NY Tech Meetup Recap (3/5/07)

by mike on March 6, 2007

I attended the NY Tech Meetup last night at Cooper Union. As usual, it was a good turnout with a few hundred folks attending despite the blistering weather. Here’s a brief rundown of the companies that presented.


daisy

Caught the tail end of this presentation, but the gist is social networking around surfing the web. You install a Firefox extension (IE in the works) and are able to meet your friends at specific web pages. The founders are affiliated with IBM in some way and run their development out of Peru. Not incredibly interesting in my book. Kind of reminds of StumbleUpon.


buyifok

This site’s goal is to prevent the buying of stolen goods. The potential market is huge, but they didn’t think through the business model and how to really solve this problem. The idea is to register the serial number of a product once you buy it. I have no clue how that addresses the problem, considering a thief could do the same. The presentation was more comical than anything. It did get me thinking about fraud prevention and how important it is to large enterprises. Companies lose billions of dollars per year on stolen or fraudulent goods.


overhead in nyc

This is a cool site where people submit short conversations that they overhear in NYC. It’s actually quite funny. They presented a new feature where users can leave phone messages and the corresponding audio files will get posted to the site. No real innovation there, as most of the work is done with human intervention (and Vonage I believe). The site is completely free and revenues are based on ads. The founder stressed that the site is really a “hobby”, but has been around for a number of years already.

aime street
The first of a few music-related startups. Let’s you discover, buy and sell music. No DRM – just straight MP3s. Dynamic pricing. Songs start out free and get bid up to 98 cents depending upon demand. Not sure if I agree with the dynamic pricing model (more to come on this). Overall, the website was clean and seemed easy to use. The founders were recent Brown graduates. Music is a very competitive space and product differentiation is key to compete with the big boys. Nevertheless, a good start for a few guys right out of school.


music nation

The guys from MusicNation were well-prepared and gave a good presentation. This startup is described as YouTube meets American Idol. That’s some pretty big shoes to fill. They hold contests for record deals and charge each contestant any entry fee. Idea behind fee is to filter out “bad” content. The founders have strong NYC ties (DoubleClick), which probably helped quite a bit to secure some of their deals – ClearChannel, Sony BMG and Epic Records.

I have to admit, I was already familiar with The Hype Machine before the presentation. Some background to those who don’t know. The Hype Machine was built solely by Anthony Volodkin (who is now only 21). The Hype Machine crawls the web for music and aggregates the results. It really succeeds at the music discovery aspect. You can listen to songs directly on the site in THM’s flash player and buy music from iTunes/Amazon. I love the site and aggregation approach. Definitely needs some work on the user-interface and business model. In fact, I have no clue how THM makes money.


unype

This seemed more of a project than startup. Basically, a mashup between Google Earth and Skype. I believe it was a C++ application. Once connected, one person would be able to take over the others experience similar to a GoToMyPC session. Possible applications include guided travel tours, driving directions and real estate open houses.

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