Sacramento’s $10 Million Innovation Fund

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On June 21st, the Sacramento City Council unanimously approved a $10 million Innovation and Growth Fund.  The purpose of the fund is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship within the City of Sacramento.  As Mayor Kevin Johnson states, “A more diverse, more entrepreneurial economy means a stronger Sacramento: more jobs, more innovation, and mostly a better quality of life for all of us.”

The fund is one of the largest of its kind.  In comparison, Los Angeles’ Innovation Fund only has a $1 million.  In addition, the fund will continually generate $2 million annually.

Currently, $1 million dollars has been earmarked for the RAILS (Rapid Acceleration, Innovation, and Leadership in Sacramento) with Grants (ranging from $10 k – $250 k) being given out in these three categories:

Acceleration Grants:  Given to accelerators and incubators supporting Sacramento Startups

Innovations Grants:  Civic Tech companies and organizations that foster the innovation community

Leadership Grants:  Educational programs that help train entrepreneurs in technology and Leadership.

If you are interested in applying for a grant, you can do so here.   The deadline is July 22nd.

$500 K has been earmarked for the Economic Development Department to attract technology companies to move or expand in the area.  According to Ash Roughani, Program Manager, “Sacramento is also exploring venture fund investments to increase access to capital for area startups and put Sacramento on the map. “

“Sacramento is truly starting to become a hub of innovation, entrepreneurship and technology and it’s something I’m really, really proud of,” stated Mayor Johnson.

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

 

Aging 2.0 Sacramento Startup Competition

Sacramento-CA-USA

The mission of  Aging 2.0 is to accelerate innovation that improves the lives of older adults.  They have a venture fund and an accelerator for Startups that focus on senior care and aging issues.  In addition, they are conducting the Aging 2.0 Global Startup Search which is a series of 40 local aging focused startup competition that culminates in a Final Showcase to be held in Sacramento on October 13.

On June 30, Aging 2.0 held a startup pitch competition in Sacramento.  Over 50 startups applied to compete in the competition and 8 companies were selected.  These are the winners selected by the 4 person judging panel (for which I was a member):

1st Place:  Stack

Stack Labs has developed a responsive lighting system that is able to provide circadian lighting, sense occupancy, and light sensing.

2nd Place:  Hello Nurse

Hello Nurse has developed an Eldercare system that helps detect falls and bed moisture of elder residents.

3rd Place:  PT Tracker

PT Tracker is a Sacramento based startup that is developing a solution to improve compliance with Physical Training through a mobile app and wearables.

Stack also won the audience choice award which was determined by the popular vote of the local audience.

Stack will go compete with other area winners at the Final Showcase on October 13.  The event was a great success in promoting the Sacramento startup scene and the Aging Innovation Space

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

Apptology is Recognized by the California State Legislature as a 2014 Small Business of the Year Finalist

Apptology a Finalist for Small Business of the Year

Apptology a Finalist for Small Business of the Year

Apptology, an award-winning mobile applications development and mobile marketing company based in Folsom, was recently awarded as a 2014 Small Business of the Year Finalist by Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan (ninth assembly district) and the California Small Business Association.

Honoring outstanding leadership and exceptional service within the community each year, Assemblyman Richard Pan partners with the California Small Business Association to honor a “Small Business of the Year.” This year, Apptology was selected as a finalist “for their hard work and commitment to providing valuable services that has significantly contributed to the well-being of our region, thereby benefitting all the people in the State of California.”

“I believe that entrepreneurship and innovation is what makes America great and we are humbled to receive this recognition. This award is a source of great pride to all of us at Apptology,” said Rich Foreman, Apptology CEO and founder.

According to Foreman, in the past two years, the app market has “exploded.” In less than nine months, the Apple store reported over a billion downloads then doubled the number in half the time. The app craze has now spread to Android, Blackberry, and every other mobile market under the sun. Apptology has been serving clients for over four years and is unique in their service offering because they are the only company to offer a comprehensive suite of ReadyBuilt affordable solutions for the mobile applications industry for the SMB, according to Foreman. Their management team consists of entrepreneurs and industry pioneers from Silicon Valley and Fortune 500 companies working in mobile, interactive and new media technologies. Apptology also has a team of nearly 100 developers who have created hundreds of applications for various companies around the world on all mobile platforms.

On Jan. 24, 2014, Apptology was awarded the 2014 Small Business of the Year Award by the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce at the 21st Annual Installation and Awards dinner.

California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg described Apptology as “a company that exemplifies technology in the 21st century.”

For more information about Apptology, visit www.apptology.com or call 877-990-APPS (2777).

