So humbled that we won this award. There were a ton of great presentations, products and demos. Here is the video that won us the prize.
We at EcoLek are amazed to announce that we won the DEMO God award for Birdeez! Our presentation really came together on October 3rd, and we were selected as one of the best! As Meghan Kelly of Venture Beat puts it:
Out of the 77 companies that demonstrated their products at this week’s DEMO conference, only five won the coveted DEMO God award. These startups don’t only have great businesses, but were awesome on stage.
We’re looking forward to taking this win and continuing to build a fantastic company. Thanks to Venture Beat and all the folks at DEMO Fall 2012 that voted for us!
EcoLek was selected to launch our app Birdeez at DEMO Fall 2012 by Venture Beat. Their coverage was really great, and it was awesome to learn that Executive Editor Dylan Tweney is himself a beginning birdwatcher!
The U.S. has an estimated 48 million birdwatchers, but 74 percent can’t identify more than 20 birds.
I’d fall in that category: I could point out a red-tailed hawk, a turkey vulture, a crow, and … a bunch of little brown birds. But with 900+ species in the country, I know I’m missing a lot.
Fortunately, there’s an app for that.
Birdeez is an iPhone app that makes it “ridiculously easy,” in the words of cofounder Jeff Simeon, to identify birds and then share your sightings on Twitter. I can only imagine that if the geeky Jack Black character in “The Big Year” had this app, he’d have powered to the top of the rankings much faster than that annoying Owen Wilson character.
Birdeez was featured in MacWorld! Here is a short quote from me.
“We’re really passionate about getting people outside, exploring nature again. Kind of unplugging from their computer screens,” he said. Simeon has worked as an environmental educator, while Toerner is a recent graduate in economics and Kuo is an electrical engineer. Their company, EcoLek, grew out of a business-school project at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
While some people think social, location-based mobile apps are for the birds, others might like to use them for that very purpose. That’s the idea behind Birdeez, an iOS app created by three partners in California who have birdwatchers in their sights.
Working almost full time, starting a company and going to grad school was intense. But with incredible support from Carolyn, a great job and amazing friends and cofounders, I made it through! I am officially a Master’s of Environmental Science and Management, or MESM for short. And UCSB GradPost got this excellent photo right before I went on stage.
Amazing to think won against such a great field of competitors! We’re thrilled that we won the New Venture Competition’s Market Pull category, and happy for the coverage in Pacific Coast Business Times!
In the marketing-oriented category, the $5,000 top winner was Birdeez, a smart phone application that helps bird watchers locate and identify birds then log and share their findings. While the idea sounds fanciful as a business, the judges and audience were persuaded…
“At first we though, Birds? What?” said Mike Panesis, one of the event’s organizers. “But this team impressed us every step of the way, with both their technology and their business.”
Among the more novel ideas was Birdeez, a smartphone and Web app to help bird watchers identify, log and share their sightings. Patrick Toerner, one of the students behind the idea, notes that “birders” often spend fanatically on binoculars and camera gear – and a full-color bird identification book. “That’s what we’re trying to get rid of,” he said.
Our team definitely doesn’t follow the typical rules for a Bren School final presentation. To finish up our stellar typical presentation, Liston and Kevin put their musical skills to use with this ridiculous rap. Michael and I even pitch in at the very end.
We hope you like it!