October 22nd, 2013 Full Demo Night: NYC Media Startups


On Tuesday, October 22, 2013, OLC attended NYC Media Startups’ full demo night featuring five incredible startups: The Big Roundtable, D8A, Circa, Chartbeat, and Blank on Blank.


The Big Roundtable, founded by Michael Shapiro, publishes narrative nonfiction. It launched in June 2013, and has since published eight full stories. “Two-and-a-half years ago, I realized I was getting squeezed out of the market,” Shapiro said. What it came down to for traditional authors was that they were getting pushed out of the market, and this was most evident to Shapiro when his agent told him to, “come up with a surefire idea of a book that will sell, of you’re toast.” Shapiro later conceived The Big Roundtable, dedicated to make writers and readers happy. “It’s one simple, virtuous circle,” he said.


Chartbeat, presented by Adam Clarkson, delivers data for editors, producers and publishers. They present real-time information and package it so that users are able to quickly get the information they need, whether it be traffic, engagement time, content feedback, and ultimately the power react to user behavior. “On average, 34% of visitors that hit your page leave without engaging at all,” Clarkson began. “A majority read at least 60% of the content. And the 80% that come to a site direct will come back later in the week. With engagement, we can measure returning users. Simply put, longer engagement time means a bigger chance that they will return for more content of similar nature.”


Anthony De Rosa presented Circa, a news on-the-go app. They produce news made for mobile. It presents information in a succinct, clear and brief manner. “We built news for mobile,” De Rosa said. He claimed that breaking news was broken, as are push notifications. “Long reads are great, but there’s a time and place. It’s difficult for people to read and stop, read and stop...” With Circa, users can get as much as they can in small bites that can be easily digested—without wading through filler material.


Jon Gosier presented D8A, a company dedicated to making big data as easy as Instagram.

“We’re trying to provide a platform to make it easy to play with robust data,” Gosier said.

“Doing research online is awful. It’s just a chaotic mess. Usability factor is important and what they are doing with data is crucial to know. Well, D8A is for researchers dealing with that and with chaotic data.” D8A is open source, meaning it is free and open for users to iterate on. The product is currently split into four layers: MetaLayer, GeoLayer, MUX Board, and Open Data Core.


Blank On Blank was presented by David Gerlach. Blank On Blank is a nonprofit digital studio that turns “long lost” interviews into animation. “We create digital, shareable content,” Gerlach said. “We re-appropriate old content to create this new content. The consuming nature has changed. People want one-of-a-kind content, and that’s what we provide,” he said.