TMCNet:  Ten apps made in Idaho you should know about [The Idaho Statesman]

[November 14, 2012]

Ten apps made in Idaho you should know about [The Idaho Statesman]

(Idaho Statesman (Boise) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 14--Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article contained an incorrect area code in the phone number for Zenware, maker of the ZenTouch app. The number has been corrected below.


-- The world of applications for mobile phones and other devices has exploded since Apple opened its App Store in 2008. Today, Apple's App Store offers 689,000 apps. The Google Play store has 600,000.

Entrepreneurs in Idaho have joined the app-making revolution. They've developed apps that can make your business more productive and your life more fun.

With the help of the Idaho Technology Council, we identified 10 apps you might want to know about and asked their creators to tell us about them.

1. LOCATE EXPRESS Locate Express asks users to "think of us as a real-time search engine." Locate Express is a virtual company, run from one desk and one laptop in the Alaska Center building, 1020 W. Main St., in Downtown Boise.

"My whole office fits in my backpack," founder Doug Joseph says.

The company's app is also called Locate Express.

Q: What inspired the app A: Google and other search engines and directories result in static office/home addresses for local services. Why Google a static address when tradesmen are out working in the field It's a more relevant search if you can find that local service pro who is available when you need them within seconds, and possibly already in your neighborhood.

Q: What does it do A: Locate Express is a real-time location-based search. The app is for the local tradesman who travels around the Treasure Valley -- his phone gets pinged with a job request if he's near a homeowner in need of his service. Locate Express finds a service pro who is available in seconds. Target users are the 131 million U.S. homes that spend over $500 billion a year on home improvement and repairs.

Q: When was it released A: January 2011.

Q: How many have been sold A: We have thoroughly tested Locate Express in Boise for over 1.5 years. We are now ready to expand into other cities. We have licensing agreements with the Snake River Better Business Bureau and now the NW Better Business Bureau covering all of Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

Q: Is this the first of its kind, or is there competition out there A: For the local services industry, Locate Express is the first of its kind. There are other location-based businesses -- such as Uber, which has received over $40 million in venture capital -- that use smartphone location capabilities helping people find town cars and taxis in major metropolitan cities without having to stand on a street corner and try to wave one down. Locate Express is the Uber of local services.

Q: What device is it designed for A: Our front-end customer use is browser-based and designed for laptops and tablets, although our user interface is so simple that it also works fine on a smartphone.

Q: Where is it sold A: It's free to use for homeowners at www.LocateExpress.com. If local service businesses want to get in the network, contact your local BBB sales associate or call Doug Joseph, 331-9999.

Q: LocateExpress in a nutshell: A: Forty independent contract professionals work with Joseph.

Q: Most people don't know: A: Our fastest response time locating an available service professional for a homeowner was 23 seconds, and our biggest service job to date was a $16,000 remodel from a 28-second connection between a homeowner and a BBB-accredited business.

2. AUDIOBOOKS FOR YOUR KIDS Tired of hunting for good narrators of free audio books This app does it for you.

Boise-based Audiobook Pop! is a small startup that consists of graphic designer/engineer Mazal Simantov, marketing director Elizabeth Rodgers and developer Eli Mor.

Q: What inspired the app A: Co-founder Rodgers says she played audiobooks in the car for her two children. The content usually came from either the public library or Librivox.

She found that process too complicated: Buying audiobooks is expensive; owning, renting and borrowing CDs can be a hassle; and sifting through thousands of books in other apps is overwhelming. She didn't want to have to hunt for good narrators.

Q: What does it do A: Makes it easy, hassle-free and affordable to listen to quality audiobooks on the go. You can listen to audiobooks from your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (Android version coming soon). The target user is the female head of household with at least one kid at home. Other clientele include: people who are interested in classic books, like Jane Austen, fairy tales, kids classics and even science fiction.

Q: When was it released A: The company's first app, Audiobooks for Your Kids, was released in February 2011. Audiobook Pop! apps have been downloaded in the tens of thousands.

Q: How much does it cost A: Audiobooks-Kids app is free. These others are 99 cents each: Audiobooks for Your Kids, Audiobooks-Sci-Fi, Audiobooks-Austen, and Audiobooks-Tales.

Q: Is this the first of its kind, or are there others out there A: We differentiate ourselves from the myriad of audiobook apps in iTunes and Google Play by theming our apps and then curating the narrators to make sure that listening is enjoyable. No matter how great a book, if the narrator is annoying, it is unlistenable.

Since our main customer is a mom with kids, she doesn't have time to sift through thousands of books. Most of our apps have around 30 titles -- a conquerable number -- especially for 99 cents.

Q: What device is it designed for A: As long as there is a Wi-Fi connection or 3G/4G/EDGE, Audiobook Pop! apps will work on your iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. The Android version is coming next.

