It’s no secret that the District is home to a growing number of startups, but what you may not know is that some of these companies have developed D.C.-centric mobile applications, too. From an anonymous messaging application that helps Capitol Hill insiders secretly drop hot gossip to a comparison tool that allows users to check the price of a grocery item between different D.C. grocery markets, these applications are not only interesting, they can also be useful.
Here’s 5 D.C.-centric mobile apps:
Cloakroom (iOS, Android) — Washington, D.C.
Born and bred in the corridors of D.C.’s political labyrinth, Cloakroom is an anonymous messaging application in the vein of Yik-Yak that includes a geo-location specific boundary around Capitol Hill. Users can only access the application when they are within the bounds of Capitol Hill, meaning that the app carries a selective audience and user base. The idea is to provide a secure and anonymous forum for hill staffers, interns and representatives so that they can communicate with one another about a range of topics, including hot gossip, policy debates and campaign strategy. To log in, a user must register with a .gov email and provide some basic profile information (this is optional). Founder Ted Henderson previously DC Inno that CapitolBells, the developers behind Cloakroom, hoped to attract 10 percent of the 15,000 Capitol Hill staffers to their application in time for Congress’s August recess.
StockUp (iOS, Android) — Washington, D.C. / New York City
StockUp, founded in D.C. by creators Blue Tiger Labs, the app helps users find the best local prices for specific grocery products. By searching for a product or scanning its barcode, users are able to compare prices between neighboring stores. All of the information is user generated; prices are recorded and reported by other users. The company claims that it has more than 500,000 products and 81 million prices catalogued already. In the District, groceries can be expensive and finding creative ways to save money can be crucial. StockUp helps in this effort by making sure you know the best local price for an item.
Smithsonian Mobile (iOS, Android) — Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian Mobile was created as a sort of virtual assistant to help Smithsonian Museum visitors navigate large museums and explore new exhibits. But the app is truly much more than your average white-label touring software. The app offers a depth of rich, high-resolution photos and video to accompany users during their walk past exhibits. “Find out what’s on where, discover highlights, search our collections, access tours, podcasts and other apps. Add tips and photos from your visit for other visitors, or share your experience,” Smithsonian writes about the application’s capabilities. More recently, Smithsonian added an augmented reality (AR) feature called “Smithsonian that Way,” which offers users the chance to “discover” behind-the-scenes content about the institution’s museums, research centers, libraries, archives and affiliates outside their grounds.
Yopine (iOS, Android) — Washington, D.C. / National
Yopine was born out of D.C. tech incubator 1776 and the polling-centric, message-based application has become increasingly popular. It all starts with a simple question posted by a user to an open forum, where other users can chime in via a polling feature. Yopine can be described as an application to help make crowdsourcing-based decisions around a specific question. While it may seem gimmicky up front, in cases where a user is in a new area and they may not familiar with their surroundings, the application can provide an organic query for restaurant recommendations or other neighborhood attractions. Yopine polls and user interaction can also be controlled based on the proximity of the user offering the question — meaning that inquiries to the “community” can be hyperlocal.
CofounderLabs (iOS, Android) — Rockville, Md. / National
— CoFoundersLab (@CoFoundersLab) May 21, 2015
Based in Rockville, Md., CofounderLabs works to help users do one thing: find fellow innovators who would like to collaborate on projects and other business ventures. Acting as a social network of sorts, users fill out in-depth CofounderLabs profiles that include professional experience information, personal information, personal photos, industry interests and location. The application works like a matchmaking service to pair up users with one another based on a number of shared similarities. Finding a compatible co-founder to form a startup can be tough—and this application hopes to bridge that gap. CofounderLabs, which is a Onevest company, has raised $1.1 million to date.
ID.me (API Provider) — Tysons Corner, Va. / National
The D.C. area is home to a large population of veterans and current military personnel. For those searching for businesses and services that offer military discounts, it can be a tedious and time consuming process. Some businesses are less strict on proper identification than others and sometimes it can even be difficult to find an ID between belongings. ID.me verifies military credentials and partners them with brands. ID.me is not an application, but rather the company’s API is used by a number of brands/companies who then place it within their own mobile applications.
In the past, businesses have been worried about fraud and/or abuse when promoting military background-specific deals via their own websites and applications. ID.me simplifies and secures this process. In general, online verification offers a significant market and D.C.-based ID.me is gaining momentum at a good time.