 

Marketing Research Chart: Top Mobile Marketing Objectives

Whenever marketers begin to investigate the implementation of a new tactic, it’s likely that the first questions asked are, “Why should I do this?” and “What are our goals in doing so?” Mobile is no exception.

When asked about their top objectives, 63% of respondents indicated they hoped to increase sales conversion, followed by increasing lead generation (55%) and lead nurturing (50%). As we learn — somewhat unsurprisingly — in subsequent charts in the Benchmark Report, sales conversion was the top choice for B2C companies, while their B2B counterparts focused on lead generation.

If you’re a B2B marketer, do you see mobile as a viable lead nurturing channel? What types of lead nurturing tactics have you employed in your mobile marketing? What restrictions, if any, have you faced in nurturing leads through mobile efforts?

Despite the fact that increasing sales conversion was a top mobile objective for 63% of marketers, improvement of the customer service experience was a low-ranking category, at just 19%.

Has your company used mobile to improve the customer shopping experience? How have these efforts paid off for your company? Does your company’s approach reflect these findings, or do you feel focusing on the lowest-ranked categories might benefit mobile efforts?

 

 

 

 

Apptology at California Women’s Conference

Look for Apptology, Booth 801 at the California Women’s Conference in Long Beach, Sept. 23 & 24.  Apptology is showcasing their portfolio of mobile applications which has reached  nearly 200, with over 3 million downloads.   Their success is due to the 2012 Spring launch of a new low cost line of ReadyBuilt mobile applications that are customized specifically for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) including real estate professionals,  dental and medical  facilities, restaurants and bars, salons, spas, non-profits, professional organizations, and retail and grocery stores.

Apptology has been creating mobile applications for over two years with a development team of over 100 software engineers.  They have had recent success developing applications for small companies who are using apps as a marketing platform to engage their customer base.  They are also getting mobile app requests from larger corporations including the California Woman’s Conference, Round Table Pizza, Siemens, and Billboard Chart musician, Nicholas Gunn. Apptology has also developed partnerships with technology companies including Nuvel and BizHappy.  Apptology’s most popular apps with the largest amount of downloads have been from a Facebook chat application, a drug testing resource app for parents, and BizHappy’s mobile business directory.

“With research indicating mobile app downloads are over 45 billion and growing, we think there is only one direction for Apptology’s growth to go and that is up,” said Rich Foreman, Apptology CEO.  “Our development and project management teams are very busy with both our custom and ReadyBuilt product offerings, and we currently have a healthy pipeline of work,” he adds.  “We are beginning to expand our business developing resale partnerships with companies such as digital and social media agencies, franchises or other businesses who can resell mobile applications to their client base,” explains Foreman.

Apptology’s ReadyBuilt mobile apps are a low cost application that customers can purchase for as low as $550 per platform, including iOS, Android and Blackberry, with a nominal monthly hosting fee.  ReadyBuilt apps are popular for the Small Business clients because they are a marketing platform for sending promotional text alerts, geo-based coupons, utilizing m-commerce functionality and integrating social media for sharing.  In addition to mobile applications, Apptology also offers clients mobile marketing services including custom branded QR codes, push notifications and mobilizing websites.

Kevin Fitzgerald, VP Sales at Apptology states, “We are here at the California Women’s Conference because we think there is a huge opportunity with woman-owned businesses, large and small.”  He explains, “We created a mobile application for the conference to show off our ReadyBuilt app capability, giving attendees information about the event, speaker bios, link to blogs, media gallery, accommodation information, directions, and social media links.”  Fitzgerald adds, “Women are leading the way with adopting technology and we look forward to working with these companies to help them expand their marketing capabilities.” The California Women’s Conference app works on all platforms and is available in all the app stores.

Learn more about Apptology.com.

Apptology Delivers Affordable “ReadyBuilt” Mobile Applications to the Masses

Apptology announced today the launch of a new low cost line of ReadyBuilt mobile applications customized specifically for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) including real estate professionals, the dental and medical field, restaurants and bars, salons, spas, non-profit and professional organizations, retail and grocery and many other business types. These ReadyBuilt applications are developed for iPhone, iPad and Android devices and cost $550 to publish on all three platforms with a $49.95 monthly hosting and service fee.
Apptology is a start-up technology company that has been developing custom mobile applications for over two years and has over 100 applications in its portfolio which includes apps for businesses, games, entertainment, pizza ordering, calculators, directories, training, tourism and many more. The last couple of months Apptology has shifted its focus and is now positioned to take advantage of offering ReadyBuilt mobile apps at a lower price point while providing a highly functional sales and marketing tool to a large population of companies who never considered utilizing a mobile application to market their business.
“There are over 80 million smartphones in the United States and they have become a key communication device for many individuals,” said Rich Foreman, Apptology CEO. “Apptology’s ReadyBuilt apps give the SMB market a cost effective solution to leverage the incredible power of the smartphone to promote their business,” he explains. “For a few hundred dollars, a small business can have their own feature-rich app that normally would cost tens of thousands of dollars to develop from scratch,” adds Foreman.
Apptology ReadyBuilt mobile apps are a FREE download for customers and capabilities range with each business type, but some of the featured functionality includes:
• Push Notifications/Text Alerts: Businesses can send promotions, event information and messages to their customers which is extremely powerful because push notifications have a 97% read rate compared to 3% for email.

