A San Diego startup, called Breadcrumbs is helping people keep track of where they’ve been using their smartphone. It’s like automated checking in but could be more useful later on. Maybe you want to keep a journal of the places that you’ve been. Perhaps the next time you’re in a city or town you want to easily be able to recall a place you ventured into on your last trip. We travel so much around here that it’s easy to mistake some downtown areas with others.
Breadcrumbs is innovating at the EvoNexus incubator in San Diego, alongside other great startups like Nulu Languages, TomNod, Antengo, Barc, and Fashinoning Change. The company also received a $50,000 seed investment from Qualcomm Labs.
Breacrumbs is another success story out of Startup Weekend. Founder Joel Drotleff had pitched the original idea at San Diego Startup Weekend, citing the fact that he could never remember how long he spent at the dog park. The other co-founders joined him for the weekend project and now today they have a product in the Google Play store for Android and the iTunes App store.
Breadcrumb’s Sean Dominguez told nibletz in an interview:
“It’s a pretty cool story. We all met at Startup Weekend San Diego back in June when Joel, our CEO, pitched an idea for creating a self-tracking application since he never knew how long he was spending at the dog park. We all thought it was a cool idea, joined the team for the weekend, and ended up taking the Qualcomm sponsored prize that weekend – as well as another prize at Qualcomm’s event Uplinq two weeks later.”
Obviously they caught the most important eyes at Qualcomm who has continued to support the venture. We got a chance to have a more in-depth discussion with Dominguez check out the rest of the interview after the break.
Breadcrumbs is a self-tracking app for Android (coming soon after to iOS) that automatically track where you’ve been, how long you’ve been there, and how often you visit – no manual check-in necessary. While you’re at a location, simply add it once as a place you’re interested in and Breadcrumbs will begin to journal what time you arrived, what time you departed, how long you stayed, and get other insights such as how many visits you’ve made in the past month, how long an average stay is, and how many hours you’re spending per week at locations you’re tracking.The most requested feature for the app is the ability to track progress on goals, which it can do. So if I set a goal to go to my gym 4x a week, it’ll track how many times in a week that I arrive. If I want to set a goal to be at work at maximum 45 hours a week, it can also track that, too.Joel, our CEO, pitched it at Startup Weekend San Diego as “the mint.com of time management” and I think that vision still rings true.
When you specify that you’re at a place you’d like to track, Breadcrumbs creates a virtual perimeter around that location called a geo-fence. When you enter a geo-fence, this is recorded as an arrival event. When you leave it, it’s a departure. The duration of your stay is determined by how much time passed between these two events. It’s really simple when you think about it, but the problem in the past has been heavy battery drain due to reliance on GPS. We’re using Qualcomm’s SDK, Gimbal, which saves a lot of battery because it intelligently uses WiFi signals (among other things) to determine location accurately without constantly needing to ping GPS.
Joel Drotleff, co-founder and CEO, is a UX specialist who formerly worked at Sony before jumping on Breadcrumbs full-time. It was his pitch at startup weekend that got us all together.
Damian Cutillo, co-founder and web dev/graphic design, runs a company with his fiancee called Design SEO Hosting. He creates the mockups in Photoshop in collaboration with Joel and is also the web developer.Tim Horton, co-founder and CTO, is the sole developer of the company and his mastery with Java is the reason why we’re doing Android before iOS.I (Sean Dominguez) do Marketing and social media. I had some experience before this at prior internships, but I’m learning on the job.
We’re based out of beautiful San Diego, CA. After our wins back in June, we were all just working from home and meeting up every other week/talking via e-mail. A month and a half ago, we were admitted into a non-profit business incubator here called EvoNexus and recently received $50,000 in funding from Qualcomm Labs.
From what we see and hear from those who have been in the space for a while, the startup scene is starting to pick up here in San Diego. To me, this makes a lot of sense. Although San Diego has a rap for being a very laid back city, it’s also home to a lot of people who enjoy tackling challenging extracurricular activities. This is just the type of personality that would want to take on something as difficult and rewarding as starting a company.
San Diego’s startup community is definitely tight, which is great. Everyone is very helpful and anyone you want to meet is likely just one mutual friend away.
It’s based on the fairy tale Hansel & Gretel who dropped bread crumbs in order to find their way back home. Their plan ultimately failed them, but that’s probably because they didn’t have smart phones. We were exploring other names, but adding a place to track is just so similar to dropping a bread crumb that we just couldn’t outdo it.
It’s very hard to manually self-track. Insight into any of your habits and activities could be helpful for anyone, but it takes a lot of motivation and discipline. Am I spending too much time at work? Am I spending too much time at home? Did I go to the gym four times this week or are two of the visits I’m counting take place last week? When’s the last time I visited the doctor’s office? These are all problems that Breadcrumbs will be able to track.
One movement that’s gaining a lot of traction is the Quantified Self. They’re a group of self-tracking enthusiasts who track things from steps in their day to interruptions in their sleep cycle. As motivated as they are by their intrinsic desire to know, even they will tell you that building the habit is difficult.By making location tracking automatic, we can give people really cool insights into their day without the hassle of having to write it down and put it in an Excel spreadsheet.
1.) Qualcomm Labs’ Gimbal SDK. It provides the low-power geo-fences for our app. We’re very fortunate that Qualcomm Labs sponsored the startup weekend that we all met at. We have a great, ongoing relationship and can communicate directly with them whenever we need anything.
Qualcomm Labs is also the reason why we’re in the EvoNexus incubator. They recommended we apply to the program and that’s why we have our free office space Downtown as well as funding. They’ve been with us every step of the way, so it’s great to have such great support from a big company.2.) For a team that met so arbitrarily at startup weekend, I’d say we have a really wide range of skills. Joel is the idea guy with good experience doing UX and he works with Damian to create the mockups. Tim is an awesome (and blindingly fast) Android dev and I’ve got a way with words and talking with people.
We just received $50,000 in funding from Qualcomm Labs, but were previously just working from home.
There were a lot of people who doubted the viability of a no-frills self-tracking app. If we told them our idea and they didn’t find it personally useful, they’d say, “well, no one is going to use that – here’s what you should do” and then make a recommendation that would fundamentally change what Breadcrumbs did. While we’re always open to suggestions, I think the response we’ve gotten on our app shows that there are people out there who are very interested in self-tracking for the sake of self-tracking.
Joel’s role model is definitely Steve Jobs. As a UX guy, he really loves the simplicity and elegance of Apple products, and you can see it in the mockups. Ironically (and comically), Joel is the only guy on the team who doesn’t have an Android phone, so he’s the only one who doesn’t have Breadcrumbs installed (although he is coding Breadcrumbs for iOS). Damian is also a fan.
We’re currently focused on making this app as accurate as possible. We’re exploring different avenues of monetization right now, though our foremost concern after the initial development stage is over is acquiring users.
Check out our site at http://www.breadcrumbs.us/ and sign up there. Marketing wise, I really want to be transparent about everything happening here, so if you’d like to learn about the day-to-day activities of a startup, we’ll be doing that soon on our blog.