October 23, 2012
New Venture Wonder Team Wins Big at DEMO with Birdeez App
A team of UC Santa Barbara alumni that took first place in the 2012 New Venture Competition market track has landed a DEMOgod award for their app Birdeez at the DEMO Fall 2012 competition.
Birdeez, a location based iPhone app for identifying birds, was launched by start-up EcoLek at DEMO Fall 2012, a unique and high-profile competition for aspiring technology entrepreneurs. DEMO is world-renowned for launching the most innovative products in mobile, social media, and disruptive technologies. The Birdeez team, accompanied on stage by a live falcon, was awarded one of five DEMOgod awards for innovative product and presentation.
[Pictured, from left: Thomas Kuo, Jeff Simeon, and Patrick Toerner of EcoLek]
"The app works like magic by using your location to know what birds are around you. Then with a couple of taps you can choose the size, shape, or color to quickly identify the bird you've seen," says Jeff Simeon, CEO and co-founder of EcoLek.
In 2012, Electrical and Computer Engineering doctoral student Thomas Kuo and his teammates entered the UCSB Technology Management Program's New Venture Competition with the idea for a bird identification app call Birdeez. EcoLek was formed by Kuo and Simeon, recent Bren School master's program graduate, and Patrick Toerner, recent business economics graduate. The team has since introduced Birdeez to the iPhone app market and attracted the attention of investors at DEMO this year.
"We believe that making bird identification this easy will help everyone get more enjoyment from their time outside," said Thomas Kuo, COO and co-founder of EcoLek. "Parents and teachers can use Birdeez to teach children about nature and learn more themselves."
"Winning the NVC was great for us and the advisors, and our experience in the Technology Management Program set us up for this win at DEMO," said Simeon. TMP's 2013 New Venture Competition kicks off in November with an orientation on Wednesday, November 7. Last year's NVC winners aPEEL Techology and Brightblu were led by enterprising UCSB engineering students.
Video: EcoLek launching at DEMO 2012