Nate Steps Down and the Startups Step Up at the April NYTM

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The as-usual sold-out NYTech Meetup opened with a sentimental Face Time sendoff to the organization’s long-time board president, Nate Westheimer, and closed with thunderous applause for two back-to-back company demos, presented by Citymaps and Dash Labs.


Citymaps is an app that enables users to “create collections of places with easily searchable themes.”Co-founders Elliot Cohen and Aaron Rudenstine stressed the difference between traditional maps, which help users “get from point A to point B,” and their app, which allows users to create an information-rich personal map of places, connected to their social networks. They reminded the audience that“sometimes mapping with friends is better than mapping alone.” Services of note include reviews, local deals and the inclusion of over 80 million “places” across the world. Citymaps is currently used in select New York taxis and the co-founders hinted at a major deal in the works.

Dash Labs

Jamyn Edis and Brian Langel of Dash Labs demoed Dash, which connects smartphones to cars and “unlocks enhanced performance, cost savings and social driving.” The service provides“real time feedback while driving, so consumers can improve their driving and maximize fuel efficiency.”The app offers local deals on auto-related services and products to those who opt-in. During their presentation, audience members applauded the app’s ability to track (and later prove) driving speed during trips. [Note: Consumers must purchase an OBD device before they can use the app and Dash only works with automotive models released after 1996, which should not impact most drivers.]

Earlier in the evening, Emily Hughes and Andrew Nicol of TripExpert announced that their platform now provides reviews of restaurants and tourist attractions in addition to hotel reviews. Prior to this service extension, TripExpert served travelers by rating and ranking hotels based on professional reviews from over 30 travel guides, magazines and newspapers. The service aims to make life easier for travelers by combining available professional reviews into one trusted and reliable score.

Additional event highlights included a trio of entertaining presentations from Hack of the Month, HackNY winners. Adam Obeng, who placed both first and second at the event,introduced Chirp, which shortens tweets to shorthand and emoji,and provides a text-to-emoji translator, which was a crowd favorite. Obeng confirmed his intention to further develop the product,after he does some additional consumer research. He was followed by NYU students Julie Pan, Bob Gardner, Omayelli Arenyeka and Nicole Winter, who demonstrated CHINTASTIC, which helps users create chin videos.The team created a unicorn and rainbow-filled video onstage, and then shared a pre-made example. Finally, Sam Agnew and Manny Lopez demonstrated ROMDOM, their Javascript NES hacking framework, by programmatically editing an emulated version of Nintendo’s iconic Super Mario Brothers onstage, altering the background music and color scheme.

Attendees also heard from Technology Education And Literacy in Schools (TEALS), a grassroots program that recruits, trains, mentors, and places high tech professionals from across the country into high school classes as volunteer teachers. Any volunteers?



All image credit: Craig Williston / Qool Foto

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About the author: Nora Burns

Nora Burns is an award-winning independent digital marketing and brand management consultant. Prior to striking out on her own she was Director of Social Media for Patriarch Partners, advising the PE firm’s consumer-facing portfolio companies. She was previously Manager of Digital Content at The Guardian Life Insurance Company and a Senior Associate in Corporate Marketing at JPMorgan Chase. Nora has a master’s degree in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and a BA from Williams College.

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