Q: Where can people buy it A: Our apps are in iTunes as follows: Audiobooks For Your Kids, Audiobooks-Kids (Free), Audiobooks-Sci-Fi, Audiobooks-Austen, Audiobooks-Tales.

Q: Most people don't know: A: We are really an educational company. What triggered the vision for me is being an advocate for my kids. I wanted them to have a relationship with classic literature.

3. INSTAWIN Win free stuff from local businesses.

Chadd Van Komen and his business partner, Edward Kim -- who have physics degrees from Boise State University -- launched Nampa-based DED Stop LLC in 2011. They wanted to create unique apps from games to utilities for their company and others.

Q: What inspired the app A: To find a way a business could use a mobile application without building it from the ground up, saving time and money.

Q: What does it do, and who is the target user A: Users scan a QR code at a business location for a chance to win an item specified by that business. To find a participating location, just use the map within the app and look around your local area. The target user is anyone who wants to get more out of their mobile device and have a chance to get some free food or a drink or whatever the prize may be.

Q: When was it released A: It's currently in the Apple App Store -- it's in a soft-launch state as we experiment with the idea and get more businesses involved.

Q: If already on the market, how many have been sold A: The app is free to iPhone users, and we currently have almost 100 downloads.

Q: Any competition, or first of its kind A: We haven't encountered any app like this before.

Q: What device is it designed for A: iPhone or iPad.

Q: Where can people buy it A: Apple App Store.

Q: DED Stop in a nutshell: A: We basically brainstorm and code, day in and day out.

4. TSHEETS Workplace time tracking made simple.

Tsheets means time sheet -- and that's the name of the app, as well as the company behind it.

Tsheets, 923 S. Bridgeway Place, Suite 100, Eagle, is a fast-growing SaaS (software-as-a-service) company that aims to make the lives of workers better. TSheets has 10 employees.

Q: What inspired the app A: When CEO Matt Rissell owned another business in 2005, he needed a time-tracking system. He couldn't find what he was looking for at Office Depot or on Google, so he enlisted the help of a friend who is a developer. That was the beginning of their partnership in a new venture.

Q: What does it do Who is the target user A: TSheets is a web-based time tracking system designed for small and mid-sized IT companies or departments, consultants, construction, service and professional-service companies. We have customers with one employee and some up to 2,500 employees. We integrate with QuickBooks, ZendDesk, PayChex, ADP, Employers Resource, Ataraxis.

Q: When was it released, and how many have been sold A: 2006. TSheets has just under 2,000 clients in 28 different countries.

Q: How much does it cost A: $20/month base fee, plus $5/user.

Q: Is this the first of its kind, or is there competition in the market A: There is a tremendous amount of competition in this space. We are the only time-tracking system that is the defender of the employee from slow, out-of-date time-tracking systems. Employees actually like using TSheets.

Q: What device is it designed for A: We have apps for the iPhone and Android that will also capture a GPS location every time the employee clocks in and out.

Q: Where can people buy it A: Go to www.tsheets.com and click "Free Demo." Q: Most people don't know: A: We only have 25 customers in Idaho.

5. SLIDEKLOWD Create an interactive connection between a presenter and an audience.

Klowd.com, incorporated in August 2011, develops audience-engagement applications. The company, which now has eight employees, is located at 645 E. State St., Eagle.

Q: What inspired the app A: CMO Justin Foster says the back-of-the-napkin moment was at the Boise State-Virginia Tech football game. After BSU won, fans reached into their pockets for their phones. The question: How to harness all that energy Wherever there is energy or emotion, there's an opportunity to have the audience do something for you, Foster says. The app connects everyone to the presenter. One of Klowd.com's pilots is at the College of Western Idaho. They're trying to capture student responses. It differs from "the clicker" because it's cloud-based and has fewer deployment costs.

Q: What does it do A: It measures presenter performance, captures audience response and monitors audience engagement. We have two markets that we're going after and selling into -- K-12 and higher ed -- and then what we would broadly call enterprise (corporate usage). Any scenario in an organization when they really want to look good and capture audience feedback.

Q: When was it released, and how many have been sold A: August. More than 30 licenses.

Q: How much does it cost A: For corporate customers, there's a minimum monthly license of $250, or a negotiated per event fee. It's $45/month per instructor for education.

Q: Competition in the market, or is this the first of its kind A: First of its kind in this aspect: It's a platform that covers four areas -- rating the presenter, interacting with the content, cloud-based, and audience engagement. There's no app that has all four in one app.

Q: What device is it designed for A: It's any mobile Web-enabled device, including smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Q: Where is it sold A: Klowd.com.

Q: Klowd.com in a nutshell: A: The company focuses on convergence between audiences, mobile devices and the cloud.

