By GREGORY ZELLER //
It’s official: Nobody automatically responds to texts like Judy Wieber.
Wieber on Tuesday was issued Patent No. 9559991 – yes, the 10 millionth U.S. patent is coming soon – by the federal Patent and Trademark Office, granting permanent exclusivity to her Automated Text Response System.
That tech – essentially, software allowing a mobile device to acquire and compile data on a carrier wave, and generate an appropriate response on the same wave – powers Communicavi and Beacly, the flagship apps of Science Mobility LLC, Wieber’s 2014 East Islip startup.
Both of the apps aim to take auto-response protocols to the next level. Communicavi crunches data to automate a host of routine texting requirements – travel updates based on GPS and other mapping tech, for instance – while Beacly serves as a real-time registry of personal, business and organizational beacons, offering a wide range of potential social and commercial benefits.
Wieber filed for her patent in February 2015 and was informed in November 2016 that it was coming. Now, with the patent official, the entrepreneur sees an opportunity to super-size her fund-raising goals.
Originally planning a $60,000 seed round, Wieber said Wednesday she’s setting her sights slightly higher.
“More like $100,000,” she told Innovate LI. “With the patent, I think we’ll try to raise a little bit more and give it more of the functionality I originally intended.”
That definitely includes a conversation with her friends at Apple, she noted, where technical configurations keep the ubiquitous iPhone family from working properly with Wieber’s patented system.
“The main difference is not being able to respond to incoming text messages, because of the way the iPhone is set up,” Wieber said. “I want to rebuild the apps for both Android and iPhone, and I think it has to be some kind of negotiation with Apple.”
Wieber did not say if that technical difficulty cost her a shot on “Planet of the Apps” – she was a finalist for the first season of Apple’s app-making reality show, which is being produced now in Los Angeles for webcast later this year – but with the patent in hand, the former Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory science librarian and grant writer is intent on rectifying it.
That starts with some working capital, and Wieber thinks she may at long last have a backer. She wouldn’t name names, but did note she has been synchronizing schedules with a New York-based hedge fund manager who first approached her after reading about her participation in the 2016 Innovation Boot Camp hosted by Stony Brook University.
“He was known to me but we lost touch,” Wieber said. “When he saw the Innovate Long Island article about the Boot Camp, he got back in touch and said he had established a hedge fund and wanted to know if I needed funding.”
Wieber isn’t counting her chickens – she’s “still looking” for angel investors, she said, while simultaneously moving into the medical-technology field, earning certifications in medical billing and coding.
In addition to paying the bills while Science Mobility finds its footing, the new career path could ultimately pay dividends for Wieber’s other long-term pursuits, including DNAshare, a collaborative-science program the entrepreneur once described as “the Netflix of genomic data and biological samples.”
“This applies directly to the DNAshare idea,” she said. “I’m learning firsthand about electronic health records and how that technology is used.”
Her “regular job to provide money to live while I pursue my entrepreneurial ideas,” however, won’t stop Wieber’s automated-text commercialization ambitions – including the potential sale of her patented technology to a developer who might be more inclined to exploit its Internet of Things compatibility.
“In addition to serving as an app that alleviates texting and driving, this can also serve as a key component of interconnected Internet of Things processes and systems,” she said. “So, I’m also open to selling the technology.”
For now, her primary path remains developing the patented tech herself and getting Communicavi and other products onto virtual shelves – a matter of months, she noted, under the right circumstances.
“Maybe a year,” Wieber said. “But I can’t proceed until I get some substantial funding.”