Hack Hatched At Twilio Conference Grows Into Full Business

What began as a prize-winning hack at Twilio Conference enters a promising beta this week as Billy Coover and Barry Harkness from SideBox announce their new product, Nearby Now.  A helpful search tool for connecting with real service professionals in your area, Nearby Now cuts through the review and recommendation site noise by using geolocation to find the plumbers, HVAC repair techs, mechanics and other services in the one communication medium they all depend on daily – SMS notifications.

Launching publicly just yesterday, the SideBox duo addresses the issue of creating online marketplaces for services we all need by catering the experience to the service pro.  By letting the provider perform all interaction with their customer from checking in to customer locations to soliciting reviews to connecting via voice to discuss estimates, the Nearby Now service professional can conduct his or her entire day’s business on a feature phone, with iOS and Android applications available to more sophisticated users.

Turning Hacks into Products

Turning around their hack into a public beta in just under three months, Billy and Barry wasted no time capitalizing on their Twiliocon success.  The feedback they were getting from the concept was so intense, the business partners in fact made switched from their primary focus exclusively on Nearby Now.  “We felt that there was a lot of excitement around Nearby Now,” Billy said. “[I]f it caught on, it could become a big business opportunity.”

How to Check It Out

Nearby Now is available in the App Store or online, or you can check out the helpful intro video here: