As one of the first 2,500 companies allowed in Apple’s App Developer Program, Rochester’s own DoApp was making apps before apps were cool.
In 2008, DoApp was part of a whirlwind app-developing frenzy – and the start-up ultimately landed three of its products in the Apple Store.
“That put us on the map,” former DoApp CEO Wade Beavers told the Destination Medical Center in an interview. “Companies were calling us to develop apps for them – which we did for a period of time.” But eventually, DoApp had to focus on their own apps in order to build out the solutions they offer today.
DoApp was recently acquired by NEWSCYCLE Solutions, a leading provider of software and services for the global media industry, and Beavers has been named the company’s President of Mobile.
Beavers sat down with DMC to talk about DoApp’s evolution, and how DMC is helping to make Rochester a launching pad for startups like his.
DMC: How did DoApp jump on the concept of apps so early – and why?
Beavers: We landed early in the app world as the result of a conversation (DoApp Founder) Joe Sriver, (Chief Technology Officer) David Borrillo, and myself had about the “next big thing.” We played around with things like widgets – small internet applications – and a few other ideas, but essentially we were drawn to what mobile phones were going to do for people. Apps existed on other devices like the Palm and Blackberry, but the iPhone experience drew us in with potential ideas.
Like any good outcome, it was a combination of fortunate timing, motivation, and effort.
DMC: One of your early apps, mRemedy, was created with Mayo Clinic. How can other tech-based companies benefit from collaborating with Mayo?
Beavers: We really were ahead of the curve in the mobile healthcare space. We delivered a suite of health trackers that would change how patients and medical professionals would communicate and track patient health. It is mind-boggling that we did this almost seven years ago, and medical apps like the ones we built are just getting traction.
Medical institutions like Mayo are trying to work with smaller, nimbler companies like DoApp to help accelerate medical tech. I believe our partnership with Mayo worked really well because they helped us get through the large institutional process faster. That was a big reason we could get a product to market fast. The physicians, nurses, and others in the trenches are a goldmine of information that can change healthcare as we know it because they see the patients and work the daily problems. Give me two weeks observing a medical professional with patients and their daily workflow and I’ll have a product concept for you that will be a winner.
DMC: What does NEWSCYCLE’s acquisition of DoApp mean for the company? Did you imagine DoApp would end up being bought by a software giant when the company was founded?
Beavers: The acquisition means that the vision we started at DoApp will now have a bigger platform to change the way mobile consumption will occur for the news industry. NEWSCYCLE will take us to global markets. We never imagined that could happen.
When we began this journey we knew that an acquisition might one the options we would be faced with, as opposed to going public or remaining a privately held company. All options have merits, but when a company like NEWSCYCLE comes knocking, it makes you think. The biggest lesson we learned in the process was that tech companies can get acquired and work from anywhere. They don’t have to be from the Silicon Valley area.
DMC: Finally, a big part of the DMC plan is to help companies like DoApp thrive in Rochester. As an early addition to the start-up scene here, what advice do you have for other small businesses interested in growing in Rochester?
The most important element you need to have as a start-up is grit.
You are going to be told your idea is “dumb,” that it’s “not worth the investment,” and you will be questioned by people who have never been where you’ve been. You will question yourself. Starting a company is really hard. Selling the first client was like winning the lottery. Dealing with the first failure was like a funeral.
Through it all, your ability to fight will be the determining factor on whether you can make it. My advice: put on a hockey helmet and go to battle!