Last night, the NY Tech Meetup presenters demonstrated their new products and apps to a 850-person crowd of attendees at NYU’s Kimmel Center at Washington Square. Director Nate Westheimer said, “The thing I am most excited about is the diversity of applications that you are going to see – everything from augmented reality to extraordinarily interactive iPad applications to other applications which will make real things appear on stage.” There was even a demo of a remote controlled flying object created by a group of NYU-based computer engineers who won the August Hack-of-the-Month. The grayish object of four round, wheel-like sections with tiny lights did in fact rise above the stage and over the first few rows of the audience, but its creators kept it low for fear of setting off the fire sprinklers.
StockTouch, a mobile information experience, was described by founder Steve de Brun as a tactile, mobile, powerful map of the stock market that updates throughout the course of the day through market trading hours. “It’s a new way of visualizing the stock market.” Dibsie demoed itself as a self service platform for businesses to post discounts and deals. “So for users it’s a platform that learns your preferences for deals or services,” said founder Dylan Fareed.
Kevin Marshall of KnowAboutIt explained that his application was, “The best way to discover most relevant and engaging links lost in your social streams such as Twitter, Facebook, and RSS feeds by your preference. Our average users have 300 to 400 things passing through those systems; it’s impossible to read all that stuff. You’re at an event like this Meetup, how do you know if the most interesting thing didn’t pass through Twitter just now?”
Another demo came from Voyurl, a discovery engine that recycles user’s data leftovers to make it more powerful via personalized content recommendations and analytics. “We recycle all that throw-away data that you are generating all day long when you browse around the web,” said Adam Leibsohn. We think that technology makes people do too much work, so we are the first feedback-free discovery engine. You don’t have to authorize any network or give us your identification. We work in the background all the time, once and always, and we feed you stuff based on your behavior as an indicator of preference — not your networks. “
The mobile app Want! was described as something that allows users to playfully express themselves by capturing, sharing and remembering things that they want. “There are 93 million tweets that have happened over the last few months that contain the words ‘I want’,” said Gene DeRose, “ and this maps perfectly to our business with two exceptions: One you have to filter out all the smutty stuff and two you have filter out, if you choose, all the Justin Bieber stuff. It turns out that 3% of any cut of pages has something to do with him.”
Chad Gallagher explained the reason for creating a personalized event recommendation platform called Brom.ly, in which he is a co-founder, was that “We realized that our team had a problem: We didn’t know what was going around us at any given time and in particular, we didn’t have a place to go that recommended the coolest things for us to do based on who we are and what we like. So we created a place to go that aggregates everything around you and personalizes it directly for you. So we look at your Facebook interests, events you’ve attended in the past, things you liked or dislike and we create what you would find is the most interesting. I logged into it tonight to see what it looked like and the first thing that was recommended to me was a bar crawl going on in the West Village –and I’m going to it.”
Also of note was Zarrly, a powered marketplace that lets users buy and sell anything with people nearby. Bo Fishback talked about one of his favorite posts, “Someone posted $50 to have somebody come to their house and pretend to break in. They wanted to know if their dog was actually a watch dog or if it was just all bark.” Conde Nast’s Idea Flight is a productivity app that allows a user to share presentations across a room of other devices and control the experience from their iPad, and 110 Stories is an augmented reality iPhone app that enables users to orient their phone towards the former location of the Twin Towers, then augment in the image of the towers and share their story.
Also on hand was Seth Pinsky, the president of NYC Economic Development Corporation, “The tech scene here in New York is really exploding; we’re seeing an incredible growth in the volume of business being created, as well as attention being paid to NY businesses from the venture capital community. In the last couple of years NY has actually, for the first time, surpassed Massachusetts as the Number 2 destination for venture capital investment for tech businesses. I think that is an incredible vote of confidence in the city – what Mayor Bloomberg is focused on is not just our securing our Number 2 position, but taking aim at Number 1 – we would like NY to be the capital of innovation for the 21st century.”