Orono tech company gets a boost

Posted April 07, 2009, at 8:30 p.m.

How did Orono resident Chris Frank find himself last week in the back seat of a limousine, with champagne, surrounded by executives from AT&T on the way to the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas?

By finishing second in the AT&T devCentral Fast Pitch competition — that’s how.

Frank, founder and CEO of Intelligent Spatial Technologies, developed the iPointer application for mobile phones. He made his winning product pitch to the AT&T bigwigs last week during the CTIA mobile technology conference in Las Vegas.

The iPointer is a handheld device that a user can point at a building to receive information about it on the screen. Frank’s pitch earned iST a $5,000 check and, most important, exposure to the second-largest cellular company in the country.

“It’s really not about the money,” said Frank, who was in Seattle on Tuesday to meet with venture capitalists in his quest to raise money for the company. “Really what it is about is getting on the radar screens of the decision-makers.”

Frank expects AT&T will keep in touch with him as it develops and prepares to release a phone compatible with iPointer.

“There’s a good chance that our application will launch in the next year,” he said. “Nothing is guaranteed, but that is the goal. We’re in constant communication with [AT&T].”

The Intelligent Spatial Technologies office is located in the Target Technology Center in Orono.

The Fast Pitch competition is open to developers to present new applications for wireless handsets. Developers each give a pitch of just a few minutes to a panel of judges, who decide if an application merits further consideration as an AT&T application.

Frank said that around 400 companies entered the competition. A few hours after iST gave its pitch, Frank was called back to the competition as a finalist. After rushing over to the judging area, he gave the pitch again, along with two other finalists, and finished second.

Then they were whisked via limousine to the Wynn for a cocktail party, where Frank was presented with a super-sized check.

The AT&T devCentral is AT&T’s consumer development program. The awards are designed to recognize the innovation, creativity and skill of the mobile development community.

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