SAN FRANCISCO – Ford, in a continuing quest to support app developers working with the industry-leading SYNC® connectivity system, today announces Dates.fm, a location-based date suggestion service, as the winner of the Ford SYNC AppLink Developer Challenge held this past weekend during the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in San Francisco.
“Picking a winner was harder than ever, but Dates.fm stood out as an area that has tremendous opportunity in the context of the car. If you think about it, the car is an integral part of any relationship, and Dates.fm can ensure a romantic date night with the help of SYNC,” said Julius Marchwicki, SYNC AppLink™ global product manager. “We’re excited to see developers embracing SYNC AppLink to deliver new ideas that add voice-activated convenience and value for our customers.”
The Dates.fm team now has the opportunity to further develop a SYNC AppLink-enabled version of their app and travel to the International CES in Las Vegas in January 2013 with Ford, where they will be able to demonstrate their app as part of Ford’s presence at the show.
Dates.fm was created by the start-up app and service, BeCouply. The free BeCouply app, currently in private beta, makes it fun and easy to discover great date ideas, capture special moments, and connect with other couples. The BeCouply subscription service, also in private beta, works with local venues and national partners like EMI/Capitol Records to send couples on amazing, all-inclusive dates each month.
The team behind BeCouply (http://becouply.com
) and Dates.fm (http://dates.fm
) is a couple in real life, Becky Cruze and Pius Uzamere. Cruze has a degree from The George Washington University in political communications and Uzamere holds a degree in computer science and engineering from MIT. Uzamere has fond memories of summer 2002 when he interned at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Mich. for the PNGV (Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles) team working on bringing hybrid vehicles to market.
“I had a blast working with Ford as a college intern and I’m incredibly excited that now, 10 years later, I’ll have the opportunity to work with them again, this time as a partner integrating my startup’s product.”
“We had just planned to come and work on our core product for fun during the Hackathon, but when we saw the opportunity to hack on the Ford SYNC AppLink platform, we couldn't stop thinking of cool integrations we could do with it. The AppLink API (application programming interface) lets you start thinking outside the box about things that previously seemed impossible,” Cruze said.
“Given the breadth of features available,” Uzamere added, “integrating with SYNC AppLink was surprisingly easy. I built the first version in a single night.”
Uzamere went on to describe what drew them to hack on Ford SYNC. “Our startup, BeCouply, has a mission of helping couples have epic social lives. Well, for so many couples, great dates begin in their car. So we thought to ourselves, how could we extend our app concept to the car and build a truly magical experience for couples?”
Cruze explains how Dates.fm could work, “One of the things our BeCouply mobile app allows couples to do is find fun date ideas nearby and ‘heart’ ones they want to return to later. What if they could ‘tune in’ to a service that would push great, relevant date options to them as they drive and let them make plans on the go? That didn’t exist, so we decided to build it.”
“It's a huge opportunity for us to make the lives of millions of couples more fun,” Uzamere added.
BeCouply, based in San Francisco, has previously had a round of angel investment led by Mitch Kapor, creator of Lotus 1-2-3.
The Ford SYNC AppLink Developer Challenge was designed to help stimulate ideas amongst the mobile app developer community and give them the opportunity to “hack” using the AppLink API. Teams participating in the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon were given the opportunity to submit ideas, become a licensed SYNC developer to gain access to the SDK (software development kit) and TDK (technology development kit) to build and integrate their app with SYNC AppLink, then travel to CES and showcase their app as part of Ford’s presence at the show.