On December 4, 2012, I attended NY Tech’s December 2012 meetup at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Ten startups presented their platforms: Punch.is, Betterment, Glide, BackSpace, Pling, Hacker Union, Luci, Boxee, LittleBits, and Reveal.is & rvl.io.
Punch.is is a powerful app that “reduces the time, cost and risk of developing apps for devices.” It can build products for at-home developers and allows them to be able to control device native stuff. Punch is controllable through CMS and it can scream videos on the internet through integration. There is no HTML coding in Punch. It uses CMS to create content. Punch is an object-oriented publishing tool. There are native widgets embedded in the platform and there are trigger actions that make the app come alive. Punch already has some gaming modules within the game, but Punch plans to expand to incorporate more than just puzzles.
Betterment is a simple-to-use investing tool that automates investing with a clean and intuitive user interface. “You invest to achieve your goals,” Jon Stein, founder, said. “Betterment is a better way to invest. Technology hasn’t helped customers in terms of investing. We help them.” Using Betterment, clients can invest like “an expert” using Betterment’s research and suggestions to where to place the money. “It helps you focus on your future and your savings,” Stein said. “After you sign up, Betterment is connected to your bank account and automates and reinvests the money that you’ve allocated for you.” Betterment’s team consists of actual brokers, investors and traders.
Glide connects Windows, Google Drive, Dropbox, iOS, Picasa, Android all for you. It syncs everything on to one interface. It becomes a search box for all of the devices where the user can view music, videos, documents, pictures all in one place. Glide can also connect with any IMAP/POP email clients (so that means Gmail) and it also has one click social media publishing. Glide offers features such as adding a link viewing and downloading limit and it reduces fragmentation of files. With Glide, you log in with one account to access files that are distributed across multiple devices.
Backspac.es is a web publishing tool that works as a storytelling app for the iPhone. It tells stories with photos and words. Backspac.es has a public and private options — either views must have the link to view the article or be viewable by everybody. The user can add captions, photos and add FourSquare locations (Backspac.es is linked with the FourSquare API) and create a log of the events and locations the user has been. Sharing on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr are all integrated into the platform.
Pling is a push-to-talk mobile messanger that runs on an OSX platform. The user can send “Voice Messages” via p2p or to groups/teams. Pling is an easy-to-use app to help users maintain a level of personality that is otherwise absent through text-to-text. The app allows users to send messages to groups, which is currently not an option with most voice-to-voice messaging systems. It also goes mobile to desktop and vice versa, as well as to any other devices.
HackerUnion.org is a community designed for engineers, builders, designers and artists. It takes the idea of mentorship and connects engineers with one another. The mentorship system helps nurture the community and brings people who are passionate about what they do together. HackerUnion is not just about one person, but about everybody involved.
Luci is a product developed by MPowered. MPowered is a benefit corporation dedicated to providing cutting edge renewable energy solutions. It has partnered up with non-profit organizations to eliminate energy poverty. Its goal is provide access to lights to people around the world. With Luci, which is an inflatable device that emits LED light, MPowered hopes to supersede and replace harmful kerosene lamps and other dangerous means by which people are forced to find light. Luci is a recyclable, water-resistant solar lantern. It has a lifespan of up to one year and provides about 15 square feet of light. A single charge under the sun allows for about three months of light. MPowered is currently working on a biodegradable lantern.
Boxee.tv brings DVR to mobile or any device in a cheap and easy way. Boxee was developed when Avner Ronen, Idan Cohen and Andrew Kippen compared online sources to sources available for the TV. There weren’t many options and they decided to have TV the same way. They created the world’s first cloud DVR, which currently gets all broadcast channels. It can record shows and send it to the DVR and stream it to the user’s device within a matter of seconds. There is a little delay, but that is due to the DVR.
LittleBits.cc is an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with magnets for prototyping, learning and having fun. Using “Magnet Magic,” the user can put two bits together to snap the magnets together. The bits are categorized into three categories: power, input and output. LittleBits is trying to help grow and nurture the next generation of thinkers and problem-solvers. Their goal is to make everyone an inventor and created LittleBits to help experimenting and collaborating and learning from each other’s creativity.
rvl.io and reveal.js are web-based platforms that make HTML presentations easy. It is an open-source presentation — and because it is in HTML, it will run on any browser and computer that has an internet connection. Reveal.jp is currently targeted towards app developers. It can also be exported to .pdf. Rvl.io is built on top of reveal.js as an editing tool. It allows users to publish, delete or create new presentations using a clean and easy-to-use interface. Rvl.io and reveal.js are completely independent of all libraries so embedding videos or photos are of no issue.