On October 19th of last year, Startup Weekend Phoenix kicked off it’s 54 hour event at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. It was an intensive three day period where many Valley folk got together to share ideas, form teams, and (hopefully) launch successful startups. Developers, designers, managers, marketers, wannabes, and enthusiasts were all in attendance, and they were are all looking to come up with the next greatest iPhone app. One attendant by the name of Adam Mann who is a local designer known best for Simply Adam Mann, decided to go to the event (at the very last minute) and see how far his latest app idea would go. It would solve a simple, yet practical transportation problem in Phoenix.
Much to his surprise, after the first night, Adam’s app idea was rated among the Top 10 out of all 51 pitches that were given. What’s the idea you ask? Find My Train was thought up as an app to let you know when the next Valley Metro Light Rail is scheduled to arrive (based on your current geographical area). Going through the weekend, a quick prototype of Find My Train was crafted, team members Adam Mann, Al Wold, Brett Farmiloe, and Michael Witham joined forces, and finally, they took 2nd prize at the closing ceremonies on Sunday. To quote the “Story” page of the Find My Train website, “the team was given awesomely-tacky trophies and was showered with $15,000 worth of prizes” for their accomplishment. Sounds pretty cool.
Following the success they had at Startup Weekend Phoenix, the Find My Train team went through the first ever ASU Rapid Startup School Program. The sessions took the approach of teaching the “Lean Startup Canvas” model, and helped the team formulate thoughts and app feature ideas. A main driver for what they included in the app, was face-to-face contact with the potential users: light rail riders. After speaking with over a hundred people, they got an overwhelming response and desire for an estimated time of arrival for the next train. So, Find My Train solves exactly that.
Just over four months later, Version 1.0 of Find My Train is available on the App Store. It comes with a $1.99 price tag, but could be well worth it for frequent public transportation users. With just one tap, you will know exactly how long you have to wait.
It’s always great to hear of company advancements from events such as Startup Weekends, or programs through incubators or ASU Venture Catalyst. Please let us know if you are involved, and attend the local events! We need to have bigger turnouts than the one at 48 West this past weekend…