Wavefront mobile developers meetup at Rude Boy Games
Thanks to Michael Fergusson and the team at Rude Boy Games for hosting last nights meetup with the team from Wavefront. Wavefront is a non-profit “accelerated commercialization centre” for BC, focusing on wireless and mobile applications and devices.
They came to Gastown to find out more from developers and companies working in mobile here in Vancouver, to tell us more about themselves and the services they offer, and to feed us free beer and pizza.
Michael ran the evening admirably. He had everyone sit in a circle, introduce themselves, their company, their projects, and talk about challenges they were facing around mobile here in BC. We didn’t get very far before some person’s commentary on anything from embracing the web as THE path for mobile development or a discussion on funding realities right now evolved into a discussion by everyone in the room.
I talked a bit about Bootup Labs, a bit about the VCC program (info on BC’s Venture Capital Programs here) that we’re applying for, and a plea for less duplication and more working together on common issues. Things like “HR bootcamp” or a seminar on getting investor ready is not at all specific to mobile startups, and I’d hope that local industry groups work together on co-sponsoring or organizing such events.
Lastly on the funding side of things, I mentioned the JumpStart program from the BlackBerry Partners Fund — this is something to keep an eye on to get started with really early stage. For those that are currently iPhone crazy, getting some investment dollars to focus on BlackBerry might be what it takes for people to look at the platform more closely. I definitely think there are interesting demographics around it, and of course folks are much more guaranteed to have things like data plans.
Back to the discussion, the huge theme was seeing the web as the primary platform for delivery, and anything like device specific applications being a step backwards. There were a handful of Nitobi developers there that in particular esposed this point of view, hence their involvement in the open source Phone Gap project, to make native iPhone apps (and soon, Android) using just web technologies. Parveen Kaler from Smartful Studios – who comes from a game developer / console background where he has dealt with lots of “gatekeeper” companies with much stricter rules and is now building iPhone apps – was the main contrarian: he’s loving Objective C and developing natively for the platform, and his business model fits with the rules in place.
It was great to find out more about Wavefront and the programs they’re currently offering. The item of biggest interest, judging by the crowd, is probably the handset library they are going to build up. They have a couple of G1 Android phones today, and one of them already got lent to the guys from Handi Mobility. I still see a little bit of overlap with, for example, WINBC, but it would be great if Wavefront focused on the developer / technology / direct carrier interactions. I think leading these type of developer-centric gathering events would be a great direction for Wavefront, and hope to see more of them as they get ramped up.