Weather.com joins forces with Baltimore’s Sickweather for cold, flu tracking

Sickweather, a Baltimore company that tracks illness across the country, has secured a partnership with The Weather Company.

The Weather Company’s official website Weather.com tracks and maps the progression cold and flu, in addition to its weather reports. In the past, the Cold and Flu Tracker has provided mapping based on data from the Centers for Disease Control. But this year, the Weather.com website and Weather Channelapp is integrating Sickweather’s crowdsourcing and social media-fueled tracking technology.

Sheri Bachstein, vice president of digital product operations said the The Weather Company is excited about the partnership with Sickweather.

“We were looking for a partner that could give us a little bit more of that social insight,” she said. “People are always talking about when they’re sick, what their symptoms are, and it builds that social empathy. We thought that was something important to add to our products to allow for more interaction between our users.”

Sickweather CEO Graham Dodge compares the concept to the popular transportation app Waze, which relies on crowd-sourced data to provide real-time information on traffic and directions. The Sickweather app aims to do the same for illness.

“This first time in many years that [Weather.com] has trusted anyone other than CDC with this,” Dodge said.”We’re thrilled that it’s Sickweather that is innovating that future.”

Dodge founded Sickweather in 2011 with two friends from high school. The three grew up in the Baltimore area and bought their first server on Craigslist for $400.

Now, the company has eight employees and servers are handling peak user requests of about 30,000 per second. The free Sickweather app has over 225,000 downloads so far.

“Long term, we see ourselves as a WebMD killer of sorts,” Dodge said.

The three founders funded the company on their own the first few years. But to date, Sickweather has also received seed and angel funding from investors like local Paul Palmieri, founder of Millennial Media, but Dodge said in total, it is less than $1 million. The company is currently run mostly using its own revenue and Dodge said he expects to break even for the year.

Dodge said Sickweather is still an early stage operation, but the founders have big goals moving forward.

He said within the next two years, the company plans to grow its user base enough to move away from using social media to help with its tracking and become more reliant on crowd-sourced data. And in the future, the goal is for Sickweather to become a go-to source for timely illness information.

Here are the winners of the 4th annual Baltimore Innovation Awards

Leave it to Yet Analytics CEO Shelly Blake-Plock to offer a mic drop moment at the Baltimore Innovation Awards.

Accepting the award for Tech Startup of the Year, he said, “Elon Muskthinks it’s all going to happen on Mars. We know it’s happening right here in Baltimore.” Then he walked offstage and out of the auditorium to much applause.

After nominations and more than 3,500 votes from the community, the fourth annual Baltimore Innovation Awards were handed out on Friday to close out Baltimore Innovation Week 2016 at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Brown Center.

The big party, hosted by Technical.ly Baltimore and Innovation Village, featured innovative art, along with new Baltimore-made games and VR. We also took so many selfies with each of the winners onstage.

Here are the winners:

  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Jasmine Simms, for her work helping other mothers start businesses with Moms as Entrepreneurs and leadership of Scrub Nail Boutique.

Planit's team with their award selfie.

  • Colocation Community of the Year: Impact Hub Baltimore, for creating a new spacebringing together entrepreneurs, activists, artists and policymakers in Station North.

Impact Hub Baltimore team takes a selfie with Technical.ly Baltimore. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

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  • Young STEM Leader: Jacob Leggette, 9, who wowed (and advised) President Obamaand is an emerging leader at the Digital Harbor Foundation.

  • Design/Dev Firm of the Year: Fearless Solutions, for work to expand access to a federal program that helps small businesses in Historically Underutilized Business zones and provide environmental education tools.

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  • Sciences Group of the Year: Infinite Biomedical Technologies, for work to improve prosthetics.
  • Dev Product of the Year: Loople, for continued development of a platform to find food and drink specials, both in Baltimore and D.C.

Phil DiMuro and Dave Phelan of Loople

  • Makerspace of the Year: Station North Tool Library, for their work expanding access to making through tool lending and education.
  • Indie Video Game of the Year: Sparkypants, for Station North-based development of DropZone and a game engine made specifically for the game.

Sparkypants' Jason Coleman and Dave Inscore hold their award.