Q: Most people don't know: A: That the majority of our seed round was funded by Idahoans. They said it couldn't be done. Everybody said we'd have to go out of the state to do it. Idaho has enough innovators, private money and angel investors.

6. OFFICIAL BOISE STATE FOOTBALL APP Get Broncos news, features and stats.

DTX Creative, which was founded by David Cleverdon in 2001, has evolved into an integrated marketing and communication services agency. DTX is at 507 W. Hays St. in Boise.

Q: What inspired the app A: Boise State Athletics is a huge proponent of interaction with fans and sports enthusiasts. As an educational institution, they also believe in utilizing leading-edge technology, and our suggestion for a mobile app was just the ticket.

Q: What does it do A: When Coach Pete speaks, fans listen. When BSU football news is breaking, fans want to be the first to know. Fans, football sports enthusiasts, potential recruits, the media and society at large benefit from the app.

Q: When was it released A: The iOS version for iPhone and iPad was released Oct. 15; the Android version for smartphones and tablets was released Oct. 16.

Q: How much does it cost A: Free.

Q: Is this the first of its kind, or is there competition out there A: The philosophy of pushing information out to fans, etc., is not new. However, it seems to be an opportunity only the upper-tier (heavily funded) schools have been able to achieve. Having this app and these specific features will put Boise State on par with or even higher than some of largest schools in the country.

Q: What device is it designed for A: This app was designed for the largest markets of mobile device users -- specifically Apple iOS (iPhone 3,4,5 and iPad, iPad mini) and Android (smartphones and tablets versions 1.6 +).

Q: Where can people buy it A: For Apple devices, go to: http://tinyurl.com/ad9z4xn.

The source for Android Phones and tablets will be through Google Play.

Q: Most people don't know: A: David Cleverdon, founder of DTX Creative, is a die-hard inventor.

7. ZENTOUCH Create, manage and assign estimates and work orders.

Zenware, 7213 Potomac Dr., Boise, was launched in September 2009. It is a technology-solutions company that specializes in mobile and web development, with mobile-centric and cloud-based solutions. The company has grown from four to 14.

Q: What inspired the app A: The founders of Zenware have worked in the mobile software space since 2000. We saw the need to create a simple mobile solution that would meet the needs of the many field-service-based businesses that are still using paper to manage workflow, dispatch work and get customer acceptance. Mobile software can move the information electronically. That eliminates the costs of moving physical paper, reduces data entry time, reduces travel time to report work completion, increases productivity and reduces duplicate data entry.

Q: What does it do, and who is the target user A: ZenTouch is a mobile field-service-work management system that includes tools for assigning, scheduling and managing mobile technicians. A customer web page can allow clients to enter requests for their own jobs. Once work is scheduled in the system, a field-service worker has visibility to the list of jobs on his or her schedule. Workers track parts and services used and can even save payment information from collections on the job. All of this data then flows into the accounting system for the business.

Businesses that manage field workers are our target users. These can be companies that have one to 50 field-service technicians or more. Due to the flexibility of our solution, we support any service industry -- HVAC, plumbers, electricians, auto dent repair, disaster recovery, etc.

Q: When was it released A: A couple of versions have been released in 2012. Customer input drives the software forward to meet their needs, and custom development is provided by Zenware to help meet unique needs with the system. A new version will be released to meet client needs before the new year.

Q: How many have been sold A: We don't release information on sales, but we are fast-moving toward hundreds of users.

Q: How much will it cost A: $1,000 company setup, and starting at $50/month per field worker.

Q: Is there competition in the market, or is this the first of its kind A: There is a lot of competition in the mobile software space, but we provide apps that are easy to learn and use. Our work-order interface is similar to paper, making it familiar to people who are less technical. Many systems are way too complex for most small businesses. Zenware software requires minimal superfluous user intervention.

Q: What device is it designed for A: ZenTouch works on most mobile devices including iPhone, Android, iPad, laptops and smartphones with a mobile web browser. ZenTouch has a web browser-based admin console that we refer to as the command center and a mobile app that shows planned/assigned work for field technicians.

Q: Where can people buy it A: http://zentouchsoftware.com, or contact us via phone at (888) 936-4249.

Q: Most people don't know: A: The four founders -- Jody Sedrick, Rod Puzey, David Wasden, and Spencer Wasden -- are not only best friends but some are family members. This creates an interesting and powerful dynamic.

8. FIELDSYNC Save time compiling data and get help managing it.

FieldSync Mobile Solutions, 943 W. Overland Road, Meridian, is a software-as-a-service solution provider. Launched in 2010, the business has grown to about 25 employees and supporting resources.

