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Gainesville Software Startup Competes for Innovation Prize

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Narayan Ghiotti, one of the founders of Kinwa Inc., works inside the company's office in Gainesville's Innovation Hub. The group has been at the Hub for roughly six months and has begun testing its tagging system app around Gainesville.
Narayan Ghiotti, one of the founders of Kinwa, Inc., works inside the company's office in Gainesville's Innovation Hub. The group has been at the Hub for roughly six months and has begun testing its tagging system app around Gainesville.

Four Gainesville innovators can’t wait until May.

Leland Cerauskis, Blake Matson, David Muir and Narayan Ghiotti of Kinwa, Inc., are among the four finalists selected for the Cade Museum Prize, a contest that challenges Florida start-up companies to create the world’s next game-changing invention.

The winner is awarded $50,000 and will be announced May 8 in the Fine Arts Hall at Santa Fe College.

This year, the contest received over 80 submissions. Finalists’ submissions include a simplified test for ovarian cancer from Boca Raton, a new waste recycling system from Tampa, a 3D-modeling method and an information app from Gainesville.

Muir, co-founder of Kinwa, helped create Bubble, an app for iOS, which he said provides pertinent information for the area in which a consumer may be present.

The Samuel P. Harn Museum is currently using the app for its exhibits, Muir said.  If a consumer is at the museum, a bubble pops up on the screen of the app. The bubble leads to a specific URL for information on the exhibit.

Muir said the app functions off of low-power, egg-shaped Bluetooth transmitters, which are placed throughout a specific area. The transmitters connect to a consumer’s phone, and the app is able to read a specific URL from it. One tap of the transmitter’s snapshot bubble brings up the desired webpage.

Businesses will have to buy their own transmitters, which sell for about $30 each and last for one to two years. They will also pay to use the app to manage their transmitters and have their URLs included, but the app is free for users.

Narayan Ghiotti, co-founder of Kinwa, said the company is focusing on expanding the app’s appeal to businesses. The company is also looking to put the app on the Android market, as well as create an administrative app, so businesses can manage their tags on the go.

“We see our technology as the seamless gateway between the physical and digital world,” he said.

Richard Miles, vice president of the Cade Museum Foundation, said the judges are evaluating the contestants based on three criteria: how innovative the product is, the breadth of its impact and the likelihood of its success.

Muir said the final product is ready to go. If the team wins they’ll be able to market themselves worldwide and keep development going for the foreseeable future.

“We’re ready to take it to the world,” he said. “We’re going to try and explode into existence.”

About Sean Stewart-Muniz

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