• Lead Capture: Customers who download the app are instantly asked to join a mailing list.
• Appointment Confirmation: Businesses can communicate, schedule appointments and send confirmations through text alerts.
• Information Delivery: Informational and educational content on products, menus or services can be posted and includes an image gallery for showcasing photos, and the app can stream live content through YouTube.
• Incentives: Retail companies, salons and restaurants can send GPS-based coupons to persons who are in geographic range of the business for discounts on products, meals or services.
• Ecommerce: Companies can showcase and sell products through shopping cart integration.
• Built-in Calculators: Tip calculator for restaurants and mortgage calculators for real estate.
• QR Code Scanner: The app includes a built-in QR code scanner for customers to use at businesses who use QR codes.
• Social Media: Customers are asked to share information, specials and images through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – this allows the app to generate referral business through social media.
• Links: Allows embedded website links to access other external sources of information.
Apptology is reorganizing its sales, marketing and development teams to prepare for what may be a huge onslaught of business from companies and organizations who never considered branding and marketing their business with a mobile application. They are looking to expand their sales force to compensate for substantial influx of business and positioning themselves for success in this growing market.
Foreman states, “We believe companies are starting to understand that having a mobile application to brand their business is as critical as having a website, and Apptology is ready to deliver this capability at an entry level price point so any size company can participate in mobile marketing.” He adds, “We truly believe that our ReadyBuilt apps will take our company to the next level and we are excited to be offering these inexpensive marketing tools to the masses.”

Smart Phones: The Evolution of Communication

The iPhone and similar devices are changing the way we communicate. The iPhone has a faster processer than a three year laptop. With its built in GPS, it knows where you are. With its built in compass, it knows what direction you’re going. It has a built in camera. It can record both video and audio. You can access the Internet. You can text. You can listen to your music and watch movies. Oh, yeah, don’t forget, you can use it as a phone. All this and it fits in your pocket and cost as little at $49 with two year cell phone agreement.
There are nearly 200 million Smart Phones worldwide. Morgan Stanley & Gartner Research are predicting that within the next four years mobile devices will be the No. 1 access point to the Internet worldwide. As a business, you need to develop a mobile strategy so that your business can evolve with the way your customers, employees, and clients communicate. If you are not, your competitors are. In my next blog, I’ll discuss factors you should consider in developing a mobile strategy for your business.
For more Information on iPhone App Development please visit www.apptology.com

The App Entrepreneur (Appreneurs): Selecting a Mobile App Developer

About a fourth of our business is picking up after other developers who left their customers with an incomplete app or a buggy app. In this blog, I will talk about factors in selecting a developer for your app. Some of the points are obvious; others may give you some food for thought.From my last blog, I discussed getting quotes from several developers in order to determine the cost of your app as part of developing your business plan. If you’re looking to get a quote from U.S. developers, iPhoneAppQuotes.com is a terrific free resource that promises to provide at least 3 quotes from U.S. based developers. Of course, you can always Google Mobile App Developers and contact the developers that show up on the search results.If you don’t mind dealing with off shore developers, guru.com, elance.com, oDesk.com are good resources. In my conversations with some other U.S. based developers, they tend to stay away from guru.com type sites because they quickly become commoditized. Continue reading

The App Entrepreneur (Appreneurs) : Develop a Business Plan

If you plan on making money with your apps, you really should develop a business plan. You can Google “Business Plan” and see many resources. I particular like this one from the U.S. Small Business Administration. By writing up a business plan, it forces you to consider:Market conditions including the competitive landscape: What’s the market for your app? What’s the competition doing?

How you plan to market and sale your app? This is crucial. Just by publishing your app on the App Store isn’t enough. The game plan from the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come,” just doesn’t apply to apps. Your app is literally competing with 400,000 other apps. You need to figure out how to market and sell your app.
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The App Entrepreneur (Appreneurs): Develop your idea

Since Apptology first went into business last year, I’ve literally talked to hundreds of people who want to create their own mobile phone app. There are several reasons people want to develop their own app and they usually include:

  • Make money (I’ll call these folks Appreneurs )
  • Promote their own business or cause (App Marketers)
  • For fun (App Hobbiests)

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