On Tuesday, October 8, 2013, OLC attended the New York Tech meetup, where nine startups demoed their product and achievements to a packed Skirball theater. The startups: Cover, Days, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Kinsa, Skedge.me, Truth For Humanity, Viewfinder, YPlan, and Zady dazzled the diverse crowd of fellow entrepreneurs, students, investors and future innovators.
Zady plans to battle fast fashion; that is, to battle cheaply-made products. Over 80 billion pieces of garments are made each year and so, landfills get packed with articles of clothing made from low quality products. Zady combats “fast fashion” with “slow fashion”. They emphasize high quality raw materials to produce high quality wear. They sell their products on an ecommerce platform that they built from scratch. Their platform features the brand story, material, news, visuals, texts, location-specific raw data, all for the consumer to be informed on the clothing that they purchase.
YPlan is a spontaneous going-out app. Its feed shows easy-to-book events—and they launched last week here in New York. YPlan’s list is highly curated and all events in the app are bookable. The feed shows images and relevant data, like time, price and location. The most interesting event is placed at the top of the feed. The best part of YPlan is that the tickets are synced to Passbook.
Cover had the shortest demo of the night. Cover is like Uber, except for restaurants. Customers pay before they sit down and eat, so there is no need for that extra step for the customer and the wait staff, waiting for the POS system and so on. Cover is working with fine dining establishments in New York City and they’re actively working to get rid of bill-splitting entirely.
Days is a visual diary app that tries to answer “What did you do today?” Users share photos over the course of one day and capture otherwise mundane events when posted individually. The app starts and ends each day at 5AM. Events can be shared on social media as well as the network of people that you subscribe to on Days.
Skedge.me, presented by Richard Rubin, is a smarter and simpler way of scheduling appointments online for businesses and customers. “It’s like a white-label OpenTable,” Rubin said. “We create efficiencies in scheduling. We drive revenue by reducing friction in making appointments. We’re also making appointments to be a Trojan horse for marketing.” Skedge.me incorporates business schedules, as the app knows the business’ services that are offered to customers, the team and the available time slots allotted. It also comes with an iPad app and can sync with Google Calendar, iCal and Outlook.
Truth For Humanity is a website created by two comedians. It utilizes a search function which mines text and Internet 1.0 images from the web and shows it as a wall of text and .GIFs on a screen. It uses “rudimentary code” on purpose to poke fun at the serious nature of search engines and content aggregators.
The hack of the month went to a flying robot. Essentially a drone, the quadricopter is equipped with a central CPU, which controls the robot. It includes an accelerometer, gyrometer and more. The layout can be changed from 4 to 8 blades and each blade goes opposite each other. The speed control connects to the motors and the radio receiver controls the robot.
Trolling Effects, a project by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is a website dedicated to eradicating patent trolls. Patent trolls cost the US $24.8 billion in 2011 and over 40,000 software patents are made every year. Trolling Effects is trying to make it safer for tech entrepreneurs. It is a platform to find out patent trolls to make informed decisions. They are trying to get patents out of the way for innovation.
Kinsa tracks the speed of disease in real-time. They started 14 months ago to map human health. They help people who have fallen ill. Kinsa claims to have developed the world’s first smart thermometer (that is also the cheapest in its kind). The thermometer connects to the smartphone and in a few, simple taps, users can track their symptoms throughout the day. The thermometer leverages the smartphone to lower cost.