SmashToast was lucky enough to be in the WICS ABC Channel 20 spotlight recently! As part of her “Made in Illinois” series, reporter Maggie Poteau interviewed CEO and founder Barnabas Helmy in as the beta units were being shipped out late 2015.
Maggie got to see where it all started in the basement of Helmy’s home and also got a demonstration of the beta unit in action.
Puck is designed, developed, manufactured and assembled in the Midwest. The hardware is built by CCK Automations in Jacksonville, Illinois and Maggie included an interview with Greg Serfling, who has worked closely with the SmashToast team.
Great coverage! If you want to read the entire article, please visit: http://newschannel20.com/news/local/made-in-illinois-the-puck-controller.
Stay tuned for more updates!
For more information: Dewayne Nickerson (314) 645-4244 office (415) 519-0004 cell email@example.com
11 Businesses To Receive $50,000; Total of 66 Startups and $3.65 Million Granted Since Inception
ST. LOUIS, MO – June 18, 2015 – Arch Grants, a non-profit providing $50,000 equity-free grants and pro bono support services to entrepreneurs, will introduce today the first 11 of the 2015 Global Startup Competition Recipients. This announcement is the first of two in 2015, with the second set of grants being announced in November.
Arch Grants has awarded $3.65 million to grow 66 early-stage businesses since the organization launched in 2012. These companies have created more than 250 jobs in Missouri, generated $16 million in revenue, and raised $49 million in capital funding as of March 31, 2015.
“Arch Grants is a game-changer. It’s transforming our entrepreneur scene and attracting international attention for the jobs startups create, the revenue they generate and the follow-on capital they attract,” said Mayor of St. Louis Francis G. Slay. “With Arch Grants, I know the St. Louis region will continue to grow as a hub of innovation by attracting and retaining dynamic entrepreneurs and the companies they create.”
Since the launch of the competition, Arch Grants has attracted applications from entrepreneurs from 62 countries and, in the United States, across 41 states plus the District of Columbia. In addition to receiving a $50,000 non-dilutive cash grant, pro bono services are awarded to recipients eager to locate or retain their businesses in St. Louis, including accounting, legal, marketing, design, communications, web hosting, human resources, and financial and information technology consulting.
At 5 p.m. today, the recipients will be publically recognized at Startup Voodoo in Hotel Lumiere. The announcement will include:
Below are the Summer 2015 Arch Grants Global Startup Competition Recipients:
San Antonio, Texas
Appbase.io is the first streaming database service for search and analytics queries. Businesses use Appbase for a managed real-time database infrastructure so they can focus on building their product.
Applied Particle Technology:
St. Louis, Mo.
Applied Particle Technology specializes in an innovative, energy saving, high efficiency, air purification technology to address the challenge of providing clean indoor air in commercial buildings and specialty filtration applications.
St. Louis, Mo.
Better Weekdays is a mobile job matching platform that helps universities improve job placement outcomes of its graduates, and helps companies hire these candidates based on job compatibility and culture fit.
Mount Vernon, Ill.
The CrisisGo mobile app is a universal safety and communication tool for groups and organizationsofanysize. Withtheapp,groupmembersusetheirsmartphonestocommunicate with all other group members and to respond to emergency situations with individualized action checklists, alert others about dangerous situations, view building maps, obtain emergency contact information, review attendance rosters and locate threatened group members with GPS technology.
St. Louis, Mo.
HIPAAtrek’s cloud-based software guides healthcare organizations, and companies working with healthcare organizations, through creating, implementing and maintaining a customizable HIPAA compliance program.
St. Louis, Mo.
Invisible Girlfriend and Invisible Boyfriend helps those stigmatized for being single by giving them a believable virtual partner who will text with them, leave them voicemails and send them handwritten notes-letting them live their life free from society’s pressure to be in a relationship.
St. Louis, Mo.
Jobsite Unite is a mobile-first app that helps simplify, streamline, and record critical jobsite communication for residential and commercial construction projects.
St. Louis, Mo.
Listo is an app that is revolutionizing the global entertainment industry by allowing people to watch movies and TV shows in their preferred language, anywhere in the world.
Million Dollar Scholar:
New Orleans, La.
Million Dollar Scholar is an ed-tech venture offering the first SaaS solution to help parents and schools teach their students to gain financial aid opportunities to pay for college.
Scoville & Company:
St. Louis, Mo.
Scoville & Co makes medicine manageable by bringing hospital solutions into the home.
SmashToast develops technology to connect the home to your smartphone.
“St. Louis was founded by entrepreneurs and immigrants and we are proud to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and immigrants who are, once again, defining our region’s future,” said Ginger Imster, Executive Director, Arch Grants.
“Our selection process is extensive because we seek to fund people who are committed to creating jobs, and aspire to be future leaders for our region,” Imster said. “Our collective thanks to the hundreds of community judges and industry experts who helped identify this first group of 2015 grant recipients.”
The competition has evolved to include two groups each year, summer and winter. The second group of 2015 Arch Grants recipients will be announced Nov.12 at the Third Annual Arch Grants Gala. The cycle to identify the winter cohort is underway with rolling application deadlines of July 10 and Aug. 30, 2015.
About Arch Grants
Arch Grants creates an entrepreneurial culture and infrastructure to build successful companies in St. Louis. The organization provides $50,000 equity-free grants and pro bono support services to entrepreneurs eager to locate or retain their early-stage businesses in St. Louis. For more information, visit archgrants.org.
