Event Recap: November 2015 NY Tech Meetup

The New York Tech Meetup is the largest meetup group in the world with over 47,000 members from the tech community in NYC. On Tuesday, the Lab attended their monthly event to see some of the city’s most promising startups demo their products live. As always, the ingenuity on display was inspiring. Below are brief summaries of some of the exhibitors:

Venuebook offers an easy way for a user to book a group outing or private event with the Expressbook tool. Available in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington DC, the tool allows you to search for and reserve the perfect space for your party. Venuebook is able to provide real-time venue availability because they are the calendar platform of record for a number of restaurants and event spaces.

For those that are dedicated to eating healthier, Foodstand is building a food community to help foodies find, cook, and eat better food. Users can search posts to see what others have made for inspiration, discover local restaurants, and win prizes for participating in challenges (like their recent food waste reduction challenge). Pictures, recipes, and reviews live on a central news feed. Foodstand also mentioned they have a partnership with Dig Inn.

For consumers that are tired of dealing with cellular providers, Karma is a Wi-Fi hotspot that allows users to purchase cellular data when they need it for $14 per GB. Users can also earn karma points in the form of data by allowing others to connect to their hotspot. There are over a thousand Karma devices currently deployed across the US and a user’s “gas tank” of data can be accessed via any of them. Karma currently operates on Sprint’s 4G LTE network. The founder claimed that he has had his phone on airplane mode for the past three years and has instead been operating entirely on Karma’s network.

In addition to the main exhibitors, students who had participated in HackNY demoed their projects. The first was Roam, for people that may be stranded without data or strong service (often at the end of a long night). The app allows users to get directions, check the weather, and even hail an Uber ride without the use of cellular data. Instead, requests are routed entirely through SMS. Second, Lights, Camera, Location! uses a Google API to search the entire world for the filming locations of any Hollywood movie. It is incredible that both of these solutions were conceived and built in only 24 hours!

Other companies to present included a podcast that drops hints for listeners to piece together to unlock the next episode, an online education platform for web development, and a safe way for sexual assault survivors to report their attacks. Overall, the audience was introduced to some extremely interesting and useful products, and it is clear that the tech community in New York is thriving.