Have you gotten your reminder about Uplinq™, Qualcomm's annual wireless ecosystem conference taking place September 3-5 in San Diego? Be sure to register for Uplinq and also for the Mobile CodeFest & Hackathon (no extra cost), where you can compete for your share of $30,000 and other non-cash prizes. The competition is already underway and will culminate on September 3 at Uplinq.
As we near this year's conference, I decided to check in with one of last year's hackathon winners, Breadcrumbs, Inc. Their $5,000 prize at the Uplinq Hackathon put them on the path to funding by Qualcomm Labs@EvoNexus, an incubator for technology startups in San Diego.
From zero to $5,500 in a month
"In May of last year, we didn't even know one another," says Sean Dominguez, marketing director at Breadcrumbs. "We came together at the Startup Weekend San Diego hackathon in mid-June to work on a personal tracking app. We won $500 for our use of Gimbal™, and one of the contacts we made on the Qualcomm developer relations team encouraged us to enter the Uplinq Hackathon later that month."
The Breadcrumbs team started building out their respective roles: lead, development, graphics/UI, market validation. They went into the Uplinq hackathon envisioning a geofencing smartphone app based on the Gimbal SDK, that would passively track the user's day without running down the battery and without making users actively check in.
Breadcrumbs spent the Uplinq Hackathon enhancing the app's functionality and user experience. They prepared their three-minute pitch, delivered it to the judges and won $5,000 and first place in the Context Awareness category.
Not bad for a team that hadn't existed a month before. And the prize money was just the start.
Into the incubator
"Once we'd won, they gave us gold plastic chains instead of lanyards for our Uplinq badges," says Dominguez, "and suddenly all eyes were on us. We had senior execs from Qualcomm and other companies stopping us to ask, 'What are you guys building? Tell us about it.' We were able to sit down and get seriously technical with the engineers who created Gimbal. It was the kind of networking that developers like us dream of."
In the exhibit hall, they stopped to inquire about EvoNexus, a technology incubator in San Diego. That led to a meeting with Qualcomm Labs, which was their first step on the road to funding.
"Uplinq is 100% responsible for our applying to EvoNexus," says Damian Cutillo, graphic designer at Breadcrumbs. "We had to scramble to meet their presentation deadlines, but all that work paid off when we were accepted to the incubator in September."
Since then, Breadcrumbs the company has received $50,000 in funding from Qualcomm Labs. Breadcrumbs the app has evolved to let you receive messages and offers from your favorite places – cafes, gyms, restaurants, shops – when you enter the neighborhood or business and cross the Gimbal Geofence. The company plans to re-launch its website and apps later this year.
How's that for a success story? Of course, the mileage you get out of the Uplinq CodeFest & Hackathon may vary, but you won't know until you try. We've designed the day so you have access to engineers for hands-on training with our technologies including 2net™, Adreno™ Profiler and SDK, AllJoyn™, Gimbal™, Snapdragon™ SDK for Android, Trepn™ Profiler and Vuforia.
The hackathon competition has already started online, so be sure to register for Uplinq now and I look forward to seeing your app at the CodeFest & Hackathon on September 3.