The 12 Hot NYC Startups That Killed It at DreamIt Demo Day

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Every now and then, an app comes along, and attention must be paid. Acorn is a next-generation reminder app that allows users to send notes or reminders that are time or location-sensitive – or both. So, say you’re low on milk. You send yourself an Acorn set to go off as you’re heading home from work, and passing your local grocery store. You can leave messages and reminders in physical locations. Write a note and choose a place, like a welcome home note. Or say you’re meeting up with a bunch of friends for dinner. You can also send an Acorn reminder at a set time before, just in case…

There have always been two issues in apps like this: battery efficiency and accuracy. Formerly, you could either have one or the other. Pick one.

“On 4SquareSwarm, the battery will drain swarm 5-7% in 20 minute,” explained Acorn co-founder and CEO Gabriel Otte, “With Acorn, it’s 1% an hour, in NYC. Acorn is like Google Keep, but it doesn’t suck.”

It’s not a fatuous boast, and the app is accurate as well, but to really understand what sets Acorn apart, you need to know a bit about Otte’s background.

Otte started his first company at age 13 – OSXPlanet, which earned him about $1,000/month – not bad for a 13-year-old. By 18, he was working at Apple, as one of four people doing aps API/GPS integration/AGPS for a secret project the company was working on at the time – the iPhone.

“I helped create a novel algorithm. The hardware wasn’t there before (to allow what Acorn is doing now). And the market is huge for location aware. Our latency is 45 seconds, and we’re accurate to within 100 meters. We found the secret sauce, and we’re patenting it now.”

Acorn launched their beta two weeks ago, and now have 500 users in 33 states, without having done any marketing at all. They’re already seeing 4.5 acorns dropped per person/per day, with an 80% pick up rate.

Does California native Otte plan to leave New York behind once the program ends?

“Maybe we’ll be bicoastal,” he said.

Their primary focus right now is on users and hitting critical mass. And as we know, from little acorns grow mighty oaks. Glad to see this company putting down roots in New York.

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