"There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo
- Like an Uber for your stuff.
- Permanent hair dye and a museum app
- IV infusion health center launches in Detroit
- Gecko Products lands $40 million investment
- Name that Flyover City!
January 27, 2020
Wish we'd thought of that
Bungii founders Ben Jackson and Harison Proffitt; image courtesy Bungii
Few things are more precious in life than having a friend with a truck. You’re at an antique store and you fall in love with a coffee table. You decide to buy it but then realize that it’s not going to fit into your Prius. What do you do? You call a friend with a truck! Of course, you can only depend upon that kindness a couple of times before your friend stops answering the phone.
Now there’s an alternative to nagging your friends: In 2016, Ben Jackson and Harison Proffitt launched a company in Kansas City called Bungii that lets you connect with a local driver and pickup truck via app. It’s like Uber with a pickup bed. And it’s coming to a city near you.
The drivers are local members of the community who have been vetted and Bungii certified. Jackson says the vast majority of Bungii drivers are public servants, from military vets to off-duty firefighters or police. That’s a significant advantage if you need to pick up something from Craigslist and are a little afraid of meeting with a stranger.
Bungii is also available for businesses and offers real-time tracking and clear arrival and delivery times. Whatever a Bungii driver picks up for you is guaranteed with coverage up to $2,500. There are some restrictions on what they will pick up. They draw the line at anything hazardous or breathing. (Yes, they had to add the caveat. Someone once asked them to pick up a dozen puppies.)
Jackson, co-founder and president, told us that the chief motive behind Bungii is to positively impact local communities. “We have drivers who drive so they can afford going back to school to finish their degree. Others do Bungii to save up for engagement rings for loved ones. And some to pay their children’s medical bills. These are all very admirable reasons.”
On the consumer side, they’ve had some touching stories: “In August, we helped an international student move a dresser into his dorm. He didn’t know anyone in this foreign (to him) country and didn’t speak English well so he turned to Bungii. Just last week, we were there when a determined, brave woman moved out of a domestic violence shelter, boldly moving onward and starting anew.”
The company has raised venture capital to the tune of $10 million in the three years it’s been active. Bungii currently serves Louisville, Columbus, Boston, Kansas City, Atlanta, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Miami, Chicago, and Nashville.
If you have any hauling to do, maybe check them out. Here's a cute YouTube describing the service.
Raleigh woman invents permanent hair dye
Add beauty technology and Hollywood glam to the list of innovations coming out of flyover country. Raleigh’s Virtue Labs has invented a permanent hair dye that changes the color of hair without damaging it. Popular Science Magazine named it one of its “100 Greatest Innovations of 2019,” and A-list celebrities like Charlize Theron and Reese Witherspoon are customers.
Melisse Shaban, founder of Virtue Labs, built the company in North Carolina because it’s a great place to live and raise a family, she said. The product, Colorkick, uses a keratin protein developed from healthy human hair to bind and seal microscopic fissures to avoid the breakage and frizz caused by old-school products like peroxide. Virtue now has a line of 22 products based off the keratin protein. The technology has brought in $30 million in sales, enabling Shaban to open company headquarters in Raleigh and a factory in Winston-Salem.
Going to the zoo? There's an app for that
Image by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pixabay
Mobile app design firm Orangesplash Technologies, based in Ann Arbor, MI, has developed a cool new way to customize visits to zoos, museums, and gardens, thanks in part to machine learning.
Its Geoxhibit app can enhance your experience—and your kids’ experience—by displaying age-specific extended content about exhibits, from snow monkeys to Monets.
Peter Lauwers and his wife, Beth, founded Orangesplash in 2017 and work in tandem with Arbormoon Software, handling the interface and user experience (UI/UX) design while Arbormoon handles the development.
Geoxhibit features include an interactive map, navigation assistance, a virtual tour guide, augmented reality capabilities, venue information, trip planning, and geoquest missions (think scavenger hunt). It isn’t a one-size-fits-all product, either. Geoxhibit is designed to accommodate zoos, museums, fine art museums, aquariums, science tech centers, and gardens. “We’ve figured out which features work for each type of client,” Lauwers said.
It's getting "cloudy" in Columbus
Columbus-based fiber broadband company Horizon Communications recently announced the launch of Cloud Express, which gives businesses a direct connection to more than 300 cloud providers. The new product will enable companies to bypass the commercial internet and access their chosen cloud providers via a fiber Ethernet connection. Available cloud services include major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, Salesforce, Oracle, and Google.
Horizon says Cloud Express will save customers money and provide more reliability, speed, and security than a typical internet connection.
Horizon, which operates in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan, will set up the services through partner and cloud aggregator Megaport.
According to Craig Drinkhall, Horizon’s director of products and sales engineering, this launch marks the beginning of a number of innovations.
Detroit entrepreneur joins the IV nutrient infusion trend
Rose Ann Wade is an entrepreneurial renaissance woman, with a professional track record that includes working in the medical field (she became an RN in her 40s), selling real estate and fine jewelry, and spending four years as a wholesale and retail business owner. So what’s next? The IV nutrient infusion business. (The title tipped you off, right?)
Wade recently launched The Wellness Edge, a holistic health center located in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Park. IV nutrient infusions—once the sole province of celebrities and elite clientele—are becoming mainstream, with therapy centers popping up all over the country.
The Wellness Edge offers a variety of treatments geared toward enabling people to make their own health choices to improve their well-being. Options include infusions and injections that hydrate, boost energy, and relieve pain and fatigue. The value proposition here is that delivering vitamins and minerals straight into the bloodstream offers fast and efficient results—and customers are empowered to decide what they need.
“I am thrilled to encourage clients to take charge of their health and make informed decisions,” Wade said. “It’s exciting to launch a new business that has potential for everyone to become the person they want to be, living to their optimal level, and making knowledgeable decisions regarding their wellness.”
Gecko Robotics lands $40 million investment
Image courtesy of Gecko Robotics & YouTube
Gecko Robotics, a Pittsburgh-based software startup, has landed a $40 million investment from Columbus' Drive Capital. Roll over, Inspector Gadget: Gecko deploys robots to inspect assembly lines, chemical plants, refineries, and other industrial settings to identify safety violations before they become disasters.
Unlike a lot of stories we hear about robots, this investment bodes well for human workers. Not only does Gecko’s product prevent human injuries and deaths but Gecko has recently hired more than 100 new employees and plans to hire plenty more. One reason: The Gecko system uses robots to do the inspecting but requires trained experts to deploy the robots, interpret the findings, and provide expertise to its clients. The company has expanded to Houston and Austin in addition to its Pittsburgh HQ.
It's ... Name that Flyover city!
Useless information that is strangely fascinating.
Can you match the famous person with the city of his birth?
- J Paul Getty
- David Letterman
- Paul Hornung
Click here for today's answers
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