5 Minute Pitches

New Web Series Spotlights New York Startups

Weekly show 5in5NYC debuted with a special demo from 3D printing startup Shapeways.
 New Web Series Spotlights New York Startups

Mr. Skiff (ericskiff.com)

Unless your company is driven by big-name investors, it can be difficult to get press coverage for your fledgling startup until you’ve raised a significant amount of funding or kicked up some controversy. At least that’s the theory behind 5in5NYC, a new web series from entrepreneurs Eric Skiff and Kunal Shah that spotlights some of New York’s most compelling budding companies.

Mr. Skiff and Mr. Shah originally worked at Drop.io, a New York-based file sharing site that was acquired by Facebook back in 2010. After the acquisition, Mr. Skiff went to work for AOL Ventures’ Q Labs, an incubator that rapidly prototypes new technologies every six weeks, and Mr. Shah went to Urtak, a TechStars company. Now, the two have teamed up again for 5in5NYC.

“5in5NYC is a weekly video show where we’re highlighting five New York startups each week and giving them a chance to tell their own story, pitch what they’re working on, and what they’re currently going out and selling,” Mr. Skiff told Betabeat by phone.

Mr. Skiff said that 5in5NYC grew out of a need for a positive news outlet that focused on young startups.

“I know so many people working through TechStars or Y Combinator, but struggle to find coverage before they’re a big name,” he said. “It puts you in a really tough position of always needing something from reporters. We wanted to create an easy channel, something that was very founder friendly.”

The first episode debuted yesterday and featured companies like Scrollkit and TimeHop. But perhaps most interesting was the demo made by 3D printing startup Shapeways. Though the company had teased the new material on their blog, Brad Dickason, Shapeways’ head of product, demo’d for the first time a flexible, squishy material that the team is working on.

Carine Carmy, Shapeways’ marketing and communications director, confirmed to Betabeat that “the squishy material is new, though we haven’t made it available for sale just yet as we are finalizing all the details.”

Once it goes into production, Shapeways’ new squishy material could be a total game changer for the 3D printing market, which has previously only focused on hard materials and flexible plastics.

“We were super excited to have them make an announcement that big on the show,” said Mr. Skiff. “It totally changed the tenor of the first episode. I think this was the first time that anyone had really seen the material, seen how amazing it looks, see that it squishes and that it’s not just like a more flexible plastic–it’s actually a whole different class.”

5in5NYC plans to release a new episode every Monday. Next week they’re hosting Karma, which is San Francisco-based but partners with a lot of East Coast companies, including Birchbox, said Mr. Skiff.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com