Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis marked the first time NBC streamed video coverage of the game live online and to mobile devices. But NBC and the NFL were not alone in their use of mobile media when the big game brought a swell of economic activity to central Indiana.
BlueBridge Digital, a new business owned and operated by a group of students and alumni from Indiana Wesleyan University, developed the mobile application “Visit Kokomo,” which launched in the iTunes App Store Feb. 2, just three days before kickoff. Contracted by the Kokomo Visitors Bureau, “Visit Kokomo” is BlueBridge’s biggest contract yet.
“We went against three big companies from Indianapolis that have offices and 50 employees, and we beat them all for the contract,” said Santiago Jaramillo (sr), BlueBridge’s owner.
Jaramillo started BlueBridge in May 2011 after a summer job opportunity fell through.
“I didn’t want to take a step back and work McDonald’s or something, so I decided to give [selling apps] a shot,” said Jaramillo. After three months of hard work in Indianapolis, he hadn’t made any money.
Despite not achieving immediate success, Jaramillo said he stuck with it because he knew the market for apps is currently the wave to catch. He said a major shift in the way people consume information occurred in 2011.
“For the first time in the history of the Internet, more people accessed information and spent more time on their mobile device than on their desktop computer,” said Jaramillo.
Things started to heat up around October when BlueBridge launched an Occupy Wall Street app that provided an aggregated stream of news for those wanting to learn about the movement. It received 15,000 downloads as a free app.
Jaramillo saw the success, made a version with more features and sold it for $1.99. This deluxe version of the app was featured in the iPad app store.
Next came a deal with a company from California called Debt-Proof Living. BlueBridge was hired to design an app that presented a daily personal finance tip called “Everyday Cheapskate.”
In December, Jaramillo began assembling his dream team of designers, developers and marketers, including current IWU students Dawson Goodell (sr), Jacob Millage (fr) and Aaron Cecil (so).
“I’m pretty lucky. All I am is connecting a bunch of geniuses,” said Jaramillo.
Together, the team launched four Super Bowl apps for visitors to Indianapolis. “Indy Eats” contains information for a large selection of restaurants in the city. “Indy Night Life” is an app for live music venues, bars, Super Bowl parties and other Circle City entertainment. “Indy Transportation” informs visitors of street-closures, city maps and shuttle information. “We Love Indy,” the most popular of the four apps, is a “best of Indianapolis” app providing places to stay, places to eat and events to attend.
Those four apps made the top-five Super Bowl apps on the iTunes App Store.
Cecil, social media coordinator for BlueBridge, worked closely with the Super Bowl apps. A member of the band Of Sights & Sounds, Cecil said he uses similar marketing techniques for his band and for BlueBridge.
“I got a lot of experience from [my band], so it helps me promote stuff online for BlueBridge and the Super Bowl apps pretty efficiently and effectively,” said Cecil.
Marketing Director Ryan Krueger (alumnus ‘11) said he admires Jaramillo’s entrepreneurship. Despite living in Ohio, Krueger said he would continue to work with BlueBridge if future opportunities come his way.
“Something that’s nice about BlueBridge is that it’s a company that can manage and work without having a physical office. Basically we can communicate through phone, through email and even Skype and completely just work everything via the clouds,” said Krueger.
BlueBridge is currently working on closing more deals for apps, one of which is focuses on visiting Grant County and another for the Wesleyan Publishing House.