Instagooglflickdropbook! No, Wait, Kwilt!


Kwilt, one of Plug and Play‘s portfolio companies, is a cross-platform photo aggregation solution designed to bring all of your memories together in one place. Kwilt’s app scans across Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Google Plus, and Google drive to reconnect users with their social media content. Naturally, the app’s name came about as the company’s founders were looking for an easy way to stitch together their favorite memories using a beautifully designed social media solution. They will tell you that they wanted to call it “Instagooglflickdropbook,’ but that just didn’t have quite the same ring to it.

According to a study released by Ipsos, 1 in 5 US consumers feel that it would be impossible to locate all of their personal photos from the past year. Kwilt’s platform accounts for this decentralization by using a unique cloud-indexing engine to stream all of a given user’s pictures into one place and organize them chronologically to form a beautiful ‘Kwilt.’ Understanding that “users love their content,” Kwilt’s solution scans across multiple social media platforms to stream pictures to you in real time, circumventing the need for storage space without attempting to take ownership of your content.

A native of Montreal, Kwilt’s Michel Coderre joined Plug and Play as a part of our joint initiative with the Canadian Technology Accelerator Program. Plug and Play’s Canadian Technology Accelerator Program accelerates 20 companies annually and is run by the Canadian Trade Commissioner’s Office. As Michel was in the process of applying for a grant via the Canadian government, he was introduced to the Program that brought him to Silicon Valley for four months.

According to Michel, the process has “been great, I’ve been here since September 8th and it has been pretty invaluable for me. All the options that you guys are offering, the services, and the closeness to prospective customers has been very helpful.”

Shortly after his introduction to Plug and Play, Michel traveled with Kwilt’s team to CS Las Vegas where over 400 analysts and journalists were invited to preview technology. As stated by Michel, “People really got what we were trying to do. The virtualization, the aggregation, the indexing of all the pictures. It’s very different the way we are approaching this issue.”

Kwilt’s approach is unique as it creates a personal and complete live digital photo stream by simply indexing content and pointing users to the right photos. With different social media platforms emerging on an almost daily basis, Kwilt’s solution stands as a perfect way to keep track of your online presence.

Michel Codere’s and the rest of the Kwilt team’s remarkable success at Plug and Play stands is testament to the quality of the CTA’s entrepreneurship program. To learn more about the Canadian Technology Accelerator, click here.  To try Kwilt, click here.

12/15/2014: Last Week in Tech, in Tweets!

1. Nest has been integrated into your smartphone’s OS.

2. This week in 3d printing: the new lightsaber!

3.Smartphone sales are on the rise, but not for LG.

4. Google is planning to roll out a new feature, could compete with Amazon.

5. The Pirate Bay has released their first statement since the police raid.

6. Microsoft is making a case against the US government.

7. Uber is..still controversial.

8. These are the 10 fastest growing cloud startups.

Winter Expo Wrap Up

Yesterday we kicked off our final Expo Event of 2014 here at Plug and Play to an amazing turnout. A mix of 800+ entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate representatives weathered the storm yesterday to see pitches from the most promising startups of this fall’s Internet of Things accelerator.

The day’s events were kicked off with a keynote speech from Johnson and Johnson’s Head of Innovation, Ken Drazan. Ken’s background includes more than 13 years in the healthcare industry and 12 years in the hospital and academic worlds.  A liver transplant surgeon by training, Ken spent several years at Stanford University before moving into entrepreneurial leadership roles in the biopharmaceutical industry and subsequently in the venture capital world. Ken’s speech touched upon Johnson and Johnson’s role as a pioneer in the healthcare innovation space.

 

An additional highlight of the afternoon was the panel discussion titled “IoT and Business Transformation.”  The panel featuring Intel‘s Principal Engineer Milan Milenkovic and Kaiser Permanente‘s Principal Consultant Roger Lam was moderated by Konica Minolta‘s VP of Business Innovation Ekta Sahasi.  The discussion centered on the initiatives that major established companies are taking to leverage and align with the evolving Internet of Things Paradigm.

