First place winners Sean Wittmeyer and Wojciech Magda of Beagle Score. Photo credit: Virginia Stiles Photography.
Go Code Colorado, an apps challenge designed to make public data more accessible and user-friendly, recently announced the top three finalists of the competition. Go Code Colorado is the first competition of its kind in the United States that uses public data to build business tools and grow commerce.
First place and $25,000 was awarded to Sean Wittmeyer and Wojciech Magda, the entrepreneurs behind Fort Collins-based Beagle Score, which is an app that helps businesses looking to open a new location.
"We watched super talented people show off projects that we thought were excellent," said Sean Wittmeyer. "We were honored to be among the winning teams."
Beagle provides information from over 30 different sources and is adding new information every day.
"From the break down of local taxes to demographics and internet access, the site is delivering hard-to-find information in a single interface," said Wittmeyer. "As it gets used, the scores get smarter. Beagle looks at scores for nearby areas and takes your personal preferences into consideration."
Wittmeyer said the next step for Beagle Score is to work with local real estate brokers and MLS and embed Beagle on their sites.
"We are in the process of adding new information and will be opening up the platform to the whole United States in the coming months," said Wittmeyer. "A new dashboard interface is also on the horizon, along with comparison, share/save, and social features."
Durango-based BizLink Colorado came in second place winning $15,000 for creating business-to-business social networks and relationships for companies. The team of BizLink Colorado includes Tristan Rubadeau, Aaaron Renner, Shawn Meek, Cody Schaff and Natalie Carpenter.
Third place and $10,000 was awarded to the Colorado Springs team behind the app Local Sage that assists business owners find the best new location and sites for their company.
Team members included Scooter Wadsworth, Spencer Norman, Chris Bachicha, Karen Dunne, Jeremy Folds, Mark Rantal, Kyle Tolle, Nick Volpe and Veru Volpe.
“I know everyone involved in the Go Code challenge couldn’t help but be impressed by the innovation and dedication by each these teams,” said Secretary of State Scott Gessler. “I’m excited to see how the winning teams’ products improve our business climate while the other teams’ businesses thrive through the vast openness of our public data.”
This year’s competition judges included Medea Ventures Managing Partner Kimberlee Young, Colorado Technology Association CEO Erik Mitisek, entrepreneur J.B Holston and CU-Denver Associate Dean Dawn Greg.
The competition was sponsored by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Business Intelligence Center and supported by the Governor’s Office, Statewide Internet Portal Authority, Governor’s Office of Information Technology and the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
“We created a specific set of business challenges that were solicited from the business community,” said Andrew Cole, Spokesman for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.
The team behind Go Code Colorado was excited by success of the first year of the program and looks forward to making it even better.
“We’ve already begun the planning process for making next year even better,” said Cole. “For the first year, and a challenge that has never been run on this scale, we are thrilled with the success of this first year. But we believe it will get better. We will work throughout the year to find more datasets from government agencies throughout the state to make available. And we believe as people see the success of teams like Beagle, BizLink, and LocalSage it will inspire even greater participation in next year’s challenge. We want to engage the entrepreneurial spirit of Colorado to make this an even better place for business, which will improve the quality of life for all.”