Wednesday, January 02, 2013

anyMoment, Silicon to the Lehigh Valley

High atop Bethlehem's South Mountain, buried deep in the woods, you'll find a park bench. And on that park bench, you'll find the original geek, or if you prefer, techie. It's none other than Ben Franklin, with a faint smile on his face, happy to see you. He even puts his 1700s iPhone - a book - on his leg so he can acknowledge you. That's the first thing I noticed when I visited Ben Franklin TechVentures late last month.

I was there to visit Jeff Teschke, whose Forge3 helps businesses make more money using the Internet. Lots of businesses do that, but Jeff is also a gamer. He developed iSpott, which was popular back before there were many smart phones. In that game, you'd get a text alert telling you what items to find, and you'd snap pictures. Whoever had the most points at the end was the winner. Microsoft ended up buying it.

Jeff's new game, anyMoment, is perfect for smart phone users. It's a lot like iSpott. You'll get a text alert that might tell you to photograph colors or sunsets or tattoos or whatever. You can snap a picture and share, while viewing and rating other pictures. The person with the most points wins and gets some kind of prize.

How does this game make money? A brand will sponsor the game, like Coca Cola did with iSpott. "It allows a brand to reach its audience in their pockets without giving them the feeling they are being spammed," claims Teschke. He called his game, which will be launched sometime this month, a "perfect blend of gaming, marketing and photography."

You can subscribe here.

So is it all just fun and games at Ben Franklin's TechVentures? Yes. Teschke claims it's "bringing a little silicon to the Lehigh Valley." Beyond gaming, there are software companies, companies researching cancer cures, even companies that will help you deal with the next power loss.

Electikus, for example, has designed a system that will allow you to continue to use your indoor lights for up to 8 hours. Franklin, who came up with the lightning rod himself, would love that.

Interest in these techies is growing, although they like to call themselves "cubical dwellers, startup ninjas, and freelancing mercenaries." Lehigh Valley Tech, which meets monthly, has grown from about 15 to 70 participants, according to Teschke. This ear, I plan to attend a few so I can report back to you about some of these interesting incubator companies.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't forget all the good work the Keystone Innovation Zone does. Many of the TechVentures cubicle dwellers are also KIZ clients.

Milestone Motors said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Milestone Motors said...

Bernie,

Thanks for this article! I'm glad to see the technical realm's entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well here! Thanks for the coverage, and I definitely look forward to reading more about this group.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks for noticing. I will do more this year to focus on some of the unusual businesses here in the LV.

Jeff Teschke said...

Thanks for stopping by, Bernie!

There are a lot of great companies here in the Valley. It's great to hear that you'll be sharing some of their stories. Maybe I'll see you at the next Meetup. All are welcome. There are well over 300 members now. Details here:

http://meetup.lehighvalleytech.org

Cheers!

merlen hogg said...

Hi Bernie,
I loved reading this piece! Well written!

Merlen Hogg
silicon