The day was composed of two 90 minute sessions with 15 5-minute pitches each. At the conclusion of each segment, the judges voted to select three winners by the end of the day. The following companies pitched throughout the day:

Chemisense develops breakthrough chemical sensing technology used in a distributed sensor network.
The STEMP Smart Temperature Patch is the thermometer reinvented for the 21st century, providing immediate, continuous, accurate body temperature monitoring on your smartphone.
Quitbit improves lives by helping people change unhealthy habits – starting with the first connected lighter to help smokers quit.
Advanced remote monitoring ECO solutions and better information to improve health and reduce cost of care. We call it ‘innovation for life.’
Atlas is the fitness monitor that identifies your exercises and more.
BearTek Gloves is the remote control technology built into the gloves you love.
Sensilk is a smart clothing company building sensors into clothes for the whole piece to be washable, dryable, and for all weather.
Caeden is making wearable tech that’s actually wearable- with beautiful design, clinically accurate biometric sensors, and a compelling social app interface.
We make a truly portable and unhackable keyboard that turns light into information.
Locbit provides a seamless and agnostic ‘Internet of Things’ platform that connects all of a building’s data- helping companies become highly efficient and quickly save wasted energy dollars.
Saving energy & predicting failures in commercial buildings using IoT.
DQuid enables the co-creation of connected products and digital content.
CogniVue Corporation licenses embedded vision processing technology to enable power and size constrained cameras in automotive to consumer applications to recognize objects in real time like the human eye.
The Internet of Things for Everyone.
Actually making cameras smart.
First hyperlocal marketing platform for the Brazilian market.
Elegant quoting and invoicing for freelancers.
Where makeup expertise meets technology.
Marketing automation made easy with the tools users want and the features they need.
Openball connects amateur sports participants by helping organizers run professional quality competitions.
Delivering the world’s first Brain Operating System for Brainwave Virtual Reality.
Glassy Pro has developed a Surf Smartwatch to track surf sessions and help surfers improve their performance.
The Always-On Second Screen for the Mobile User.
Reemo (Playtabase’s product) simplifies your life using gestures to control your world.
We bring real-time Big Data Analytics to the masses by making it cost-effective.

The winners from our Startup Camp were Chemisense, Truckpad, and Popslate.  Congratulations to the winning teams!

Plug and Play IoT is a 12-week startup acceleration program based in Silicon Valley. Plug and Play, along with a round-table of corporations and industry experts, will jointly select the startups that will be accepted into the program and invited to Silicon Valley.  Applications are now open for Spring of 2015.

Last week’s turnout was a testament to the quality of the entrepreneurs that joined our IoT accelerator with this past Fall’s class. We want to thank everyone who made the trip to Sunnyvale yesterday, and we hope to have you all back for our next expo this upcoming February.

Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas Visits Plug and Play!

Yesterday Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas made the journey to Plug and Play headquarters in Sunnyvale to promote the country’s innovative ‘e-Resident’ initiative. Set to launch this Monday, the program will leverage open-source public-key private-key encryption to allow non-resident non-citizens to obtain a digital identification card issued by Estonia’s Government. Said identification cards will be based on the same technology behind the country’s famed online voting system.

Located in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, Estonia regained its independence from the Soviet Union as recently as 1991. Despite having a population of only 1.3 million citizens, the country is a breeding ground for entrepreneurship. Estonian citizens are responsible for the development of Skype, and they have been using digital ID cards to power their hi-tech online voting system for the past few years.

During his visit, Prime Minister Rõivas stopped at Stanford, Google, and Plug and Play in addition to a few other noteworthy Silicon Valley locations to pitch the e-Resident program. He believes that the new card could help rapidly expedite the creation of an Estonian company or provide an easy way to digitally sign documents, which is as good as a hand-written signature under Estonian law. Rõivas has stated that the country hopes to sign up 10 million e-residents by the year 2025.

In an interview for Arstechnica.com, Prime Minister Rõivas described this feature:
“If you have a signature that is on your ID card, and you put it to your smart reader combined with your PIN, and this is legally binding, and this is equal to your handwritten signature, you can do anything with that. We have used this for 10 years now and we do believe that there are many things we can do.”

Prime Minister Rõivas came to Plug and Play via our International Partners program. Plug and Play International establishes lasting partnerships with government agencies, private corporations, technology incubators, and universities from around the world to source, identify, and accelerate promising high-tech startups in Silicon Valley. Since 2009, Plug and Play has accelerated over 250 startups from over 20 countries through our Startup Acceleration Program.

To find out more about how you can partner with Plug & Play or to sponsor an acceleration program for startups from your country, please contact Jupe Tan or email us.

