Earlier this month, I attended TechCrunch Disrupt NY, an annual startup conference at which many tech-related startups showcase their offerings, including some new products and services that first launch at the event. I thought that I would share with my readers a list of some of the innovative startups that I met at this year's showcase; these firms offer a wide range of technologies, and target a variety of markets. Some are certain to interest pretty much everybody:
BAE - A meeting/dating platform intended for the African American community. BAE's Founder, Brian Gerrard, told me after the show that on many popular dating apps African Americans often get only about 1/10 as many messages as people of other ethnicities - a poor response rate that often leads African Americans to stop using the apps altogether. BAE, he explained, provides an environment where African Americans and others seeking to date within the community are far more likely to succeed in actually meeting people.
Boom by Global Delight - An app that improves the sound quality of audio played on a smartphone or tablet by simulating surround sound and providing other audio control features such as a full-featured equalizer and audio intensity slider. The app is currently available for iOS; the team at their booth told me that an Android version is coming soon. I tested the app on an iPhone with cheap headphones - the app definitely made the music I was listening to sound much richer.
Cujo - A cute looking, simple to use, Internet security appliance for homes, which, if it works as promised could help people avoid all sorts of information-security problems. (Note: I have not tested the device.)
Diggidi - A communications app, initially targeting dating, that allows people to safely communicate without exchanging personal information even if their only "meeting" has been a second of eye contact. The concept behind the app - that a person can show an image on the screen of his or her phone and someone else who sees the image can then communicate with the first person without either knowing the other's identity or contact information - is interesting and may have uses beyond dating. Time will tell if it works from a practical standpoint.
Dog Parker - An outdoor, secure mini-doghouse that stores can place outside of their facilities so that people can safely leave their dogs while shopping. The firm is in pilot in New York City and plans to spread to other major cities as well.
DropCar - An app that allows people who have driven into cities to have someone else either park their car or drive their car while they are in a meeting (an option which, for short stays within cities, often costs less than parking). So far DropCar is in New York City, but plans to expands to other cities soon. For my readers who do not live in urban areas please keep in mind that parking in many parts of New York City can cost upwards of $30 for two hours, and due to traffic and lines in garages getting cars to and from a garage can take quite a bit of time, especially during peak hours - many times a driver may even spend time to get to a garage only to find out upon arriving that the garage is full.
Ephemeral - Provides tattoos that look the same as regular tattoos, but which can be easily and quickly removed with a special laser. This startup also won an entrepreneurship contest that I attended last year at NYU.
Geoobital - A replacement wheel, made in the USA, that transforms a normal bicycle into an electric bicycle, capable of going up to 20 miles per hour for 20 miles. The device allows people to bicycle to work without sweating, or to ride via routes with hills that they would otherwise be unable to conquer. Installing the device can take as little as a minute. There are already signs that this offering is going to be popular: On Kickstarter, Michael Burtov, Geoorbital's founder, was seeking to raise $75,000 - so far he has raised almost $1-Million. After Disrupt, I met Michael on the streets of New York and tried out a Geoorbital-equipped bicycle - it definitely worked the way he said it would.
Hired - A selective recruiting site (Hired reps told me they accept only 5% of the candidates who apply), that allows people to anonymously receive from prospective employers interview requests that include salary and equity offers, so that people do not waste time interviewing for firms that will not offer acceptable compensation packages.
Kukun - Provides estimates as to what a home renovation should cost in a particular market, and allows professionals to bid on the job based on those estimates.
Landit - A technology platform and service that helps women proceed and pivot along their career paths by providing expert coaches and other sources of advice, as well as access to various tools and other resources. Landit helps women create a "personal professional playbook," and aims to "increase the success and engagement of women in the workplace, and to enable enterprises to attract, develop, and retain high-potential diverse talent."
Mistbox - Smart devices that spray the outside of air conditioning compressors with a cool mist - something that the firm claims cuts the power consumption and cost of cooling by 30%.
Modiface - An augmented-reality app that allows people to see what a particular makeup color, style, etc. would look like on their own faces before actually applying it.
PhotoSesh - A marketplace of photographers that allows people to book people to photograph their events for as low as $30 an hour.
Primo Connect - An app and service that provides voice and text services, including a personal phone number, that can be moved from device to device as often as someone wants - including internationally - with inbound voice service and messaging being free. The firm claims that its prices are comparable to, or lower than, the rates offered by most calling cards. Primo's target market is people with access to data connections who want to pay as they go for voice and text service - but the service also provides a way to communicate from WiFi devices that do not have cell service, and, if your calls are inbound, the service it doesn't cost anything.
Woo.io - Helps people understand what their proper compensation packages should be based on prevailing market conditions, and allows employers willing to offer such packages who wish to speak to candidates to approach them without knowing the candidates' identities.
Sock Club - Sock Club offers a "sock of the month" delivery service, but also makes custom socks; the firm had TechCrunch logo socks on display at the event.
Sportstrace - Using a camera this software records a person's actions as he or she practices a sport (e.g., hitting a baseball), and then allows the user to compare his or her movements during various repetitions with one another, as well as advises as to how to improve performance.
SwatchPop - Online interior design service starting at under $50 that promises 3-business day turnaround and offers the ability to purchase the items used in the designs directly from the SwatchPop design screens.
Upscored - Analyzes job candidates' profiles and, using data science algorithms, matches them with jobs for which they are most likely to actually get hired. So far, the service is available only in New York, but plans are underway to scale it to other regions.
Timelooper - A virtual reality app that lets people re-live historical events that took place at locations which they are visiting. I tried Timelooper with a VR headset, and watched Rockefeller Center being built as if I was standing on the roof next to the builders.
Vquick - This video creation and sharing app provides several interesting capabilities including a "journalist" feature that automatically records from both forward facing and backward facing cameras in sequence as a journalist would do during an interview, or as may be appropriate in certain presentations and skits.
VicoVR - A self-contained (i.e., does not require a separate computer nor wearable sensors) Bluetooth-enabled full body motion control sensor for Virtual Reality, that lets you interact with a virtual reality system using your full body.
Zootly - Offers both scheduled and on demand moving; someone who buys something and then realizes that he or she cannot transport it home, for example, can use Zootly on demand to get the item to its destination.