NEW YORK— People at the NY Tech Meetup last March 3 chuckled when Lyft, the ride-sharing company, mentioned having competitors. Even without mentioning the name, some people presumed it was the other company in the news lately, Uber.
Lyft was one of the presenters at the meetup group held monthly at NYU’s Skirball Theater. You request a ride and get picked up by a friendly driver. It claims to have a great feedback loop between passengers and drivers.
What reportedly differentiates it from the other company is that it has an app for both passenger and driver. Also because of other security concerns from riders these days, it makes background checks just like its closest competitor.
It also works with companies that offer rides to employees after 8 pm, if not a $50 credit.
The other presenters were Peloton Cycle, Digital Natives Group, Airhelp, Kollecto, Leasebreak and ListenLoop.
Peloton is a company in Manhattan that makes an indoor bike equipped with a touch screen that allows riders to participate in live-stream and on-demand cycling classes.
“We were addicted to boutique fitness,” said John Foley, CEO and founder of Peloton, talking about himself and his wife. “We asked ourselves if could build something from home that we could stream.”
It was also a night for kids from ScriptEd who presented their apps, several of them taking their turns speaking to the 400 attendees of the meetup held monthly at NYU’s Skirball Theater. ScriptEd equips students in under-resourced schools with fundamental coding skills and professional experiences to give them access to careers in technology.
One group talked about the app they were building called knowyourneighbor, which seemed to have been made using goodbarber.com. Many of the kids thought that most people these days don’t really know their neighbors—and thought it great to have neighbors interacting with each other –for a change. Another group came up with a quick translator app, saying how they envision having translators in their app just a click away. “It can be used to business meetings.”
The students knew why they also came to present, saying they need investors and help with open data.
It seemed fitting then that one of the presenters, Digital Natives, was doing something like a resource/information site for all things K-12 called Whisper.
The meetup proceeded with other interesting presenters like Kollecto. It helps people buy affordable art by pairing them with a virtual art advisor & personalized art recommendations
Another presenter called Airhelp, initially not in the list of presenters, should be welcome news to everyone. It aims to get money back for you when airlines screw up their flights. Most people reportedly don’t get the amount from the airlines.
The startup is only considering flights you’ve made in the last 3 years, as it promises to take care of all the paperwork and airline. It will get a percentage when necessary and free in some cases. “We do the parsing if you booked from a travel site, for example,” one of the founders said.
Next presenter just coming out of a year-long beta is Leasebreak, a Stubhub for short-term renters (not less than 30 days). A tenant can post an apartment to rent out before he leaves. It reportedly has 5,000 sign-ups and offers.
Landlord approval is needed up front and center as well as exact address.
ListenLoop is the evolution of B2B retargeting, providing advertising automation that displays personalized ads based on visitor behavior and demographics.
Listenloop talks and converts to known leads, converting emails email even into an ad. It is reportedly seeing 5 to 15 percent click-through rate.
The hack of the month featured an app called investa_gator which was designed to expose address human trafficking.
The meetup was co-hosted by Coalition for Queens’ Jukay Hsu.