12/8/2014: Last Week in Tech, in Tweets

1. Rest in peace, Ralph Baer.

2. YouTube users could encounter copyright issues.

3. Collegiate E-Sports have a bigger player base than D-1 Basketball.

4. The SEC has targeted a Bitcoin exchange operator.

5. Oculus has released a Samsung Gear VR ‘Innovator Edition.’

6. Uber is still controversial.

7. Microsoft has added some interesting features to Bing.

8. You can now download 4k videos.

9. Wireless charging for tablets!

Applications are Now Open for Plug and Play’s Fintech & Security Accelerator!

Applications are now open for Plug and Play’s Fintech & Security Accelerator set to launch February 19th! This three month program will be focused on connecting corporations and investors with early stage companies in the areas of mobile payments, consumer engagement, data analytics, and cloud & security. The deadline for applications is January 14th, and we are very excited to announce our partnership with Citi Ventures as we begin to review potential program initiates.

We will be enlisting the expertise of Citi’s Ventures team as we begin to build this accelerator. Citi’s presence as a worldwide leader in the financial industry will provide the strategic direction necessary for this program to stay on the bleeding edge of the fintech landscape. Citi will be working closely with Plug and Play to gain access to the earlier stage startups in our huge network of entrepreneurs. To learn more about the nature of this partnership, check out this press release via CNBC:

Call for FinTech, security startups for 2015 accelerator

PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Citi Ventures today announced a partnership with Plug and Play Tech Center to expand Citi’s accelerator efforts in the U.S., Germany, Singapore, Brazil and Spain. This program will utilize Citi’s global lab network while building on its first FinTech accelerator, launched in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2013.

“Our team is committed to accelerating emerging technologies that have the potential to transform financial services experiences for Citi’s customers,” said Debby Hopkins, Chief Innovation Officer of Citi and Chief Executive Officer of Citi Ventures. “Collaborating with Plug and Play adds to our internal innovation efforts and increases our ability to work with startups on disruptive new ideas around the world.”

Check out the full article here.

The announcement of this partnership comes following a very successful Citi Mobile Challenge event co-hosted at Plug and play by Citi Ventures.

To apply to Plug and Play’s Fintech & Security accelerator, click here. This three month accelerator will supplement our second batch of Bitcoin companies. To learn more about Plug and Play’s Partnership with Citi,check out this article released via Finextra.

12/1/2014: Last Week in Tech, in Tweets

1. Uber and Goldman Sachs are combining forces for an interesting initiative.

2. Obama plans to put a body camera on 50,000 police officers.

3. Google Fiber is coming to Austin.

4. Nintendo has licensed its GameBoy platform for emulation!

5. A Ferguson bakery is using the power of crowdfunding for good.

6. Do we really need more iPad variations?


7. Facebook is developing an alternative to Linkedin, seems like they just want more of your data.

 

8. This Week in 3D Printing: Star Wars Ball Bot.

9. MIT is starting students off with Bitcoin.

— Guardian Tech (@guardiantech) November 17, 2014

 

Bitwage: Leveraging Blockchain Technology to Bring Modern Financial Tools to the Unbanked

Bitwage, a member of Plug and Play’s Bitcoin Accelerator, is the simplest way to get into crypto currency. Their solution leverages the Bitcoin platform to bring modern financial tools to the people who need it the most.

According to the 2013 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, 7.7 percent of households in the United States were unbanked in 2013. This proportion represents nearly 10 million Americans currently living without access to a bank account. Unbanked citizens of the US are restricted to cash transactions and have no secure means of storing their savings.

As stated in the description of My Wallet, a Bitcoin wallet service with nearly 3 million registered users, a major inherent advantage of Bitcoin is that it enables users to ‘be their own bank.’ By signing up for a bitcoin wallet, anyone with access to SMS messaging can instantly receive bitcoins to be stored in their wallet or sent anywhere in the world. As such, it stands to reason that crypto currency could represent the most viable and cost-efficient alternative to cash hidden in mattresses for unbanked Americans.

According to Bitwage co-founder Jonathan Chester, “Bitcoin is a way to bring modern financial tools to the unbanked and underbanked all around the world. Most of the millions of Americans that are underbanked have access to SMS technology, but they do not have access to ways to buy goods and services other than cash.”

While crypto currency represents a possible solution for Americans unable to attain traditional bank accounts, the process of obtaining bitcoins is a lengthy one that often makes new users averse to adoption. Understanding this, Bitwage’s founders devised a ‘frictionless’ way for unbanked Americans to take advantage of crypto currency: Bitcoin Payroll.

