Where Are They Now? TROVY

How often do you hear of your fellow hackathoners who are still working on their projects after the weekend is over?


Well, we are all about our WearHackers. You can’t just imagine how excited we get when we hear back from our people about their cool projects and their journey post-hackathon. We just love to keep in touch with our community, and part of this is sharing the stories of some of your compadres. 🙂

Drum Roll …. Introducing Trovy!

Trovy, an Internet of Things (IoT) mobile app integrating sensor data from iBeacons, is an idea that was born at the first WearHacks hackathon in September of 2014.

Gaby Sué, Adolfo Rodriguez, and Mariolys Rivas.

One thing to realize is that the co-founders – Gaby Sué (Concordia graduate in Graphic Design), Adolfo Rodriguez (UQAM Master’s & PhD graduate in Math), and Mariolys Rivas (Concordia PhD graduate in Math) – didn’t even know what an Estimote was before our hackathon. They also had just been coding for a few months before the event!

Following the hackathon, they decided to go for the 12 weeks Startup Program at Concordia University’s District 3 Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. They just completed the program and are now in the process of putting the finishing touches on their MVP (minimum viable product). They will be testing Trovy at multiple events in the next couple of months, and we’re pleased to say that they plan to bring it back to where it all started by testing Trovy at a few WearHacks events as well!

We caught up with them for a chat to know a little more about their journey.

WearHacks: So now that you’re finally done with the D3 program, give us a little more details about Trovy. We imagine that there has been some changes since last September?

Adolfo: Yeah for sure! At the WearHacks hackathon, we pitched a universal lost and found app. Using ‘crowd GPS’, you could locate anything comprising any iBeacon device. After a couple iterations and a big change in direction, Trovy became a mobile app to find local events anywhere in the world (when that data exists of course), have access to relevant information about these events, navigate them, and easily locate your friends in the crowd without having to text them. It’s all about providing a better mobile experience to event goers: in-venue navigation, schedules, lineups, etc. iBeacons will be used for indoor navigation, where GPS is no longer useful.

WH: Was the WearHacks hackathon your first collaboration?

Mariolys: We have been friends for a few years. We had already worked together on a web app called the Health Passport. It’s a web version of a printed booklet to help Anglophones communicate with health professionals in Quebec.

Gaby: So last year, we decided to start meeting up every week to teach each other programming and design. It really came in handy when a mutual friend hyped us up for your hackathon. Because we had absolutely no experience with hardware, we decided to go with iBeacons for our first crack at this whole hackathon experience. It just made more sense to us to deal with the software development kit instead of pure hardware and electronics in light of our skills and the limited time we had.

WH: Oh, so WearHacks was your first hackathon! What were your impressions then? How did you handle it?

Gaby: It was super intense! Who knew you could be so productive … ever! The pressure of seeing so many incredibly focused and hard-working people made us push ourselves even harder.

Adolfo: It was amazing to meet so many like-minded people. It made this first hackathon experience much more engaging. I really liked the camaraderie. Of course we could count on the mentors to help. But, we could also just turn around and ask our neighbors, or anyone else for that matter. It was really refreshing. I come from a research environment where people work in silos because of how different their projects are.

Mariolys: And of course the devices! Learning about and having access to all those devices was really great. We knew absolutely nothing about the Internet of Things. When we registered, we just started binging on everything we could read about the devices and the IoT field. What is this? Is it even possible to do this? Do these things actually exist? We were just in awe…

WH: And what have you been up to since the hackathon?

Mariolys: We were really excited after the hackathon. We built a working product that weekend. We were convinced that we would be able to finish it the next day… that was just not the case!

Adolfo: We believed we had a cool project and decided to finish it. However, a whole new set of challenges appeared. We were judging our work after two days of intense work and no sleep after all! No matter how great the idea is, it may not be good for the real world. The D3 Startup program helped us to validate our idea and we made changes accordingly.

Gaby: We are launching Trovy on the App Store by the end of April. We continue on optimizing it based on the trials we have been conducting at events here in Montreal, and also thanks to people’s feedback.

Talking to people like Gaby, Adolfo, and Mariolys is always a great reminder of how diverse our first hackathon was, especially considering the centrality of hardware. We had hackers from very different backgrounds, skills, and knowledge. The creativity and resourcefulness that were reflected in the projects at the time is another constant reminder of how important diversity is for ingenuity!

So let’s support each other in this community. Sign up on Trovy’s website for updates on the release date. The community’s fedback is just invaluable.

Also don’t hesitate to drop us a line about what you’re up to, how your projects are going, etc. It would be great to get to know more about you and to let you know a little bit more about us! We really do enjoy learning from our hackers and helping them in any way we can!

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