I met my CTO at a BeMyApp Hackathon in SF. I sold him on the idea of making a grocery receipt-scanning app that recommends what you can make with leftover ingredients from your fridge and pantry (OVOZ). We built a rough prototype and got 3rd place. For version 2.0, one of the features we wanted to implement was pantry sharing with your friends to find out what you can make together (think dinner parties) by tapping 2 NFC phones. Neither of us knew about NFC, so we decided the fastest way to learn was to enter a hackathon.
My CTO picked Isobar: Create 32 NFC Hackathon @ APPNATION III. We didn’t think pantry sharing was very sexy app for a hackathon, so we took a step back and thought, “How can we learn about NFC, but still wow the judges and win?” When it comes down to it, NFC is a very physically social feature on a mobile device compared to other features like the camera or browser. When two NFC enabled phones touch they exchange information, we equated it to performing coitus. So we developed an app that can do just that. We named it: TapThat.
Do we see TapThat becoming the next Angry Birds? Helllllllll no, but TapThat gives a different light in a very serious feature that phone carriers are fighting tooth and nail to get a bigger piece of the transaction fee pie, BUT NFC is much more than Google Wallet and I don’t want to wait for a fruit company to “reinvent” NFC for mass adoption.
Oh btw, we got 1st at the hackathon and these were the judges:
- Samir Agarwal, Head of MeeGo, Nokia <-really liked it and gave me a Nokia N9
- Paula Berger, Consultant, NFC World & former Executive Director of the NFC Forum
- Damien Balsan, Ebay-PayPal & former Director of NFC Business Development @ Nokia
- Doug Busk, Head of Global Mobile Brand Strategy, Coca-Cola <- was not impressed because it had nothing to do with “sugar water”
- John Hadl, Partner, US Venture Partners
- Jason Johnson, Managing Director, Founders Den and CEO of BlueSprig <-invited us to tour their “incubator” apparently the Lt. Governor swings by every so often
- Yoon Lee, VP, Head of Global Product Innovation, Samsung Electronics
- Michael Nicholas, CSO, Isobar <- thought it was hilarious
- Nick Pelly, NFC Technical Lead, Google <- thought it was hilarious and clever
TL;DR: Wanted to incorporate NFC into a grocery receipt scanning app, entered a NFC hackathon, made a phone sex app to learn, heavy hitters from the mobile industry thought it was hilarious and got 1st place.