardware was done prior to the hackathon, along with some market research, but all the software was done this weekend. Basically, imagine an iPad next to every machine at the gym. You sign in with your gym card and the app tracks your progress, shows you where you are relative to your trainer’s goals for you, etc. And then it tweets your workout, providing a chance for some social reinforcement/motivation as well as some advertising for the gym.
Second Place: Hubster
Where can I watch Arrested Development? Does Netflix still have it? Hulu? Amazon? Hubster is a search engine for your digital media subscriptions. In my old place I didn’t have cable and was always trying to find ways to legally download the latest Mad Men episode; having Hubster to search for where it was available and for how much would have been helpful.
Third Place: Layla
Layla is a “smart” cigarette case that tracks how many cigarettes are removed from it using an LED sensor. That data is wirelessly transmitted to the web and to a mobile app so that the smoker – or, conceivably, a healthcare professional – can see the stats. Where I personally think this starts to get interesting is when you start adding in incentives. (Provided you can be confidence there’s no cheating going on.) Here again, the hardware was done prior to the weekend, but all the software was done on site.
All three finalists will head out to San Francisco in a couple of weeks to compete against teams from SF, Seattle, and New York for a shot at $25,000 in seed funding. PumpYouUp also won a trip to Vegas along with the other city winners.
Thanks again and congrats to everyone who participated, sponsored, and organized!