To sign up for what Bitwage calls ‘Bitcoin Payroll for the Individual,’ users simply need to list Bitwage’s checking account as a secondary destination for their direct deposit wage payments. In doing so, employees enable Bitwage to receive a set percentage of their paycheck to be immediately converted to Bitcoin and distributed to their wallet of choice the next day. By accepting a portion of their paycheck in bitcoin, unbanked customers gain access to a completely secure way to store, send, and receive money. Bitwage’s platform employs the mechanism behind Bitcoin to provide these tools to those who would otherwise be restricted to cash savings and transactions.

Bitwage’s team joined Plug and Play with the second batch of our Bitcoin Accelerator that launched just this past month. According to Chester it has been a “great opportunity” for them as it’s “all about bringing corporations and startups together.”

Plug and Play Bitcoin provides seed-funding, mentorship and acceleration to startups and first-time entrepreneurs to help them bring to market the next disruptive solution for the growing worldwide economy. Our global network of advisors & mentors help startups further their product development & prepare them to present to Silicon Valley’s top investors.

Plug and Play’s Fintech & Security accelerator will supplement our most recent batch of Bitcoin startups. The program is focused on connecting corporations with early stage companies in the areas of mobile payments, consumer engagement, data analytics, and cloud & security.

To learn more about Plug and Play’s Bitcoin Accelerator, click here.  To try out Bitwage, check out their website.

The Future of Payments and Security in Retail Wrap-up

Last night a host of 100+ industry experts and entrepreneurs gathered at Plug and Play Headquarters in Sunnyvale to explore the synergy between financial technology and retail as it relates to the issue of payment security. This month’s meetup, titled “The Future of Payments & Security in Retail’ featured a panel discussion on the  future of point of sale and checkout followed by five startup pitches.

The panel discussion, titled “The Past, Current, & Future of the Point-of Sale” was led by:

During the panel, the speakers elaborated on the relationship between financial technology and retail that ultimately meets at the point of sale. They investigated topics surrounding vulnerability at the point of sale and emerging technologies set to disrupt the current landscape such as the integration of Near Field Communication (NFC) chips in high-end smartphones, cloud computing, and the advent of digital currency.

The startups that pitched from Plug and Play’s Retail and Fintech accelerators were:

Truelink is a credit card solution designed to protect senior citizens from fraud.  Their platform features an easy-to-use dashboard that enables users to decide exactly when and where a given credit card will work.

Cloudwalk offers a one-stop open payment platform on the cloud.  By providing a third party platform based on the cloud, Cloudwalk is able to manage the security of POS software for any type of terminal in the same place.

Bitwage makes wages the way they should be: secure, easy, and fast.  Their recently launched payroll platform reduces costs via next-day fiat to Bitcoin service.

AGNITiO‘s voice ID solution offers government, commercial, & public security organizations cutting edge voice recognition & voice biometrics technology.

The Trulioo family of identity verification products are built on the concept of social verification, using a ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ methodology to confirm identity.

The event was also supported by Bitwage, who demonstrated their recently developed Bitcoin point of sale integration platform at the conclusion of the event.  Using Bitwage’s new system, any connected device can be instantly turned into a secure point of sale terminal that accepts Bitcoin without any additional hardware.

Plug and Play’s Fintech & Security accelerator will supplement our most recent batch of Bitcoin startups. The program is focused on connecting corporations with early stage companies in the areas of mobile payments, consumer engagement, data analytics, and cloud & security.

Plug and Play Retail is a 12-week startup accelerator program. Startups accepted into the accelerator are leveraging technology to solve the biggest problems top brands, retailers, and industry players face today. Plug and Play, along with a round-table of corporations and industry experts, jointly decide the startups that are accepted into the program.

To learn more about Plug and Play’s Brand & Retail Accelerator, click here.  To learn more about our Bitcoin Accelerator, click here.

11/17/14: Last Week in Tech, in Tweets

1. Uber and Spotify are combining forces for an interesting initiative.

2. Retailers are turning to innovation as they gear up for the holidays.

3. Airbnb is releasing a quarterly print magazine.

4. Forget hybrids, Toyota has plans to bring hydrogen fuel cell cars to production. Honda is falling behind.

5. Type with your brain.

6. Net Neutrality is still an issue.

7. Facebook is developing an alternative to Linkedin, seems like they just want more of your data.

8. Panasonic’s futuristic idea for advertisements might be a little bit too much.

9. Your Fitbit data could be used against you in a court of law.

10. Facebook, Google, and Apple are lobbying to protect your information from the NSA.