Monthly Archive for May, 2011Page 3 of 14

GrowLab Accelerator Provides Startups with $25k Seed Funding and $15k Follow-on Funding

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growlab vancouver

A new Vancouver incubator has launched called GrowLab Accelerator and it provides startups with $25,000 seed funding and $150,000 follow-on funding. The “startup boot camp” also provides four months of mentorship, free office space and the opportunity to pitch investors at the end of the program for follow-on funding. The program is accepting applications from entrepreneurs globally and will be based in Vancouver for the first three months, with the fourth month in San Francisco.

In terms of who you can expect to meet, there are some interesting VCs and founders. The four founders of GrowLab are Boris Wertz, one of Canada’s top angel investors and former COO of AbeBooks.com; Debbie Landa, Founder of Dealmaker Media and creator of the Grow Conference and Under the Radar; Jason Bailey, Founder of SuperRewards (sold to AdKnowledge); and Leonard Brody, president of Clarity Digital (former CEO of NowPublic). GrowLab’s Executive Director is Michael Tippett, co-Founder of NowPublic. The investors you can expect to meet include BDC, iNovia Capital and Blackberry Partners Fund, along with Rho Canada, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Growthworks, Yaletown Venture Partners, Chris Albinson, and Mike Edwards.

The accelerator is now accepting applications for its Fall Program at growlab.ca, deadline for submission is June 15. Five companies will be chosen for the first cohort beginning August 15, 2011.

VQ Mileage Tracker Downloaded Over 250,000 Times and Adds Outlook Integration

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VQ Mileage Tracker

It’s great when developers share download numbers because it gives you an idea of what you could be making as a developer for BlackBerry, and helps dispel the myth that you can’t have a business making BlackBerry apps. VQ Mileage Tracker has announced that they’ve been downloaded over 250,000 times. The download number is likely including all those who downloaded the free trial but it’s still a really great number. Assuming they had a decent conversion rate, the company made a decent amount of money off the BlackBerry app alone.

Also announced is VQ Mileage Tracker’s new integration with Microsoft Outlook. The app will now automatically add Outlook Calendar events to user’s mileage tracking reports.

VQ Mileage Tracker is currently priced on BlackBerry App World at $9.99 on promotion. The app works on all current BlackBerry models that have built-in GPS and run BlackBerry OS version 4.7 or higher.

BlackBerry Babes: A Nigerian Movie About A Group of Girls Who Love BlackBerry

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The movie is available on YouTube and has amassed almost 560,000 views.

We’ve written a lot on BlackBerryCool about BlackBerry in Nigeria. We even had a guest post by a Nigerian named Temitope O., who wrote a whole post on BlackBerry in Nigeria…from his BlackBerry. What we didn’t know, is that there is a full length feature film made by Sylvester Obadigie called BlackBerry Girls. The film is a comedy about a group of girls that love their BlackBerrys and will only date guys that they think can buy them one. The girls are constantly on the hunt for new models and are always BBM’ing each other gossip. Here is a choice quote from the movie:

Keisha dumps her boyfriend Daniel by telling him, “Why can’t you understand that without you buying me a blackberry phone there is no basis for this relationship? Why must I be embarrassed in front of my friends?”

Continuing on the success of BlackBerry Babes, RIM should sponsor a blockbuster-style Nollywood spy movie. The movie would be like Johnny Mnemonic meets Mission Impossible. Secret agencies carry encrypted data that could topple governments, all with the use of their BlackBerrys. Only one man can hack into the RIM NOC in Canada and figure out how to break in. SPOILER ALERT: (he realizes there’s no way to break in and movie ends with him being arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounties).

Poynt Announces Partnership to Help Find Missing Children

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poynt update

Poynt has made an interesting and heart-warming announcement lately that it will develop and implement the first geo-relevant push alert system for the Missing Children Society of Canada (MCSC). The push alert system will be able to quickly notify Poynt users within a relevant, geo-targeted area with their Child Search Alerts on breaking developments of an active missing child investigation. The notification will include important information about the missing child’s active case such as last known location, physical description, photos and other pertinent details to help Poynt users in the area identify the missing child.

While there are other apps on the market meant to alert users of missing children, the difference is that Poynt is bringing its 7+ million users. Having a large install base is critical because the more eyes on the missing child the better. A good example of this is the Facebook partnership with the Justice Department and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to allow users to sign up to get Amber alert notifications of missing children.

Yet another reason to download Poynt: because it could help save a child’s life.

Microsoft Bing on BlackBerry Offers Users More Choice But Not Enough

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bing on blackberry

One of the biggest problems facing the perception of BlackBerry and its sales seems to be quality control and user experience. There are just a few user experience issues with a BlackBerry today that are crippling to the user experience. Here are the top 3 we hear:

Loading apps causes the phone to stall and you must reboot.
Rebooting the smartphone takes forever (up to 4 minutes).
Updating OS can take an hour and is fragmented by carrier.

The media and many analysts continue to erroneously claim “BlackBerry is doomed”, but fail to point out RIM has made all the right acquisitions and those major frustrations won’t be around for much longer. Take the PlayBook as a good indicator of where the platform is going. You can install an app, multitask and use the device without any issues. Rebooting the device doesn’t take long at all, and updating the OS is a breeze. The three major headaches facing BlackBerry can and will be solved. This is the right direction to go in and it seems like the Microsoft and RIM announcement is a step in the wrong direction. The announcement seems like it was made from a high executive level without any real concern for the end user. The fact of the matter is that Bing is an awful search engine and it hurts the user experience rather than improve it.
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Foursquare for BlackBerry Gets Updated: Lots of Tweaks but No BBM Integration Yet

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foursquare BBM Social
Above is Foursquare with BBM. Not yet but hopefully soon.

When we saw Foursquare back at BBWC, we saw the app with BBM integration and it looked pretty sweet. Apparently, it only took a couple days for them to implement since one of the developers already had experience with the BBM platform. We’re looking forward to when that version of the app gets released and in the meantime there’s an Alpha update with lots of small tweaks and the addition of Specials 2.0.

We’re not exactly sure what Specials 2.0 is, but it’s probably something like what Foursquare implemented with version 3.0 of the Android app. This version of specials gives more options to vendors, and opens the doors to new deals such as Flash Specials. Flash Specials are the typical door buster deals – to the first people who arrive after a certain time. More about the new specials at the Foursquare blog.

In this latest version of Foursquare for BlacKBerry, you’ll find:
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