Melissa Conley Tyree, chief item officer at Itography

The quest for lost treasures is part of our culture going back to ancient times.
And in modern day times, the quest continues but with a high-tech component.
Hundreds of geocaching apps exist today that allow people with smart mobile phones equipped with GPS to find hidden treasures in parks, on city streets and other places.
Geocaching involves a real world treasure hunt for hidden containers, called geocaches. Some of the containers hold trinkets or other treasures. People sign their name on a piece of paper placed in the container showing that they’ve found the geocache. They can also share their experiences online.
Melissa Conley Tyree and her husband Jeremy Tyree have created a mobile phone app, Itography, that makes a game out of finding and placing items at real world locations.
The Tyrees lives in Dripping Springs with their two daughters. We recently met up at Thyme & Dough bakery downtown to talk about Itography. Melissa attended Venture 14, a startup accelerator program at Tech Ranch Austin, to get help with marketing and advertising and other business fundamentals.
Itography, which is financed by its founders via the startup bootstrapping method, plans to make money by doing mobile marketing campaigns for brands.
Tyree is a civil engineer who grew up around computers. Her dad was a programmer and her grandfather was a programmer.
Itography is applying to Tech Crunch Disrupt and Demo.
“My husband and I have been working on this idea for a year,” she said.
Their app is called Itography, a combination of items and geography, and it’s available for free for Android and iPhone mobile phones.
Itography is a social game that allows people to collect and move virtual items in the real world. They released the mobile phone app last fall.
“Itography is virtual geocaching at places you visit everyday,” Tyree said.
People who play the game drop items and pick up items at a variety of places. Picking up and dropping off items can earn rewards.
The items belong to collections which include plants, food, gems and seasonal.
With each pickup and drop an item gains history such as total distance traveled.
“We’ve got an item that has travelled 10,000 miles,” Tyree said.