It’s been a busy several weeks, with the manufacturing underway and implementing the valuable feedback from our alpha test. One of the more exciting developments we didn’t share was our selection as finalists in the St. Louis Arch Grants competition, which the chosen recipients receive $50,000!
Last Wednesday and Thursday, SmashToast pitched to the panel of 20 judges for 12 minutes, along with 30 other finalists. It was a fantastic experience and we are hopeful that we made a good impression. We should find out soon!
St. Louis has a great burgeoning startup scene with several co-working spaces in the city, including Nebula, T-Rex and CIC@CIS. They were incredible hosts with a very welcoming atmosphere. I encourage all local entrepreneurs to attend Thursday evenings at the Venture Café as well. It is a great networking venue and they serve free craft beer!
As we approach the conclusion of our final week in San Francisco, it’s good to reflect a little bit on how the month has gone. The PUCK public beta units are being manufactured and the iOS app is waiting confirmation from the App Store. We’ve met an incredible array of people in the industry, tested PUCK with positive consumer feedback and even managed to spend a day just soaking in this beautiful city.
We are lucky to have my good friend Tim Chappell helping us out for the past several days, providing both Andrew and I with various bits of wisdom. As they type away furiously next to me, I can’t help but get excited for the future.
In a few weeks, we’ll mail out the public beta units then we’ll have our heads down working to respond and change accordingly to that feedback. We’ll refine PUCK and prepare for market. It’s been a lot of work, but worth it.
Thank you TechShop, Zach at Inventables, Emile at Tindie, all the great folks at Olark, Kate at Bolt.io, Saroya at Highway1.io, Rebecca Reeves, LUNAR, David Stover, Katherine Scott and the many other amazing folks out here who took the time to guide us in the right direction.
For those of you who have been incredibly patient and supported us during our beta tester campaign, the moment has arrived!
We’ve given the go ahead on expedited manufacturing and you should be receiving you units in the next month to month and a half.
We will be using Test Flight for the iOS users. Android – we are working on it! But it’s going to be a bit of a delay for that platform.
We’ll let you know when we get closer to delivery date!
Day 2 at the TechShop.
While we finalize the manufacturing details for our public beta test group, we continue to refine the PUCK app. This will be an ongoing process, with many “wish list” features on the back burner until more resources are available. What Andrew has been able to do by himself is staggering and something that can most likely be appreciated only by those in the field.
At least 20,000 lines of original code to get where we are at. We are certainly pushing BLE to it’s limits with this project, as has been evidenced by a few unexpected limitations with our module. Although, with development, the unexpected is always expected.
As Andrew was testing controlling multiple PUCKs from his phone, we tried it on my MacBook and were reminded of a previous Eureka moment. Opening this up to other developers will make PUCK so much fun for hackers – especially with the implementation of future sensors. Don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, though. First things first.
SmashToast will officially be spending the month of April working from the Tech Shop in San Francisco, refining PUCK and getting it prepped for market-readiness. This is a super-exciting month!
We are running our in-house alpha tests now and are addressing a few final bugs prior to getting the public beta units manufactured. Things are progressing nicely at this point and we can’t wait for it to get in to your hands!
The featured image in this post is the basement where PUCK and SmashToast originally started. While we often work from various coffee shops and locations with a bit more sunlight than the basement, we are sure it won’t compare to being immersed in the center of the Internet of Things world.
Stay tuned, we’ll post regular updates from the Bay Area!
Though we are still working out this infuriating BLE issue, we got the injection-molded shell today!
We are getting soooo close. More big news to come, so please stay tuned!
If you donated and received a shirt in your Indiegogo reward tier, you should be receiving it soon!
Though the shells for PUCK are being manufactured, we are still testing & refining the firmware before starting the beta PCB manufacturing and final assembly. We expect this to take another week at least before we can confidently give the go ahead, then another 8-10 weeks lead time on the manufacturing.
We are so excited for this awesome product to get in your hands, but we also don’t want to send out a flawed PUCK. Thank you all for your patience during this phase. We wouldn’t be here without your support and enthusiasm.
Stay tuned for more updates, and please ask us any questions!
I was able to make the trip to the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. Though the purpose of going was pre-scheduled meetings, I did have a few hours to scratch the surface of the show, and though it was incredible, I left Las Vegas with a renewed sense of purpose knowing that we have entered the right space. As the CEO of Samsung, Dr. Oh-Hyun Kwon, made abundantly clear, the Internet of Things is where it’s at, SmashToast is positioned well.
We gave the go ahead to begin tooling the mold for the PUCK housing after making several refinements. We were lucky to have the talents of Colin Heshmat, who assisted with the design of our beta version. We estimate the shell being completed in 2 weeks.
There is one issue with the hardware that has caused us to hold off pulling the trigger which involves “deep sleep” of the BLE module. Once that issue is sorted out (or bypassed for the beta period), we’ll give the go ahead to have the boards manufactured. That process requires the longest lead time, which is 4 weeks. This is a limited run so delivery to us could be sooner than that, and since we are 30 miles from the manufacturing facility & the injection molder, there should be no delay due to delivery.
We are on target with software development and haven’t been hit with any major unexpected problems. Android is a little behind iOS, which is just how our workflow is structured. So with that taken into account, our expected shipment date is mid-february.
Stay tuned, SmashToast has an exciting future ahead!
President & CEO