At this month’s NYTM, 8 startups presented live demonstrations of their products to an audience of over 700 attendees in the typical fashion for the largest meetup in the world. In case you missed the event, or if you just want a refresher of all the great companies that showcased their ideas, here’s a recap of each presentation.
Smart Vision Labs
The future of eye care is here, and it’s on your smartphone. Smart Vision Labs, co-founded by Yaopeng Zhou and Marc Albanese, offers a portable, accurate, user-friendly and cost effective way to measure vision and produce an eyeglasses prescription. By attaching an optometry lens to a smartphone camera, an optometrist (or anyone trained to use the device, for that matter) can take a picture of a patient’s eye. The attachment measures the amount of light that passes through the retina, and then instantly measures the sphere (near or farsightedness), axis (astigmatism) and cylinder (astigmatism) of the eye. Patients can then quickly upload the prescription results to the cloud and bring it to their eyewear provider.
Events are a form of marketing—we all know that. But for Splash co-founders Ben Hindman and Brett Boskoff, the event itself isn’t the only part that matters, but everything that happens before and after is also critical. With Splash, organizations can create visually beautiful, mobile responsive event websites using simple design tools—no coding necessary. Integrated within the site are email marketing, ticket sales, and customizable RSVP forms to fully personalize the marketing experience. After the event, Splash becomes even more valuable, because the website collects all the data from the RSVPs and allows companies to analyze their marketing activity and performance to make the next event even bigger and better. Wondering if it really works? Just ask Spotify or Nike, two of Splash’s biggest clients.
Fresh Prep (Urban Arts Partnership)
Imagine if memorizing facts for an exam was as easy as remembering the lyrics to Uptown Funk—tests would be a breeze! Fresh Prep, a program under the umbrella organization Urban Arts Partnership, is an educational approach to teaching Title I students the information they need to know for their Regent’s Exams through hip hop and rap music. According to Fresh Prep MC/educator Jamel Mims, these students often have much stronger “musical literacies” than conventional literacies, like reading from a textbook, and Fresh Prep strives to harness that ability. Students can listen to tracks downloadable from the Fresh Prep website, and can test their knowledge in the karaoke section. There’s even a visual app called Later that allows students to scan images of artifacts to prepare for the World History section of the exam.
OUTgoing (NYTM Hack of the Month)
Jeff Ferzoco started as a digital mapmaker, and then had an idea: Why not use his skills to create a comprehensive map of NYC’s historic LGBT nightlife? His website, outgoingnyc.com, is a continuously growing, pinpointed map of all the LGBT hotspots—from nightclubs, to bars, to late-night restaurants—in New York since the 1800s. The map features over 800 locations, and venues can be isolated by year using a slider on the website. Amazingly, Ferzoco collected all the information for OUTgoing by hand, sifting through hundreds of pages of LGBT records at the New York Public Library and the Pat Parker/Vito Russo Library. His next move is to San Francisco where he plans to illuminate more LGBT spots for his fans to enjoy.
At the start of her presentation, CEO and Founder of Maven Katherine Ryder shared a powerful statistic: women make 80% of healthcare decisions in America. That’s why she started Maven; a HIPAA compliant, digital clinic targeted toward college-aged girls and pregnant women that allows express access to healthcare professionals. When a user enters the app, she can select the kind of healthcare she’s looking for, and then Maven provides a list of all the available providers that are most soon available in her area. Patients can even choose to conduct appointments via Skype, and can also post their medical questions on a community forum. To ensure that appointments run smoothly, Maven has a Health Binder with a patient’s relevant medical information, and after a visit, patients can rate the provider. Although Maven isn’t yet partnered with insurance companies, the cost for an appointment starts at just $18 (10 minutes with a nurse practitioner).
When artist Seth Carnes conceived of his iPhone app Poetics, it was just a project geared toward artists as a way to develop their ideas through visual images and words. But soon, the app garnered attention from global users and educators, and is now used internationally in several different languages. By uploading a photo onto the app, users can then place word labels on top of the photo and lift and pull the labels around to create a composition. You can even place emojis on the label – a concept Carnes calls “digital graffiti.” The piece can then be shared on social media. Besides just being a cool app for creatives, teachers also use the program to teach both standard and special needs students by using it to identify objects and colors.
Powered by Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners, PayGoal offers a way for NYC employees to receive professional financial management advice from the comfort of their laptop or smartphone, 24/7. The app is targeted to employers of organizations who would then disseminate the program to their workers. By entering their bank account information, users can receive financial counsel from their virtual advisor, Paula. Not only does Paula keep track of spending, but she can also help you achieve your goals: Users can create a literal goal within the PayGoal app, and every payday, Paula will send a text message reminder for the user to set aside money for that target. Employees can also interact with Paula directly from the app; while some of her responses are automated, many are actually personalized.
Investors know that choosing the right Seed level startup to fund is a difficult choice, and it’s one not based on the company’s ability to generate capital alone. There’s much more to determining whether a startup is worth investing in, and that’s what Erin Glenn is revealing through her website, quire.com. When a startup signs up for Quire, Glenn and her team help the organization create a visual storyboard of their company that can tell investors much more than meets the eye. One of the most important sections is the Insights section, in which entrepreneurs are asked questions such as, “What kind of legacy do you want to leave?” in order to give investors an idea of that person’s true ambitions. Currently, Quire promotes two organizations.