Social Contacts and Body Parts: A Rundown of This Month’s NY Tech Meetup
This month’s NY Tech Meetup, held on July 5, brought more than 750 spectators to the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts eager to see some of the latest ideas from local startups, including one group that came out of stealth that same day.
Though the event was themed as the “Now Neighborhood,” the nine startups offered a mix of ideas that included a different way for retailers to offer loyalty-based discounts and a three-dimensional model of the human body that can be sliced into layers for medical and educational applications.
Here is a quick look at the startups that presented this month:
Sonar—An app, currently for the iPhone only, that uncovers hidden connections with people in close proximity to the user. Sonar users sign in with their Foursquare accounts and then search for connections with people nearby based on mutual contacts such as Facebook friends and Twitter followers. The app can also send a message that shows their mutual connections to help break the ice with the new contact. There are a number of startups looking to help users organize their contacts by relevance, but this one is geared toward creating new ones. If it ever adds LinkedIn info, that could bring a new dimension to business networking events.
LocalBonus— Making its public debut on July 5, LocalBonus is an alternate way for retailers to offer specials to customers without the need for separate rewards cards. Consumers can enroll their credit and bank cards with LocalBonus and get discounts when they make purchases from participating retailers. The program works with cards issued by 5,000 banks and is currently only available with select retailers in New York City. This could be a way for retailers who don’t already offer loyalty programs to get in on the action. (We shall see if retailers with established programs are ready to include this service in addition to their branded cards.)
Viva la Playlist—A platform for creating playlists of music videos via YouTube that people can share with their friends. Users can vote on and write comments about the songs and chat with each other about what they are listening to.
Watchlr—If you are addicted to YouTube, Watchlr lets you share and discover videos with friends. Users sign in with Facebook to save video to watch later and pick up the video on a different device¬—be it mobile or fixed—at the same spot where it was paused.
Taap.it—Want to create a classified ad with your smartphone? Taap.it lets Android and iPhone users take photos of products for sale and share other details with potential buyers. Classifieds for jobs and housing can also be created. Photos and info can be sent to nearby Taap.it users as well as posted on Facebook and Twitter. Buyers can search the classifieds within a specified geographic radius to find local offers. Taap.it can be used by retailers looking to increase their exposure as well as by individuals.
SnapGoods—Before renting or even buying pricey gear, it might be nice to tap into a social network to look for possible providers. SnapGoods lets users search among other users in the network or neighborhood for that camera lens you need for a trip, for example, as well as other types of equipment to rent. The folks behind SnapGoods also came up with Knodes, an app for finding knowledgeable people in your social network who may offer insight on an upcoming travel destination.
CityPockets—The plethora of daily deal services can make life a bit confusing. CityPockets is one option for organizing deals that have been purchased. While services such as Yipit already aggregate deals, CityPockets says it helps users keep track of and, when necessary, offer up the deals for resale. Users can send out tweets about the posted deals for others to buy. However, there were some questions about whether or not the original providers of the deals would allow deals to be resold.
BioDigital Human—The designers behind BioDigital Human hope physicians, academics, and even patients want to look at layers of the human anatomy. The three-dimensional Web-based model of the human body can be manipulated to show different parts of the body such as the skeleton, digestive organs, nerves, and muscles. The model can also animate certain conditions such as normal heart beats and then show what various abnormal heart rhythms look like. BioDigital Human’s 3-D graphics run on WebGL, which is not currently supported by Internet Explorer browsers.
SkillSlate—Traditional classifieds and business listings can mean sifting through one source at a time when looking for services. SkillSlate offers an auction format to find providers that include (but are not limited to) furniture movers, personal chefs, dog walkers, and other types of professionals. The user can post a listing for the job they need done with details such as when and where. Applicants respond with their own details that may include desired pay for the job. SkillSlate used their own system in advance of the Tech meetup to find and hire a team of breakdancers to entertain the crowd at the end of the presentations.
The NY Tech Meetup is held monthly at the Skirball Center. The next session is scheduled for August 2.