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Sat November 26, 2011
Bobec Apps – Hot or Cold?
BOISE, ID – Remember the kid’s game Hot or Cold? If you’re getting closer, you’re getting hotter. If not, you’re getting colder. A group of young Boise area professionals want to update that game for the smart phone age. They plan to submit their I-Phone version of Hot or Cold to Apple Friday. Scott Ki profiles one of the creators behind the app.
At twenty-six, Travis Franklin thought he had life all figured out. He was working long hours in the marketing department of a regional bank in Washington State. And was ready to quickly climb the corporate ladder. Franklin thought he’d soon get promoted to the Seattle office. But a visit to the doctor changed all that.
Travis Franklin: “The doc said, ‘You know, you need to take a look at this,’ and rushed me over to have an ultrasound. He came back in and said, ‘Yeah you know what, you have cancer and let’s schedule some surgery next week.’”
Franklin was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It’s the most common form of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 34 according to the National Institutes of Health. His surgery was successful. Afterwards, Franklin moved back to Idaho to be closer to his family and he reset his priorities.
Travis Franklin: “A work-life balance was a lot more important to me after that.”
Ten years later, Franklin lives in Nampa. His two kids get to see their grandparents often. He’s still in marketing but now he’s a partner in a Meridian firm. He sets his own hours and dabbles in the tech industry.
Travis Franklin: “The closest I’d come to technology was, you know, signing in to online banking.”
That changed when he and eight other people put the theory of entrepreneurship into practice. They formed a company called Bobec Apps a year ago. Bobec stands for Boise Big Experiment Company. They batted around more than a dozen ideas before picking one they thought had possibilities. The kid’s game Hot or Cold. Franklin shows off a demo of the app on his I-Phone.
Travis Franklin: “It says, ‘oh, ok we’re getting closer, we’re getting hotter and hotter and hotter’ and then suddenly there there. It’s a gamified way of making a journey fun.”
Franklin and his partners think this idea is getting hotter. The app, he says, can be a fun way for businesses to get customers engaged.
Travis Franklin: “Let’s say that I have a food truck. I can use this hot or cold app to drive customers to where I’m at. And say maybe you know find where I’m at and I’ll give your first taco for free or I’ll give you ten percent off your next order or something along those lines. It makes the element of finding where they’re at fun.”
Mobile phone apps are also hot according to tech market research firms Gartner and IDC. Smart phone apps generate billions of dollars a year in revenue. That drives Franklin and his Bobec partners but they’re not ready to quit their day jobs yet. They have to see how Hot or Cold does before launching their next venture.
Copyright 2011 Boise State Public Radio.