With 27 million Americans starting or running new businesses, American entrepreneurship has soared to new heights. This ground-breaking growth is due in no small part to the expanded opportunities mobile technologies are offering entrepreneurs. Mobility has become an economic and entrepreneurial imperative - and it's a game changer.
As an entrepreneur and angel investor in Montana, I am inspired by the breadth of determined and agile innovators who are embracing our rapidly evolving mobile marketplace. Beyond just Silicon Valley, these go-getters are revolutionizing entrepreneurship in rural areas like my hometown of Columbia Falls and emerging tech hubs like Park City and Detroit. In fact, a recent study shows that 78% of the top grossing mobile apps come from companies outside of Silicon Valley. And for the next few weeks, I'm thrilled to get to check out some of the brightest and most insightful mobile innovators from across the country as a judge in Mobile Future's 2015 The Mobileys competition.
Competitions like The Mobileys are showcasing some of what is possible in our mobile future. While wireless technologies have dramatically altered the way we work, play, and communicate - there is so much more on the horizon. Mobile connectivity is enhancing educational opportunity, health care delivery, and environmental efficiency. In the classroom, digital visual aids such as interactive touchscreen displays on mobile devices improve learning up to 400%. With analysts projecting the app industry to grow to over $150 billion in the next two years, I have no doubt entrepreneurs like this year's Mobileys finalists will be leading the pack.
This year's Mobileys finalists are wireless pacesetters who have submitted groundbreaking mobile apps, products and services developed to create lasting social benefit. Finalists include:
Alerted, Woodbury, MN: Alerted leverages geo-mobile communications technologies, mobile data connectivity and social networking to aid in communication and recovery efforts for missing children.
Chrona, St. Louis, MO: Chrona integrates sleep-tracking and acoustic entrainment technology into a thin latex foam pad, turning any pillow into a Smartpillow.
Companion, Ann Arbor, MI: Companion is a safety service that allows users to reach out to family and friends and have them keep an eye on them as they travel late at night.
CureSearch CancerCare, Bethesda, MD: CureSearch CancerCare manages any aspect of a child's treatment and advances parents' ability to share crucial information and reports.
Foodshare, St. Louis, MO: FoodShare donates a meal to someone in need through Operation Food Search every time a user dines at a partnered restaurant.
Givella, Denver, CO: Every time a customer shops with a Givella merchant that merchant contributes a portion of the transaction back to the customer's favorite nonprofit.
SanusEO Patient Engagement Platform (PEP), St. Louis, MO: Patient Engagement Platform (PEP) utilizes mobile technology and data analytics to keep patients and care teams engaged on a daily basis.
Pro: Up, Detroit, MI: Pro:Up matches high school students to educational and career development opportunities allowing them to discover valuable opportunities.
Smart Spark, Park City, UT: Smart Spark uses brain science to help parent discover how their child learns best, and to easily share this knowledge with teachers, family, and mentors.
SPLT, Detroit, MI: SPLT functions as a carpool service for employers seeking to provide a benefit to employees, SPLT also records the reduction in CO2 emissions and miles saved.
SPROKIT, San Francisco, CA: SPROKIT reduces recidivism by better connecting returning citizens with their parole agents and probation officers.
StartDOT Handwriting, Ann Arbor, MI: StartDOT Handwriting helps children learn how to write letters and numbers correctly, and to facilitate the transition from digital to real-world ... from pixel to paper.
In addition to the top three judged prizes, the People's Choice voting is now open and winners are vying for the chance to win cash prizes, a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet leaders in innovation policy, and a place in the spotlight. Congrats to all the finalists and thanks for showing us how bright our mobile future can be!