Events & Media

October 16, 2012

AN APP FOR THE BIRDS
Birdeez moves up the pecking order and is now downloadable from Apple

Santa Barbara — Bird watchers know birds, right? Not necessarily, according to Jeff Simeon (MESM 2012), who says that most self-identified birders can name only twenty of the 900 bird species found in North America.


Jeff Simeon

Simeon knows this from research he conducted for his Bren School Eco-E project, which was to develop and market Birdeez, a new iPhone app that makes it easy to identify, record, and share bird sightings. Things are going well for CEO and design presenter Simeon and his  partners on the technical side, UCSB undergraduate economics student Patrick Toerner and PhD student Thomas Kuo, who studies computer vision.

The team took home the $5,000 first-place cash prize at the UCSB New Business Venture last spring, and at the Oct. 3 DEMO Conference in Santa Clara, Simeon, who brought a live kestrel on stage as a live prop — a first for the event — was given a prestigious DEMOgod award as one of top five presenters (out of a total of 77). The 20-year-old conference is world-renowned for launching the most innovative products in mobile, social media and disruptive technologies. It has previously hosted the likes of TiVo and Adobe Acrobat.

Two days after the conference, Birdeez became available for a limited time as a free download from the iPhone app store. You can also get it at www.getbirdeez.com or on their Facebook page getbirdeez.

The team has applied to attend the South by Southwest Interactive event in Austin, Texas, in March. Meanwhile, the Birdeez crew is pursuing opportunities to demonstrate the application while seeking “an investor who understands birding and nature education and wants to help us go all the way,” says Simeon, “which means taking the app from the native birds of California, which are currently available, to the nine hundred in North America, and eventually to other countries.”