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Accelerator Program Spotlight on SmartLine
A Smartline user selects a restaurant from a list of nearby locations.
Are you tired of waiting in line to be seated at a restaurant? Barry Liang, a student at Chicago Booth, and his co-founder Dan Reitman have a solution.
While waiting in line at the opening of a new Five Guys in New York City for an hour and a half, they came up with a business idea. SmartLine is a mobile waitlist management solution that replaces the traditional pen and paper or buzzer system. Restaurants can manage large lists, reservations, customer flow, and stage guests during busy times using the free SmartLine restaurant iPad application.
SmartLine started at Chicago Booth where Barry and his co-founder developed a prototype and launched a beta version of the app in January 2014. The app officially became available for download in the Apple App Store in March.
The SmartLine team was a named finalist in the 2014 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, and is using that experience to further develop their product and focus on sales. Right now you can find SmartLine in more than 80 restaurants around the world, including Kotobuki in New York City and CraftWorks Taphouse in Seoul, Korea.
By the end of the Polsky Accelerator Program, SmartLine hopes to increase their presence in restaurants around the world. The team plans to release consumer functionalities to provide restaurant go-ers with the ability to interact with restaurants in real-time, with the possibility of viewing their place in line, seeing menus and daily specials.
Download SmartLine and waiting to be seated at a restaurant will never be the same!
Tune in next week for more updates on the Polsky Center Accelerator teams!
Accelerator Program Spotlight On Credence
When applying to college, it occurred to Austen Mance, a current undergraduate at The University of Chicago and Nina Lu, a student at University of Pennsylvania, that both application and hiring decisions are extraordinarily arbitrary and subject to random chance and manipulation. They then founded Credence.
The Credence team, minus Nina Lu.
Austen’s hope for Credence is to create a better system to match people to jobs using advanced statistics and big data to accurately determine whether someone will be effective at a given task. Last summer, Austen worked for a professor in UChicago’s economics department building statistical models. There he learned the basic knowledge of practical statistics in order to build the model for Credence. Credence can calculate all sorts of personality characteristics to predict job performance by analyzing data from Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. For example, liking curly fries is a strong predictor for intelligence!
Austin and Nina won first place in the 2014 College New Venture Challenge for their idea. The CNVC was the perfect opportunity for Austen to launch an idea he has been working on since high school. This summer the pair is using resources from the Polsky Center Accelerator Program to build a large enough customer and revenue base by the end of the summer in order to raise a full financing round.
Stay tuned for more on Credence’s progress and next week’s updates on the Accelerator program!
Accelerator Alumni: Where are They Now? FitnessCubed
Imagine burning calories and keeping fit while you sit. Now, there are no excuses left for letting work interfere with your fitness regimen.
FitnessCubed, a participant in the 2013 Polsky Center Accelerator Program, developed a product that allows you to burn calories at your desk while you work! We caught up with the CEO, Arnav Dalmia, AB, ’13, to learn more about FitnessCubed and what the team has been up to since participating in the Accelerator.
Arnav, a self-proclaimed “health freak”, was alarmed by the inactivity and lack of fitness at the office job he took following graduation. The epidemic of sedentary behavior inspired him to create a fitness solution for those who work at a desk all day. Just one year after graduating, Arnav and two of his peers from University of Chicago, Ryota Sekine and Shivani Jain, have launched their first FitnessCubed product, the Cubii.
The FitnessCubed team, Arnav Dalmia, Shivani Jain, and Ryota Sekine, show off the Cubii at the recent MakerBiz Showcase in Chicago.
Arnav and his co-founders noticed the growing market for fitness trackers – namely the FitBit, Jawbone UP, and Nike Fuel Band – that came without a complementary source of exercise. While the fitness band could make a customer more aware of their sedentary behavior, it could not provide them with the ability to exercise.
Enter FitnessCubed: FitnessCubed offers a compact and ergonomic under-the-desk exercise device, Cubii, which allows you to both work and workout. Cubii also has built-in Bluetooth that pairs wirelessly with its smartphone app or with a fitness tracker to track progress.
Arnav, Ryota, and Shivani worked closely with The Polsky Center ever since the team, then known as FunPower, competed in the 2013 College New Venture Challenge (CNVC), where they placed second. The CNVC provided the team with a platform to launch their idea. During the Polsky Center Accelerator Program, they further refined their product and target market. Through their work with Polsky Center staff and the Accelerator Program, the team was able to form a relationship with IIT’s Idea Shop to build a prototype for the Cubii since none of the founders had a background in engineering or design.
The team worked on the prototype at the IIT Idea Shop.
The company has been featured by Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Fox News, and many more news outlets for their Cubii under-the-desk elliptical. They are in the midst of a successful Kickstarter campaign and have raised almost $70,000 in less than one month for pre-orders of the Cubii.
Take a look at their Kickstarter page to see the Cubii in action!