By Ane Howard, RPRN staff writer
Txteagle provides supplemental income to developing world’s rural poor; wins the North American QPrize
Thursday night, September 17 2009, yet another tech conference was held in Silicon Valley. Plug and Play Tech Center’s Mobileplay focused on the business of mobile technology—from smart phone apps to text-based service providers.
Mobileplay also concluded the North American Semi-Finals of Qualcomm Ventures’ competition, the QPrize, awarded to txteagle. Along with an invitation to the Finals, the Semi-Finalists were awarded $100,000 in funding. The Boston-based mobile company provides SMS-based compensated task distribution to the developing world’s poor. Surprisingly, despite extreme low incomes and few earning prospects, there are over two billion mobile phone users across developing countries. Txteagle harnesses this incredible reach, offering small “human-intelligence” tasks via text message to the unemployed for additional daily income. Tasks include translating blog and news stories, citizen journalism, market research, small transcription tasks and more.
The service, now live in Kenya and plans to expand to the Dominican Republic and Rwanda later this year, includes a mobile payment platform that encourages saving. “With one dollar at the time, txteagle, can improve the poor’s standard of living,” Jeff Gasan told RPRN. “A dollar makes a difference in their life, and makes good business sense.”
The QPrize awards international business plans, with Semi-Finalist sessions in Europe, India, China and North America. Out of eight selected companies, one Semi-Finalist is chosen from each session. Each Semi-Finalist then moves to the Grand Prize competition, to be held later this year, for a chance to win an additional $150,000 in funding.
Last night’s conference included discussions on various factors surrounding mobile technology businesses large and small, from monetization strategies, to analytics, and market impact, as lead by various industry leaders and stakeholders, as well as a demo session of some of today’s hottest mobile applications. The demo session included Visuvi, the image-based search platform and winners of Spring 2009 Plug and Play Expo conference.
Plug and Play Tech Center’s Fall Expo is fast-approaching, scheduled to start October 1st, 2009.
Photo credit: photo by Ane Howard – Qualcomm Ventures’ QPrize North American Semi-Finalists Nathan Eagle and Jeff Gasan of txteagle.