A Chicago-based diabetes management app and a locally-made augmented reality wayfinding service were named the two top winners of the Philadelphia Enterprise App Challenge Monday.
The second annual open call of business-to-business apps is organized by PACT, the 30-year-old affiliate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. There were two categories, Health and Wayfinding, chosen by the event’s sponsors, Independence Blue Cross and the University of Pennsylvania. Four finalists presented in each of the two categories.
Nearly 50 were in the Innovation Center in Center City that IBX launched last year. The crowd was the tech business set, made mostly of participants, sponsors and judges, of which, full disclosure, this reporter was one.
The challenge feels like an evolution of PACT’s enterprise hackathon held in 2013. The idea? Be a convener of early-stage companies that sell to bigger companies, not consumers. It’s a fitting play for a Philadelphia-based group to host.
It works because PACT brought together prize money and potential clients. Top prize earned $30,000, and second prize will be given $10,000, said PACT Director Dean Miller.
Here are the finalists that presented Monday night.
- Epicure: Based in New York though relocating to the West Coast, this healthy diet recommendation tool is pivoting to be a mobile app that integrates with online grocery ordering outfits, like Instacart.
- Adhere Tech: Based in New York, it is a patented smart pill-bottle that tracks whether patients are taking their medication and shares that information with a third-party, like a doctor, healthcare system or clinical trial.
- iDiabetes (Second Place): Based in Parsippany, N.J., iDiabetes is a wide-ranging wellness app focused on diabetes that includes glucose tracking and doctor messaging.
- Kale by Benecure (First Place): A diabetic management tool from Benecure built off its patent-pending work from Honey that uses wearable tech APIs, like those from FitBit, and Higi, the in-store health data device.
- Pocket Sights: Featuring an easy-to-create tour creation option, the service also has a “Free Roam Mode” to discover historical markers provided via open data resources.
- SailAR: Built by a team from Mexico, this is a geolocation discovery tool that uses augmented reality built entirely during the challenge period. The markers are controlled by the creators.
- Time Machine Walking Tours (Second Place): Complete with a Pokémon reference, the founders described the thrill of “unlocking” historic photos by visiting locations and using geolocation inside the app. The team wants to crowdsource more materials and build out LetsBuildATimeMachine.com.
- UPennEXP (First Place): Built by a local team, this app has augmented reality cues.
One common thread was how much work was done during the challenge phase.
Some finalists were companies that took the low-risk option to compete — particularly on the more complex Health portion, as seen with Epicure, Adhere Tech and Kale, for example. Others took their compressed development phase as a point of pride, like SailAR and Time Machine, which were entirely developed over the three-week period. The winning UPennEXP, too, used the rush to require collaboration, as noted by member Chet Dagit.
“This was a great opportunity to build a team and give a try,” Dagit said.