Startup Interview: Devan Stormont, Creator of the Popular Weather Route App

Startup Interview: Devan Stormont, Creator of the Popular Weather Route App

Weather Route

Startup Interview: Devan Stormont of Weather Route

Background: Weather Route is an app that displays what the weather will be at any given stage from your present position to your destination, based on when you’re expected to be there.

Hello, Devan.  Thank you for
joining me for this interview. Why don’t we start by having you give a
little background about yourself?
Hi Trevor, it’s my pleasure to join
you. I’m a software engineer at a mid-size company here in Reno, where I’m
heavily involved with product development and internal training. On the side, I
wrote a little app called Weather Route.
What inspired you to create the
Weather Route App?
Two winters ago, I had plans to visit
my out-of-state parents for Christmas. A large weather system moved in that
wasn’t completely a “bad storm”. It had areas of being clear, but
they would shift around as the weather system moved. I tried for a while to
plan a road trip through the storm, but getting information about which roads
were clear and which were not was almost impossible from existing weather
sites, especially when long hours of driving were factored in.
Eventually, I gave up and canceled my
plans for the trip. But, Weather Route was born!
Currently, Weather Route is limited to
the United States.  Do you have plans to expand to International Markets?
Yes. I just completed a big overhaul
in the weather forecasting that will allow the app to work internationally.
I’ve begun rolling this out to some foreign markets.
I understand you’re coming off some
pretty significant gains in membership after this holiday season.  What can
you tell me about that?
Absolutely! This was a very exciting
winter for me. Once the weather started turning bad, I began getting very
consistent user growth – about 12% user growth a week, very regularly, almost
like clockwork. By the time that had slowed down with the winter trailing off,
I had 5x as many users as I’d started with.
Reno has been getting some buzz lately
for a number of tech startups in the area, how does it feel to be a part of
this movement and have you had a chance to work with any other entrepreneurs in
town?
It’s very exciting to see the local
tech industry growing with such momentum. I haven’t been as involved as I
should be, but I have participated in a couple of hackathons (the annual Space
Apps Challenge). That has been a great way to meet other entrepreneurs and see
what they’re working on. Colin Loretz at the Reno Collective, Eric Jennings at
Pinocc.io, and Joe Chavez (who runs the local Space Apps Challenge) are each
fantastic local entrepreneurs.
Will Weather Route be available in
other languages?
Yes. Right now, it is English-only,
but I am planning on providing multiple languages, if the international version
picks up well.
How can I find Weather Route?
The app is available on Google Play.
Just type in “Weather Route” and it will pop
right up!
What kind of users make up your core
demographic and what markets are you trying to expand into?
I wrote the app to target vacationers,
originally. What took me by surprise was the number of truckers that have
started to use it. One thing I’d like to do is target that segment more with
app solutions.
Can you tell me any future plans for
Weather Route?
We’ve already touched on a couple
areas – expanding to international markets and providing localization for other
languages. I’m also examining porting the app over to the iPhone, as well. I’ve
gotten some requests from coworkers to do so, indicating that the demand is
there.
Customer satisfaction is arguably the
core reason apps exist.  How do you keep your customers satisfied and do
customer suggestions affect the development of future versions of the app?
I pay very close attention to what my
users are telling me. Some of the best ways to get users impassioned about your
product is when they complain to you about a problem or a missing feature and you
go above-and-beyond in response. There’s always some part of code I’d like to
fix or some new feature I’d like to put in, but I take a “drop
everything” approach with user feedback. If a user reports a problem, I’ll
hunker down until it’s fixed. And if I start to hear about a wanted feature
from two or three users, you can bet I’m working on implementing it!
Ultimately, it’s users who drive
adoption of an app forward. If a developer gets in the way of that adoption,
they’re only hurting themselves. Plus, it’s just great to hear directly from
users that you’ve fixed their issue!
Thank you for taking the time to
answer some questions, now get back to work!

Reno, NV: Startup City

Reno, NV: Startup City

With all of the talk about the Tesla Gigafactory coming to Reno, NV some of the smaller players have gotten a little overshadowed. However, Popular Mechanics recently recognized Reno, NV as the #8 Best Startup City in the Country! Between the Reno Collective and Startup Row, Reno has a lot going for it these days, which is great given its slow economic improvement since the 2008 Financial Crisis.

Here’s a few of the companies sprouting up in the area and a little of what they’re about.

inqiri:
inqiri operates the premier online collaborative decision-making platform. Our patent-pending technology combines the power of collective intelligence with a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) methodology. The inqiri solution provides organizations with a structured, objective, rational technique for improving decisions. Founded in 2012, inqiri develops advanced business intelligence solutions designed to enhance business outcomes.

Dunce, LLC:
Dunce, LLC is college planning that’s clever! Founded in 2013, we help high school students determine their paths after graduation, and provide resources and guidance to help them achieve their goals. Dunce prides itself in challenging our clients to think outside the box when it comes to their goals after high school, as well as develop an entrepreneurial mindset when it comes to life and learning.

TrainerRoad:
TrainerRoad provides indoor-cycling software to cyclists and triathletes with the goal of making them faster on the bike. TrainerRoad records athletes’ workouts and displays live data such as power output, cadence, and heart rate.

In addition to these great startups, there’s a lot more in the works for Reno. Apple is expanding their Data Center presence in town, Petco is opening a new distribution center, and Amazon is moving their distribution center from Fernley, NV to Reno, NV. This is just the tip of the iceberg for great companies popping up in town and it looks like the next few years will greatly expand the presence of tech companies and the ever-present warehouse/distribution business.

I know there are a lot more startups out there in Reno, NV, but for the sake of time I limited my post to only a few. If you have a startup in Reno and would like to talk about it on my blog I would be happy to let you do a guest post or conduct an interview.