New York Tech Meetup had its first meetup of 2011 last night at its usual spot, the Skirball Center at New York University off W. 4th, and attendees seemed glad to be home after community board elections forced the December meetup to an away venue.
“Skirball!” hecklers shouted, when the audience was prompted for questions after demos or asked who would win the BCS title.
Ten companies demo’ed Web and mobile apps:
- Dump.FM, an image-based chatroom reminiscent of 4chan
- JaaVuu, a way to create openly-editable image galleries
- Munchly, an app to order movie or ballpark concessions from your seat
- Firefly, a Twitter client that aggregates geotagged check-ins from a variety of apps
- Sitesimon, a browser add-on for broadcasting what sites you’re viewing
- Adstruc, an online marketplace for the antiquated world of billboard advertising
- Superfluid, a project collaboration tool and marketplace that lets you pay for skills with social capital
- VYou, a video-based question and answer site
- DOTGO, a markup language to add interactive SMS technology to your site
- Guguchu, a platform for bands to manage sales, distribution and marketing
Munchly, the “mobile concession booth,” got cheers from the audience, even before founder Andrew Tider offered to buy everyone a beer. The mobile app lets you see what concessions are on offer, order and pay for them at your seat, and then either have them delivered to you and get a notification that they’re ready for pickup at the counter. The company is about to announce a partnership with a major movie chain, Tider said, and it’s looking for funding.
Another company that got the audience buzzing was VYou. VYou is part social network, part YouTube. VYou takes Formspring’s proposition—”ask me anything”—and adds video, categories and asynchronous following. The site managed to attract director Kevin Smith, who uploaded a video of himself picking his nose.
Porn is the common use for the conversational video technology, and the “Chatroulette issue”—where the video chat site became overrun with nudity and drove away clothed users—naturally came up in the Q&A. VYou plans to moderate content, said founder Steve Spurgat, but so far the site has seen 60,000 videos uploaded “and only one boob.”
DOTGO wrote an SMS polling app in less than a minute using its own markup language, which scored some goodwill from the audience for sheer hackery. Sitesimon (sites-im-on) pushed the envelope on oversharing with a demo of how it broadcasts what you’re looking at online in real-time and gives points for discovering content before it goes viral.
TechStars alum Adstruc did not have the sexiest demo, but theirs was by far the most polished. Founder John Laramie showed the extensive online marketplace his company has built to replace the Excel spreadsheets that still power the outdoor advertising industry. The database of available billboard space is integrated with Google Maps so that advertisers can see a streetview of the space they’re considering.
As an example, Laramie plugged a $1,500, 5’1″ by 5’11” ad space in the subway at 23rd and Parkand offered to pay for printing. “Half a million people will see this ad,” he said.
NYTM and Meetup.com founder Scott Heiferman took the stage (video below) to talk about the vibrancy of New York’s tech scene and how much NYTM has grown.
“We came together in 2004 because New York had not made any of the great things about the Internet,” he said. “Finally New York is kicking ass. Etsy is kicking it. Foursquare is kicking it. Tumblr is kicking it. Kickstarter is kicking it.”
The group now has more than 15,000 members, two sponsors at every meetup and two newly-elected community board members. He then tossed an iPad off the stage—a reference to this—and proposed a toast to the new year.
“Cheers!” the audience echoed, and clinked phones.