Tuesday night was a chance to catch up with a few familiar faces from New York’s innovation scene—and to bid adieu to a longtime fixture of New York Tech Meetup.
Before the demos from Dash and others got rolling, Jessica Lawrence, NYTM’s executive director, brought Nate Westheimer back to the stage one more time via video call. He became the meetup’s organizer in 2008, had served as board president of NYTM, and cohosted the demo nights alongside Lawrence. Absent from the monthly gatherings since the end of 2014, Westheimer revealed last night that he and his fiancé had relocated to Seattle for a job opportunity.
But the show must go on, and that meant demos from teams just getting started and others looking to scale up. (See slideshow.)
Dash, a graduate from the 2013 class of Techstars NYC, gave an update on it what has been up to and what co-founder and CEO Jaymin Edis wants to tackle next.
The app launched in 2014, Edis said, and has been used in some 150 countries. Last night, he unveiled the new version, Dash 2.0.
Dash can turn most automobiles on the road into connected cars. By adding an onboard diagnostics device to cars, information is sent to the users’ Dash smartphone app. “You plug that in under your steering wheel in any vehicle on the road since 1996, and then pair it with Bluetooth to your phone,” he said. That lets users track vehicle performance, engine diagnostics, and real-time feedback on driving behavior. “If you’re over-accelerating, hard braking, or speeding, we’ll give you an auditory alert,” he said.
Cars can already alert their operators to some troubles, but warnings such as the “check engine” signal may be vague until a mechanic gets under the hood. By using Dash, Edis said drivers can get more information on the problem—including the parts and labor cost to fix it.
The app can keep records of trips, generating scores based on the driver’s behavior. This gamification is aimed at improving driving habits, Edis said. For concerned parents, information on their kids’ driving behavior can also be pushed to their phones. “If your kid is driving badly, driving in a neighborhood you told them not to do so, or after curfew, you can get alerts,” he said.
Dash can also tell a driver how much voltage is left in the car’s battery, how far the car can go when low on fuel, and displays a map of the nearest, cheapest gas stations. This is information displayed on smartphones, but Edis said another option is forthcoming. “Later this year, we’re going to be integrated into Android Auto and Apple CarPlay,” he said, referring to control systems available for the head units in car dashboards.
The startup raised a seed round after Techstars, which included backers Dennis Crowley, Bre Pettis, Dave Morin, and other investors. Dash is now in hiring mode, Edis said, looking for developers, designers, and operations personnel. It plans to raise a Series A round this year.