An industrial and manufacturing engineering professor collaborated on a mobile app website platform that garnered national attention this summer from the White House.
Shokoufeh Mirzaei and five other developers and entrepreneurs helped found UrbanFruit.ly. The mobile app and website platform help urban gardeners exchange their home-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs through a social network. People can upload photos of their harvests, pinpoint their location on a map, and trade with their neighbors. Mirzaei analyzes user data, using demographic and location information to improve app marketing.
Mirzaei and the UrbanFruit.ly team were invited to the White House Champions of Change event in Washington, D.C., alongside 13 other app startups.
“There were discussion panels and a workshop that gave us a chance to hear and get connected to the president’s assistants and advisors in science and technology,” Mirzaei says.
The White House invitation was extended after UrbanFruit.ly won second place at the National Day of Civic Hacking challenge in Los Angeles.
“The hackathon brought together software developers and entrepreneurs from all over the nation,” Mirzaei says, “to collaboratively create, build and invent new solutions using government-released data, code and technology.”
The app also won the Chase Bank Award for the best app related to jobs, business and economic development.
The UrbanFruit.ly website and app are still in beta, as the team and six others from the event are being interviewed for corporate support in developing their ideas into sustainable businesses.
“Whether we make it to the list of top six apps or not, the whole experience has been a great opportunity for me,” Mirzaei says. “I am so humble and honored to be a part of the Urbanfruit.ly team.”
(Photo of the UrbanFruit.ly team: left to right, Robert Colin, David Lai, Allen Scheinhaus, Kalpesh Solanki, Professor Shokoufeh Mirzaei and Luis Sierra Campos.)