MIP Finalists: Mobile Apps

Oct 18, 2017

Continuing out series on this year’s Most Innovative New Product Award Finalists, this week we are getting to know the finalists in the Mobile Apps category.

Want to come see who takes the final prize for Mobile Apps? Buy your ticket or table here and join us on November 30!

Garden Answers



Founder: Alex Shah
About Garden Answers: Garden Answers helps you discover plants and identifies those that will grow well in your area. You can purchase plants directly from the app or add the plant to your wishlist. We’ll notify you when to plant and provide care alerts to help you turn your black thumb green, resulting in healthy, happy plants that will bring you joy.
How did you come up with the idea for your product?
The idea came about somewhat by accident. While visiting a friend, who knows I have a background in image processing, she showed me pictures she had taken of several unfamiliar plants around the neighborhood that interested her. She suggested I needed to create an app that would be able to identify plants from a photo.
Who is someone who believed in you/your product?
Our customers, our advisors, our mentors. Our biggest champion? Jen Long – she has been a green industry businesswoman and advocate for many years. She believes strongly that the garden industry needs disruption and a solution that can coalesce the currently fragmented retailer and grower landscape.

Great Jones Street

        Kelly Abbott

CEO/Co-Founder: Kelly Abbott
About Great Jones Street: Great Jones Street is a short fiction app for the mobile lifestyle, focused on telling the story of the contemporary human experience – from the street, to the suburbs, supernatural to steamy – with stories written and produced by today’s most talented and prolific authors. The Great Jones Street app curates thousands of stories – like a pre-filled eReader with every genre for fans to read (science fiction, crime, mystery, erotica, fantasy, horror), listen or stream in 5-, 10-, to 15+ minute fiction bursts. 
How did you come up with the idea for your product?
In 2015, I sold my previous company to a Bay Area company and had an earn-out, which included a lot of travel between the two cities. I found myself reading a lot on my phone. As is my wont, I read a lot of fiction. Now being the son of a story writer, I noticed that all my attempts to find good short fiction for my phone were coming up short. Either I had to subscribe to a lot of magazines or I had to buy lots of collections. So, I called my dad and asked him “Where do writers get their short fiction fix?” He replied, “Sounds like a job for you.” That was the seed. But in reality, I did a lot of research to find out how the industry worked. I wanted to know why this hadn’t been attempted before and one of the biggest challenges was in licensing content from thousands of authors. If there was one thing that could be fixed, in publishing it was in finding a way to work with a massive author list without needing to rely on user-generated content models. 
Why did you apply to MIP?
CONNECT is an amazing organization dedicated to innovation. And at Great Jones Street, we are looking to innovate an industry–changing the way writers get paid and readers are entertained overall, satiating appetites for bite-size entertainment, beautiful aesthetics and direct interactions with writers. Seemed to me to be a good fit.



CEO/Co-Founder: Patricia Lopez
About NotesFirst: NotesFirst serves doctors in emerging markets with a mobile EHR that works offline, has integrated analytics, and health alerts.
What is the hardest obstacle you have had to face?
We realize the challenges we face are tremendous – building the right team, finding product-market fit, fundraising, etc. But what really keeps us at night is how fast can we navigate through these challenges with the limited financial resources we have to help improve and strengthen the delivery of healthcare services to 3.6B people living in emerging markets where dark healthcare data currently exists.
Who is someone who believed in you/your product?
I am very blessed and fortunate to have the amazing support of my family, friends and team I have built around me who have become my counsel, cheerleader, stress-reliever, and inspiration to continue to move forward in spite of all the challenges we face as a start-up.