September 26, 2013
With the music reverberating through the floor and that golden dome showering rays of euphoria down at us, things sure got #turntup at this week’s DC Tech Meetup. Okay, so, the music came from another event that was taking place in the basement, but nevertheless Sixth & I Historic Synagogue was replete with enough tablets and smartphones (and their attached human bodies) to light up the deep closet I hid in throughout my adolescent years (SPOILER – future DC Tech Meetup theme: startup raves).
While I was envious of the party going on downstairs, it’s always a fun time when iStrategyLabs CEO, Peter Corbett, is at the helm. The event was strictly devoted to startup demos, with a whopping 12 listed on the evening’s agenda. The following 12 startups did their best to impress us with their crowdfunded, 3D renderings of flower daycare centers.
Cofounder and CEO, Omri “Bob” Shor started the night with the MediSafe Project. Motivated by his father’s previous insulin overdose, the mobile app is a cloud-supported medication management system that allows individuals and their loved ones to keep track of their daily medication intake in real-time. According to Bob, 146 million Americans take daily meds, with someone dying every 19 minutes from incorrect dosage or medication. The company recently closed a $1M round.
Goodshuffle cofounders, Erik Dreyer and Andrew Garcia, started off their presentation with a simple (yet odd) question: “How many of you own a power drill?” While I had hoped that this would venture toward an inappropriate joke, the question was appropriate considering the nature of Goodshuffle. The basic idea: a rental market for neighborhood goods. Need a ladder for a painting job that you’re working on? Get on Goodshuffle to see if someone nearby is willing to rent out their ladder. Eventually, Dreyer and Garcia hope to work with local hardware stores to rent out their tools.
Destinalo is a vacation booking platform that hopes to create the most authentic, cultural experiences for tourists. The platform aims to connect tourists with local merchants, business owners, and guides who don’t have the online presence afforded to mainstream travel-related businesses.
While cofounder, Cristina Huidobro, admits that the platform is currently only available for travel experiences in Chile, Destinalo hopes to eventually spread its model to other countries.
Preamp.fm is a site that wants to improve the way we find local, live music. According to creator, Charles Worthington (SO typically Harvard, amirite?), “Concert calendars would work better if they loaded as a video playlist.” Well, that’s precisely what Preamp.fm does. After selecting your city or specific music venue, information on immediate/upcoming performances by bands or musicians is accompanied by video tracks sourced directly from YouTube, allowing you to preview their music.
Preamp.fm recently launched its festival feature, allowing you to preview bands featured in upcoming music festivals.
Social Radar is another fruit of Michael Chasen’s (digital) loins. The former CEO and cofounder of Blackboard debuted the highly-anticipated mobile app with the same enthusiasm for which he has become renown. Social Radar allows you to learn more about the ways through which you’re connected with the people around you. Aggregating data from your social media accounts, the app gives you information on 1) whether you know someone located near you, 2) how you know that person, and even 3) that person’s current location.
Social Radar also provides you with some information on people within a degree of separation, to provide you with some conversation fodder when introducing yourself. There’s also a chat function built into the app. With regards to privacy concerns, Chasen notes that users can choose to share their activity publicly, among friends, anonymously, or choose to be invisible.
“Think of [BloomPop] as the Etsy for flowers,” says founder and CEO, Shavanna Miller. Miller began her presentation by showing the crowd the differences in quality between flowers received from places like 1-800-FLOWERS and bouquets produced by local florists. The takeaway: flowers delivered in boxes to your loved ones are no bueno. BloomPop provides an alternative to current online- and phone-order flower services by providing an online marketplace for local, high-quality florists. Once you insert your preferences into the platform (type of flowers, colors, etc.), BloomPop shows you various bouquets to choose from, as well as lists the corresponding floral businesses.
Currently only available on Android, Kilo gives users the ability to quickly create video content in a unique way. Founder Barbara Lee demoed the app, which affords many different features, including stop motion, action replay (with customizable action paths), and living panoramas. The content produced through Kilo can easily be shared to a public or private feed, as well as to other non-Android devices.
Although I myself am not a parent, CareLuLu was definitely one of my personal favorites of the evening. Founder and CEO, Patrick Matos, certainly got the attention from parents in the room after demoing the online platform. It’s a very detailed, but user-friendly platform that serves as a central resource for child care providers nearby. Information on each center is collected by CareLuLu itself, even going so far as sending their own photographer to shoot on-scene to provide high-quality photos on the website. The platform offers a fully customizable search experience, allowing parents to determine things like distance from their home, weekly costs, hours of operation, languages taught, and whether a daycare center operates under a specific philosophy (e.g. Montessori).
When asked about the authenticity of parent reviews of daycare centers on CareLuLu, Matos explained that daycares have no control of the review system, and that CareLuLu attempts to verify every review submitted. The company is currently working on ways to manage the waiting list barrier at certain daycare centers.
In a nutshell: crowdfunding for real-estate projects. Through Fundrise, literally anyone is given access to invest directly in local real-estate projects for as little as $100. “All of these people [can] come together to essentially build [their] own city,” says cofounder, Benjamin Miller. There are no middlemen involved in the Fundrise process, creating the potential for increased returns as well as greatly reduced fees.
SurveySnap is site survey software aimed at improving the surveying process for those in architecture, engineering, and real estate. Users can smart-pin photos, notes, sketches, and even audio to specific locations on floor plans, as well as easily create PDF and web documents with one tap. According to CEO and cofounder, Ryan Sears, the goal is to “truly standardize the way site surveys are done.”
“I’m here to dispel the myth that [Social Tables] is a wedding planning startup,” said founder and CEO, Dan Berger, at the start of his presentation. “Think of us as an AutoCAD for hospitality.” Social Tables provides software that gives users the tools to plan out the layout of an event in detail. A well-regarded startup in the DC tech community, Berger demoed the Social Tables software with some awed responses (including from yours truly). The software looks into every detail of the event, including guest list management and their respective table assignments to social graphing every person’s profile to see whether or not they’re best fitted somewhere else. By far the coolest feature is the software’s 3D rendering function, allowing users to view venues and even tour event walk-throughs in 3D.
VP of Sales and Marketing, Jason Rozenblat, demoed @Pay. @Pay provides a two-click checkout experience directly from email. This allows people to purchase items directly from email promos sent from companies. The steps: 1) click to request transaction request, and 2) receive confirmation of your purchase.
Some other big announcements from the night:
- The Mobileys is looking to award a noteworthy, early-stage mobile app, service, or product with a $10,000 prize.
- D&B and iStrategyLabs have organized a DC Tech Hackathon for this upcoming November.
- A reminder that DC applications for 1776’s Challenge Cup are due by October 11. Applications can be submitted here.
- The DC Device Lab will officially open this Friday, September 27th. A launch party will be held between 2 and 4pm at Canvas.
- Acceleprise is currently accepting applications for its fourth class.
- Startup Weekend DC will be held November 15-17.
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