December 4th, 2013 NYTech Meetup showcases Artiphon, Skillfeed and yes, Charles Schumer

Every month the NY Tech Meetup gives an evening of live demos unlike any other. It’s set on a big stage and presents one startup after another as if somebody would burst into song. It might just happen someday for all you know, especially since Broadway is just an F or E train away.

Last December 4, eight companies presented their startups or products, still too many judging by the audience who gets a bit antsy even by the fifth presentation, but it’s how they have formatted this show-and-tell for the longest time. Anyway, the Skirball Theater’s wide expanse and theater-like experience also allow the audience to stay rooted in their chars.

Before the presentations, Senator Charles Schumer came to talk about his fight for immigration reform (to bring or keep much-needed IT talent to the States) and patent reform (to protect startups) in a light-hearted manner, saying he was part of the demo.

He should joke around more often.

Among all the eight presentations, people seemed mesmerized the most by the Artiphon Instrument 1, a guitar lookalike but one that can play like a piano, violin, drum machine and yes, guitar, altogether. It’s powered by iPhone in its belly. The demo made people hush down – and listen intently.

Learning creative and technical skills has always been a challenge for some people.

General is offering a new way of learning—using a project-based narrative-led approach from comprehensive video lessons and snack-bite videos.


Skillfeed and General founder Brad Hargreaves founder showed how a checkpoint works to help learners understand what’s going on as well as a web design immediately rendered on a smartphone design.”

The other presenters have been at some smaller show-and-tell meetups we have mentioned before like Canopy Apps. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, it aims to improve healthcare for patients who do not speak English.         

Canopy Apps now literally has a medical interpreter in the pockets of some doctors and nurses, like Mt. Sinai. The other presenters we have seen last summer and with more features to show this time was Touchcast. Think Minority Report the movie, and how you can move or put things on your screen as you play broadcaster. The team behind it likes to call it the video web. Touchcast’s Erick Schonfeld said it’s a way for us to get rid of the second screen, as if it were a syndrome.


Some presenters included Hitlist, an alert system for getting affordable flights to your dream destinations using skyscanner for data; Nextdoor, a private social network for the neighborhood; and Priori Legal, which connects businesses to a network of trusted and vetted lawyers at below-market and fixed rates.


The last presenter and not in the schedule was, which demonstrated how it works to help law enforcement catch prostitution rings.