On April 7, 2011, Ryerson University hosted D1 Mobile’s Battle of the Apps. The purpose of Battle of the Apps is to support mobile development across Toronto. In collaboration with The City of Toronto and StartMeUp Ryerson, D1 Mobile was driven to highlight Toronto’s youth entrepreneurs building mobile applications.
The purpose of the presentations was to highlight the use of the mobile application and its specific benefit to Torontonians. Even though mobile applications can have a variety of uses, presentations illustrated the specific use of proposed applications for Toronto. The participants of the competition must be current students or recent graduates.
The finalists were as follows:
- D2D: allows doctors in the developed world to donate their time and expertise to support doctors in lesser developed areas around the world. (Note: the panel did not judge the D2D team as they violated one rule which was later discovered.)
- Smart Swap: makes buying and selling textbooks easier and simple for students all across Toronto.
- Soapbox Toronto: an application allowing the community to vote for ideas leading to change from authorities (upper management).
- Spenz: the “where did your money go app.”
- Make Treks Like I’m Homeless: changing the way society view and treat people who are homeless on the streets of Toronto.
Applications were judged based on the concept; it’s viability in the marketplace and its benefit to the City of Toronto. The prizes totaled $4500 to the winners; $500 to third place, $1000 to second place and $3000 to first place. The winners of the Battle of the Apps competition are:
- Make Treks Like I’m Homeless was awarded 3rd place.
- Soapbox Toronto was awarded 2nd place.
- Spenz was award 1st place.
Justin Hein, the Founder of Spenz says, “The $3000 means we're really on to something. This will allow us to fast track our Android development so we can launch on 3 platforms: iOS, Android and Web.”
Spenz is the “on-the-go” tool to manage your day-to-day expenses. Claiming that you can track expenses in 3 seconds; simply input how much you spent, what you spent it on and submit.
Spenz currently plans to generate revenue by providing vendors data on consumer spending trends and in the near future, integrate geo-location functionality to provide rich data determining buying behaviour.
“Our next steps are to finalize the Spenz product and secure our initial Spenz for Business clients to launch with so we can help our users everywhere start to "save by spending", explains Hein.
The platform also consists of social gaming components that motivate users to continue tracking their expenses with rewards like a Tim Hortons Tim Card. Questions did arise on individuals gaming the system and claiming they purchased items they didn’t.
Personally, I have looked for money management applications on the iPhone and have struggled to find an application that I love. Spenz hasn’t officially launched but I’m hoping it is the one that helps me finally get my finances managed on the go.
There was also additional support from three judges; the Director of Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute, Dr. Steven Gedeon, Senior Advisor, ICT from the Economic Development & Culture of the City of Toronto and Jeson Patel, the Co-Founder of Social Deck, an organization bought by Google. Make Treks Like I’m Homeless and Soapbox Toronto received the opportunity to pitch to personnel from The City of Toronto.
Spenz received the opportunity to pitch to the Ryerson Angel Network, by passing the steering committee and pitching to 35 angel investors.
The audience took away some sweet prizes like an Apple TV, a Kobo E-Reader and Palm Pre 2.
In an article by Financial Post, D1 president Daniel Ezer shared what inspired him to create Battle of the Apps:
“I was tired of hearing about Silicon Valley and the great technology minds there,” he said in a release. “Battle of the Apps is our way of bringing out our students’ innovative minds and encouraging them to develop something which benefits our city.”