On a cloudy Thursday night in mid-May, more than 250 people gathered at the History Colorado Center for the presentations of the finalists in a six-week-long, app-creating competition known as Go Code Colorado.
The nine finalists each built an app addressing a problem that’s currently facing the surrounding business communities, such as business intelligence (how to measure performance), transportation (how to better navigate the complexities of traffic on I-70, for example), higher education (how to better bring together mentors and mentees, job-seekers and employers, etc.) and tourism (what attracts people to Colorado, and what experiences are they looking for when they’re here).
When the presentations were done, three teams were selected to win a $25,000, year-long contract with the Secretary of State’s office to further develop these much-needed apps. “The final event just proves that putting a resource like public data in the hands of smart and savvy entrepreneurs and developers can create great solutions for Colorado businesses,” Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said in a press release.
Here’s a look at the three winning inventions, and what they choose to accomplish:
The nine-person team at Denver-based MentorMatter believes there’s a disconnect between the skills that college graduates have and what businesses are looking for. Their app and website aim to help connect students with volunteer industry mentors to help improve recruitment and increase new hire retention. According to CEO Aiko Cheslin, personal knowledge of friends’ doubts about the future, and the team’s own feelings of a lack of direction and empowerment, led to the idea. The app’s ultimate goal? “To give others the benefit of mentorship that I have gotten in the past,” says Cheslin.
Wojciech Magda, David Crook, Jordan Majd, Kevin Winn, and Rich Kopcho are the creative force behind Fort Collins-based Pikr Knows, an app designed to help tourists find adventures in Colorado suited to their tastes and the type of activity they’re looking for, such as dates, family-friendly experiences, or touristy outings. “Our main hope is that people use our app to discover new things about Colorado,” says Magda. “Colorado really has a lot to offer, and our app gives you an opportunity to do something completely new that you might have not even thought about doing. You might think that if you live somewhere for over 10 years, you probably know everything about your area, but you would be surprised.”
Cutting down on Colorado’s traffic pollution is an epic goal in itself, but beyond solving frustrations about slow-moving highways, rectifying this issue helps the environment, as well. Fort Collin’s based Stay CO-FLOW app aims to help reduce traffic congestion by analysing, predicting, and incentivizing responsible and environmentally friendly ways to change commuting patterns. Nick Volpe, Jeremy Folds, and Vernon Volpe worked around their full-time jobs to build the app, in order to “create something useful that will help reduce traffic congestion while saving the state money,” Nick Volpe says. The app uses real-time traffic data harvested from cotrip.org and an algorithm to predict traffic at different times of the day. “It’s fun to play with our app and see when bad travel times are,” says Nick. “And it will be even more fun to continue to build it.”