We give you the latest scoop on local businesses. This month: personal technology coaching with GroovyTek, puppy potty-training with the Barking Mat, and massage delivery with app ThrivinU.

Tech Ed

Written by Leah LeMoine Category: Valley News Issue: August 2017
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App Corner
Thrive Talkin’

Struggling with juggling doctor appointments, haircuts, yoga classes and massages? Scottsdale entrepreneur Dara Rummel has an app for that. Rummel’s new wellness app ThrivinU streamlines scheduling so you can manage all your appointments in one place. ThrivinU will even pair you with in-app providers who make house calls. Netflix and facials, anyone? thrivinu.com   

“We have people that have been the CEOs of companies, the heads of law firms, and the only time they’re really made to feel stupid is asking someone for help with their phone or their computer,” says Matt Munro, co-founder of tech education firm GroovyTek. “There just didn’t seem to be a service dedicated to the knowledge and education side of IT support, as opposed to, ‘Let me just fix it and not show you how to do it.’” 
Cue GroovyTek (groovytek.com) and its stable of “trainers,” who offer personal coaching sessions (an introductory rate of $200 nets you three sessions, each an hour long) on topics including app downloads, cloud storage, contact syncing, photo backup and even text lingo, demystifying kids’ and grandkids’ OMWs and LMKs so generations X and older can know WTF is going on. 

“We took the approach of a personal trainer for fitness and applied that notion to a personal trainer for technology,” Munro says. “Whatever the clients’ individual goals or areas that they’d like to develop or become confident in using – they dictate the agenda.” Munro says 99 percent of sessions are conducted in clients’ homes or offices, since IT help hives like Apple’s Genius Bar and Best Buy’s Geek Squad can be intimidating.  
The company launched in 2016 and, though Munro and co-founders Alex Rodas and Greg Boman are based in Denver, they always had their sights set on Arizona. They opened a Scottsdale HQ with five employees this January and plan to employ a dozen by December. “We are laser-focused on developing Arizona,” Munro says. “I think there’s a large quantity of lifelong learners.”

Who knows? GroovyTek may even move here completely IRL B4YKI.

Good Boy
Phoenix couple Jenna Swartz Wachs and David Wachs took a page out of Pavlov’s book when they developed the Barking Mat ($89, barkingmat.com), a WiFi-enabled “smart” floor mat that aims to house-train dogs.

Here’s how it works:

  •  Place the mat in front of the door most frequently used by Fido.
  •  Sync the mat to your smart device.
  •  When it’s time for a potty break, walk Fido onto the mat, which emits an audible cue as well as a push notification to your smartphone or tablet, so you can keep tabs on tinkling when you’re out of the house. 
  •  The subconscious repetition will soon link the cue to “business time” in the pup’s head, and the mat will signal going outdoors to do so. Slip-ups? No worries – the pad is also absorbent, so accidents are manageable.