Last Thursday was the fifth annual New York TechDay conference, which brought together over 30,000 attendees and five hundred exhibiting startup companies. The event shone a spotlight on the burgeoning New York tech scene, which has grown exponentially in the past five years. We met many fascinating entrepreneurs and interviewed several of them at our Founders Lounge.
While it was difficult to choose, we highlighted below our five favorite exhibiting companies:
Whether you’re a tourist or a seasoned New York native, nothing can prepare you for the daily chaos that is the New York transit system. Dash! Transit helps travelers prepare for their commute by delivering real-time bus and subway transit alerts directly to their phone or smartwatch. In a year and a half since development, Dash! has amassed over 15,000 users and is available all over the U.S. CEO Raj Agarwal told us he plans to integrate the app with Uber shortly and eventually integrate Dash in car navigation systems.
2. Pledge It
Pledge It combines sports with social good by allowing athletes to raise money for their team and leverage their performance to directly benefit a cause. Pledge It first garnered attention last year when Cincinnati Bengals defense end Devon Still used the platform to raise money for every sack he made on the field in honor of his daughter. Pledge It provides a fundraising platform for athletes both at the college and professional level. CEO Scott Shirley told us that in the 18 months since it was founded, Pledge It has run over 1,000 campaigns and now works regularly with over thirty of the top university sports programs.
Hooch is a subscription-based service that offers its users one free drink a day from a list of select bars. The idea is to streamline the process of discovering new bars in a city by rewarding prospective customers. We sat down with Hooch co-founder Lin Dai, who told us that while customers use the app to claim their first free drink at the bar, the average user spends an additional $30-40 per visit which translates into big returns for the venue. A subscription costs $9.99 per month which, if you live in New York, can equal the cost of a single beer or cocktail (if you’re lucky). Hooch has launched in over 150 venues across the United States and is soon to launch in Hong Kong.
We had a classic “why didn’t I think of that?” moment, when we found out about Mobile Passport. The Mobile Passport app from Airside Mobile, lets you bypass the customs and immigration line at US airports by pre-submitting your passport information and customs declaration form directly from your phone. The app is free and works at over fifty US airports. Airside Mobile CEO and developer of the app Hans Miller pointed out that it solves two problems: for travelers, it dramatically cuts down the time spent in customs lines; and for airports, it reduces time and labor needed for customs and allows travelers to spend more time (and money) in airport terminals.
Scheduling meetings can be a huge pain – it involves a lot of back-and-forth emails and scrambling to locate time on the calendar. x.ai is an artificial intelligence-powered personal assistant that schedules meetings for you. Users can “CC” email@example.com in an email to someone and “Amy” handles the process of coordinating schedules and blocking time off on the calendar. The invisible software has been in stealth mode since 2014, but fresh off of a recent $23M funding round, x.ai founder Dennis Mortensen says he’s ready to lift the veil to the public very soon.
Congrats to all of the companies that participated in New York TechDay! We look forward to another great event next year.
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