Watch Unoceros launch on stage here.
This interview with Unoceros founder Devin Elliot was conducted by the team at Job Portraits during preparations for the LAUNCH Festival.
Let's start with your elevator pitch.
Unoceros pays you to charge your phone.
When you download the Unoceros app, your phone becomes part of our powerful computing network. Your data is kept private and by default Unoceros only runs when your device is charging and connected to Wi-Fi. However, the processor in your phone can now be used by someone else. Our network can be used by researchers and scientists who need massive computing infrastructure, allowing them to analyze their data much faster and more cheaply. In return for allowing the app to run on your phone, you, the app user, get rewards that can be redeemed in the app for products such as gift cards.
How did you settle on this problem?
I worked for a weather tech company where we used historical weather data sets—73 years worth—to analyze each day's weather against our proprietary catalog. We would spend $10K just to do a single run. But, to optimize our data, we needed to do multiple runs, which gets expensive very quickly, especially for a startup. We needed a better solution to process the data that was so central to our work. Unoceros is that solution.
And tell us about your team.
I’m not a technical guy—I just had the idea. My co-founder Brian is a Ph.D. mathematician and former NSA cryptographer who I met three years ago. When we decided to dive in, Brian and I knew we needed to find engineers because we weren't able to undertake this massive engineering project without more help. Finally we met Ejiro, Amit, and Ajish, our other engineers, along with Marie, who’s handling UX and design.
Best case scenario, what are you doing for the month after LAUNCH?
For LAUNCH, we have a basic framework, as well a beta app. My hope for LAUNCH is that we find our community, and really engage with them. We're not open source, but we're acting in a very open-source way. If you think about Python, for instance, its users help it improve every day. Similarly, the more users who adopt our system, the more packages they develop, the more robust it will become. We're not writing a new language, but we are developing the complex engineering tools needed to optimize our entire network. We plan to get more scientists and researchers up and running on our beta, and also to improve the mobile app, and develop a strong user base to provide the computing power.
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