By LAURA LOREK
Founder of Silicon Hills News
At Alamo Heights Junior School, Estrella Hernandez, 13, came up with an idea to get students moving.
She learned in sixth grade health class about the obesity epidemic in San Antonio and the city’s growing population of people afflicted with diabetes, a chronic disease associated with being overweight.
Hernandez said she wanted to create a solution to encourage kids to get fit. Her brainchild is We Walk, a mobile phone app designed to track kids movement like a pedometer. It also provides them with rewards for completing quests, or walks.
Hernandez presented her startup at San Antonio New Tech Tuesday night at Geekdom, a collaborative coworking space downtown aimed at fostering more startups. She was one of four people to present at the event, which takes place every month to showcase the city’s latest technology ventures.
We Walk’s program includes different types of quests, or walks including personalized quests as well as historic quests in which kids can earn double points for answering questions at the end of the walk. It also includes City Quests that tie into city-sponsored events like Siclovia, an event in which the streets are closed to encourage biking, walking and other activities.
A similar program on the market already is MapMyWalk, a mobile phone app that tracks walks, developed by MapMyFitness, an Austin-based startup recently acquired for $150 million by Under Armour. The company also makes MapMyRun an MapMyRide.
Hernandez also worked on We Walk’s website during the summer at VentureLab’s program for girls. She also worked closely with Geekdom mentors during the past two years to develop her idea. She’s now an ambassador with the Mayor’s Fitness Council.David Barrick, the co-founder of LightPhile, focused on the stage lighting industry, also presented his hardware and software startup.
LightPhile has created a software interface for the iPad that communicates with its custom hardware device to control the entire concert lighting experience. The total cost is $500 for the iPad and $500 for hardware device. Customers can program lighting sequences into the software and then simply hit play to control the lights throughout a concert or presentation.
“It’s not complex at all,” Barrick said.
Barrick, a UTSA Electrical Engineering sophomore, has three years iOS development experience and his co-founder Logan Butler, who attends Baylor University, has experience in the lighting industry.
Also at San Antonio New Tech, Ryan Beltran, founder of Elequa, a water purification startup, also gave some information about Clean Tech Open, an accelerator and competition. He participated in the program last summer and he’s encouraging more San Antonio startups to apply to be part of it.
Lastly, one of the founders of Crmsyn pitched a customer relationship management software startup.