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Yesterday Amy and I contributed $10,000 to the MakerBot Academy campaign which is on a mission to put a MakerBot 3D printer in every school in the United States.
We did it via a contribution on Donors Choose, one of our favorite non-profit contribution sites.
We specifically finished out the funding for five MakerBots for the following teachers in their classrooms:
- Mr. Hendry – Yorba Linda High School, Yorba Linda, CA
- Mrs. Bragdon – Brownsboro Elementary School, Brownsboro, TX
- Mr. Eiland – Woodlawn High School, Baton Rouge, LA
- Mr. Condon – Decorah High School, Decorah, IA
- Mr. Colling – Coronado High School, Scottsdale, AZ
Amy and I are planning to give a lot more to this campaign, but we decided to do something tangible right now by finishing off several of the campaigns on Donors Choose.
For those of you who have asked in the past “what can I do for you Brad?”, here’s an easy one. Just go on the MakerBot Academy Donors Choose page and make a contribution of any size to one of the campaigns. You’ll be helping the next generation.
If you wonder how kids describe a Sphero, this short video will make you smile. And then laugh. And then smile some more. One of these kids needs to be on The Voice.
Sphero says, “buy me, buy me, buy me.”
We recently invested in littleBits. It’s another of our investments that traces its roots to the MIT Media Lab. It’s also another investment we are making with our friends from True Ventures. It’s another one that mixes hardware and software in a delightful way that is part of our human computer interaction theme. And yet another investment in New York.
Ayah Bdeir, the CEO of littleBits, has blown my mind with her vision of where she is going to take this company. Phase 1 of littleBits was, in the company’s words, creating a “library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun.” Today there are over 50 different bits that you can buy right now, individually or bundled in different kits.
This, by itself, is awesome. But the next phase of where Ayah is taking the company is just awesome. And, as a result, I predict you will have some littleBits somewhere in your world before you realize it. And, since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, we’ve got a kit to make a programmable lazy susan for your table if you need one.
Remember, the machines have already taken over. Get on board if you want to be able to play with them.
I’m a seed investor in MobileDay, a Boulder-based company that has helped its users make over two million mobile-based conference calls in the past few months. Its popularity comes from One-Touch Dialing where users press a big green button that shows up on their phone just before a conference call and they’re in. I use it every day – for every call – and am no longer in conference call hell on my iPhone as I go from my calendar to my dialer back to my calendar back to my dialer as I try to remember what the next number in the conference call sequence is. But – this is a show vs. tell type app – just go try it on MobileDay iPhone or MobileDay Android.
When MobileDay wanted to figure out how to make money, they went on the road to talk to big companies. They already knew who has lots of users of MobileDay, so they visited them and said, “You already have hundreds of employees using our product – how can we work together?”
MobileDay quickly found out that mobile had disrupted the control that companies used to have over the cost of conference calls. People moved away from land lines and toward mobile, but conference calling hadn’t caught up.
MobileDay knew that they could save time. One-Touch Dialing proved that. But here was a chance to save money also. If MobileDay could make their big green button also dial the cheapest number automatically, companies could save an enormous amount of money.
Enter Least Cost Dialing (LCD). With LCD enabled, the MobileDay app automatically inserts the company’s lowest-cost conference phone numbers. Every dialing sequence is based on the employee’s location, and LCD can reroute calls through the company’s internal voice or data network. MobileDay will provide the same capability for international calls which will create awesome savings opportunities.
While LCD is in the background saving money, One-Touch is up front making conference calls simple. It’s a great victory for both users (ease of use) and the CFO (massive cost savings for a small monthly fee.)
As MobileDay tackles this huge opportunity, they are hunting for senior mobile developers (iOS and Android), enterprise sales experts, and a great product/support person. If you want to be part a pioneer in the mobile enterprise game, email me and I’ll pass on your resume.