Q: What inspired the app A: We've always believed that even though businesses operate a little differently, in general they all perform the same functions, including data collection, work-order processing, inspection, inventory management, etc. We felt that if we could deliver a platform for small- to medium-sized, even micro, businesses that doesn't require IT support and allows them to work the way they are used to, or more importantly, the way they want to, that we'd have something.

Q: What does it do A: FieldSync is a role-based system that gives all users immediate and appropriate access to the information, instructions, contacts and forms they require to do their jobs. FieldSync allows a business to set up its users, customers, forms, tasks, and reports on the web and have the application automatically build out the database, as well as the web and mobile application that works with the database, including data entry, work orders, information screens, user access, logs and reporting.

Q: When was it released, and how many have been sold A: 2011. We have hundreds of FieldSync users around the world, processing tens of thousands of transactions per month.

Q: How much does it cost A: The solution can be configured and priced based on models that reflect a client's end-user base, the number of customers/clients they service, or by the volume of transactions they conduct. Starting as low as $100 per month.

Q: Is there competition out there, or is this the first of its kind A: We face competition for dollars from traditional generic business-office type applications (MS Office), but don't feel we have a direct category competitor. Due to our industrial-strength platform and data-management capabilities, we do run into higher-end solutions, higher-priced solutions aimed at enterprise-class businesses.

Q: What device is it designed for A: FieldSync works with Apple, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Windows and Mac, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, kiosks, digital signage and ruggedized mobile form factors.

Q: Where can people buy it A: The FieldSync platform is available from FieldSync Mobile Solutions by contacting us directly at 384-1204 or through our website at www.fieldsyncmobile.com.

Q: Most people don't know: A: We have customers around the globe, all of whom experienced immediate return on their investment.

9. WEBWAITR Streamlining your takeout food-ordering.

WebWaitr was created by Ferguson Technologies LLC. The company, founded in September 2011, has two employees. It is at 520 W. Idaho St. in Boise.

Q: What inspired the app A: A foodie at heart, developer Jarod Ferguson loves to eat delicious takeout. He wanted to create a simple way to give local restaurants the ability to improve the takeout experience.

Q: What does it do A: WebWaitr is a mobile commerce platform that provides restaurants the ability to receive mobile and online orders. No expensive hardware to buy for the restaurant, no apps to download for the consumer.

The platform solves the problem of handling time consuming, inconvenient and error-prone takeout and delivery orders over the phone. Restaurant customers can order their favorite foods quickly, accurately, and securely without employee assistance.

Q: When was it released and how many have been sold A: October. We are currently in beta with select restaurants in the Treasure Valley.

Q: How much will it cost A: There are two plans available. One is a starter plan for restaurants just beginning online ordering, in which they pay 10 percent per order. Another plan is tailored for restaurants once they start to see significant orders. That plan caps the cost at $79/month.

Q: Is there competition in the market, or is this the first of its kind A: There is competition out there. The space is heating up.

Q: What device is it designed for, and where is it sold A: Mobile devices, tablets and computers. Buy it at http://webwaitr.com.

Q: Most people don't know: A: About 26 percent of people order fast food online, and a majority of diners -- 70 percent of them, in fact -- use the Internet to plan where to eat.

10. INSTA-LINK Find out quickly if a pool needs to be treated.

Insta-LINK maker pSiFlow, 988 Longmont Ave., Suite 200, Boise, develops software to support mobile field-testing applications. Founded in 2009, the company now has five employees.

Q: What inspired the app A: Our founder wanted to build a system that enabled anybody to gather and analyze information about their environment. He had expertise in image processing and saw the opportunity of using smart-phone cameras as a color-measurement tool.

Q: What does it do A: We help simplify the care of your pool or spa. We let pool owners use their smart-phone camera to read a color test strip and then provide a custom treatment recommendation. We have both a consumer version and a commercial version for pool-service professionals.

Q: When was it released A: Initial apps were released in 2010, multiple improvements/iterations since then.

Q: How many have been sold A: Thousands.

Q: How much will it cost A: The consumer version is free. It requires you to use special test strips manufactured by our partner, LaMotte Co. PSiFlow shares in the revenue generated by the sales of these special test strips. The commercial version costs $150/year and up.

Q: Is this the first of its kind, or is there competition in the market A: There are other apps that help balance your pool, but they typically ask users to manually input the results of their tests.

Q: What device is it designed for A: iPhone and Android smartphones, and tablets that have a camera.

Q: Where is it sold A: Apple and Google App stores. Get test strips where you buy pool and spa supplies.

Q: Most people don't know: A: We are doing R&D on sensors that may have a big impact on medical testing. This project is in partnership with Boise State University.

-- Edited for length and clarity. Katy Moeller: 377-6413 ___ (c)2012 The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho) Visit The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho) at www.idahostatesman.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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