Startup Stories : Solomo Technology

In the chaos of learning about how to build companies, practice the perfect pitch while juggling mentor and investor meetings and successfully launch a successful business, we often forget to learn about the personal journey of an entrepreneur.

Last year, I started on a quest to dive into the minds and lives of these entrepreneurs. To find that moment that I like to call the ‘Spark’! The spark that ignites the passion for entrepreneurship, defy all norms and set on a sojourn of invincible conviction and infinite optimism.

With the help of my friends at Microsoft; we were able to put together a two day production at the Microsoft Technology Center. It was amazing sitting behind the camera and hearing these ambitious rockstars share their journey!

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The interview went live this past weekend.

Featuring Solomo as part of this series.

Solomo is a web services platform that makes brands context aware and helps shoppers get personal deals around a digital identity that they manage for their retail experiences. SOLOMO’s solution bridges a gap between retailers who want to know how their spaces are being used, and how they can be better retailers, and customers, who want all the benefits of being able to shop with context, but who want to guard their privacy and individuality.

The startup completed a $1.7m first close of its Series A round in May 2013 and intends to use the funds to accelerate product development and increase its sales and marketing activities. The round was co-led by Venture Management, LLC and Don Layden, with participation from Wisconsin Investment Partners. The equity investment leveraged additional funding from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Here’s what Deepak Rao shared about Solomo,

Startup Profile : WebCurfew

WebCurfew is a cloud-based platform to enable home automation by managing the routers (gateway) that people already have at home… and a simple dashboard to control the experience.

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The first application is an “Internet Parental Control” service that allows parents to take back control over when and how their children access the internet from any connected device. It replaces the antiquated device-centric model of managing parental controls on individual devices, and provides a simple solution by managing the central point of all WiFi internet access in the home – the router.

Here’s an excerpt from the BizSpark blog. Rod da Silva, CEO of WebCurfew has your child’s best interest in mind. WebCurfew is a real-time internet parental control website that effectively provides a light switch for any internet-enabled device in the home. According to da Silva, “Our mission is to partner with all parents to promote a healthier life balance for their children offline by helping to manage their online time more effectively.”

“At the core of our offering is a platform for controlling, on your behalf, the single point of internet access in your home – your router.”

This is compelling. These are not parental controls that are really outside of a parent’s control — typical of some software solutions that are in-browser, or web-based. Even some downloadable software operates on the PC, not in the peripheral device that feeds Internet traffic into the computer.

The company has been featured on Built In Chicago and graduated from TechStars Chicago in Summer 2013. 

Startup Diaries : Georama

 

I have been working with Chicago-based entrepreneur Nihal Advani for a while now. He is one of the most energetic and positive people I know. Nihal is the founder and chief executive officer of startup Georama, an online platform that streamlines the travel planning process from start to finish and I wanted to give you his insider perspective on the process of launching a digital platform as a young entrepreneur. In exploring the product itself, you can see how Georama strives to create a unique user experience and shines through!

Allowing travelers to plan, book, and share their trips, Georama conveniently allows you to explore destinations, create itineraries, and visualize trips on a unique and interactive map. After inputting your needs, interests and must-haves, Georama sorts through your preferences to find destinations that are a fit. From there, you can plan your itinerary, make bookings, and share your trip all in one place.

A year since its public debut, Georama based in Chicago’s co-working hub, 1871 , unveiled a Windows 8 application earlier this month.

Creating unique user experiences

Having seen hundreds of startup apps over the past few months and shipped enterprise products such as Windows 8, Bing and Office 2007; I have a soft spot for high quality user experiences. Here’s what’s unique,

1. Content based design – The Windows 8 Georama app has an organic and easy to digest flow which depends on the user’s interactions. The user is greeted with a rich visual landscape of views from all over the world. Content takes center stage! There is an opportunity to explore and also dive into specifics as needed.

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2. Do more with less – After I click on the tile that says ‘Chicago’ on the image above, a rich display of neatly organized information presents itself.

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Hotels include the hotel star rating on the tile, hostels show user review ratings and attraction are beautifully lined up. As I swipe through, the edges of images peek out revealing there’s more to view and explore.

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3. Fast and Fluid – Planning a trip is easy and seamless. The user interface adapts to my inputs and transforms to display relevant information as needed.

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The Georama website takes you through a similar flow and also lets you view cities on a map.

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Creating unique experiences is a craft and comes from a great support system as well as expertise.

About Georama

Discover the best vacation destination for your needs with Georama, an online platform that streamlines the travel planning process from start to finish. Get personalized recommendations based on your travel dates, interests, and more in order to plan, book, and share your trip – all through one convenient site. Explore destinations, create itineraries, and visualize trips on a unique and interactive map. For more information, visit www.georama.com. Georama received the Best Presenter Award in the technology category of the New York Venture Summit in June 2013 and Nihal Advani was selected as one of the “Top 35 under 35” in the travel industry at the PhoCusWright conference in November 2012.