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Erica Schwiegershausen

XX in Tech

Our Favorite Startups From Women’s Demo Night, Hosted by New York Tech Meetup and Change the Ratio

Jeanne Pinder, the founder and CEO of Clear Health Costs and Jessica Lawrence, managing director of NYTM at the second Women's Demo Night.

“How different is this room right now, in terms of the percentages of women versus men?” Jessica Lawrence, the managing director of New York Tech Meetup asked the audience at the second Change the Ratio and NYTM Women’s Demo night on Tuesday. She had a point. The crowd gathered at Facebook’s Midtown offices to watch women-run founders demo their startups was diverse in terms of age, race, and ethnicity, yet predominately female.

Ms. Lawrence kicked off the evening by confessing that, even as the event’s organizer and a former Girl Scouts CEO, she had mixed feelings about the self-selecting event. “In some ways,” she said, “having a whole separate stage just for women sometimes kind of defeats the purpose.” Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: Trademob is Coming to New York; Zite Launches Post-Shark Week App

(photo: flickr user USFWS Pacific)

Job Search CareerSonar, a new job search site designed to help users discover the most promising career opportunities by integrating their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, just announced their private beta launch. You can try out the site now with an early access invite.

Pets PetFlow, a New York-based scheduled pet food delivery service, just announced that it fulfilled more than $2.5 million in pet food and supply orders during the month of July. The company projects it’ll generate more than $30 million in sales by the year’s end.

Filters Are your Instagram photos not looking grainy enough lately? If so, you may want to check out StrutType, a new photo app designed to replicate the process of using a strut folding camera. Apparently, the app applies a series of filters, canvases, textures, light leaks and other aging techniques to “render an authentically antiquated image.” Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: Bat Haus Brings Coworking to Bushwick and Tech Launch Announces its Inaugural Class

Bat Haus, Bushwick’s new coworking space. (photo: Bat Haus)

Summer love Do you ever find yourself wishing that couples therapy was cheaper? Well, here’s an app that claims to be just as effective, and for only $7.95 a month (limited time only). Couplewise combines digital interactive versions to cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and research from leading cognitive behavioral therapists as well as crowdsourcing the wisdom of other couples “who have been there.” The company claims that 79 percent of their beta users say that their relationship has improved as a result of the app, and none say it has worsened—what are you waiting for?

Attention freelancers Coworking has come to Bushwick with Bat Haus, a new community office space open to freelancers of all disciplines. The space opened last month and has apparently been hosting art groups, writing meetups and fashion shoots. If its sunny decor doesn’t seal the deal, they also have a backyard with a grill and potlucks for members. Full time membership is $275 a month, part-time $175, and it’s $15 for a day pass. Read More

Millenial Makers

App Ideas from High-Schoolers: a Pitch Presentation with NYC Generation Tech

Adam Israfil, 14, presents an app to help readers find books suited to their taste.

“It’s pretty safe to say we’re all geeks here,” said Xavier Suarez, a particularly self-aware 16-year-old from Brooklyn, gesturing to a classroom full of fresh-faced fellow high school students. Betabeat had trekked down to Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus for the first pitch presentation of NYC Generation Tech—a new initiative by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to provide mentorship for disadvantaged high school students interested in technology.

The program, which is still in pilot phase, consists of a two-week summer bootcamp followed by a series of weeknight meetings in the fall, hosted at the local offices of top tech companies like Facebook, NASDAQ and Warby Parker. The 30 accepted students work in teams to develop a mobile app prototype using MIT App Inventor, targeted at other New York City students. Read More

Metro Tech

Meet Marie: LaGuardia Airport’s New Thumb-Twiddling Customer Service Avatar

LaGuardia Airport General Manager Tom Bosco introduces Terminal B's new customer service representative, Marie.

Wednesday was the first day on the job for Marie, LaGuardia Airport’s newest customer service hire: a virtual avatar designed to answer questions and help guide visitors through the airport.

The round-faced, chestnut-haired young woman we saw before us was merely a video of a human woman–the Port Authority wouldn’t disclose the actress’s name–projected on Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: Gilt Group now has Search Capabilities; Codeacademy Can Help You Learn Python

The redesigned Nestio iPhone app.

Hunting season Nestio has redesigned its iPhone app, designed to help apartment hunters stay organized and share information with friends. In addition to improved camera functionality, the 2.0 version has some new features, including an activity screen to help users see what progress their roommates have made in the search, as well as a checklist to help potential renters and buyers remember what features to look for when they’re viewing an apartment.

Guilty convenience Gilt Group just announced that they have (finally) added search capabilities to the site. Members can now search each Gilt store by category, brand and price—just like almost every other website that exists.

1000+ Zinio—which produces interactive versions of existing magazines, providing a reading platform which enables readers to easily navigate text, interactive graphics, animated illustrations, and videos—just announced the production of its 1000th interactive magazine. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

HBO’s Allison Williams Got Awkward on Stage at CollegeHumor’s Annual Offline Show

HBO Girls star Allison Williams talks sex and beauty tips with CollegeHumor's Josh Ruben. (Timothy Reilly for CollegeHumor)

A surprisingly diverse crowd showed up at The Gramercy Theater last night for the annual CollegeHumor Offline show. The audience was almost half female and included numerous fans significantly older than the site’s namesake demographic.

The content, however, was exactly what you’d expect if you’ve ever perused CollegeHumor for some sophomoric fun. The show featured a familiar crew—Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld of the site’s most popular series, Jake & Amir, Elaine Carroll of Very Mary-Kate—delivering familiar punch lines, most to the effect of, “I put my dick in your Sprite.” CollegeHumor’s editor in chief Streeter Seidell opened the show with a few jokes about peeing himself and disliking farmer’s markets before assuring the audience that there were a lot more “cumming jokes” to look forward to. In that respect, the performers did not disappoint. Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: BuddyTV Makes it Easier to Watch the Good Parts of the Olympics; Vayable Announces Y-Combinator Backing

"A Private Night on Alcatraz"—it could be yours on Vayable.com.

The Olympics BuddyTV has added a dedicated Olympics quicklist to its TV guide, allowing users to see a chronological, up-to-date list of all coverage on their available channels–since, despite the numerous apps which cater to online streaming, the majority of viewers still watch the Olympics on television. Quicklist subscribers can also receive real-time alerts Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: Shop ‘Local’ Edition

(flickr.com/nataliemaynor)

Shop ‘til you drop Shopkick—a location-based shopping app which rewards shoppers for walking into stores and interacting with products—has just announced a partnership with Macy’s. As of last week, customers at Macy’s more than 800 brick-and-mortar U.S. locations can now earn rewards and receive exclusive offers whenever they walk into a store, which was made possible through a technology partnership with Mood Media. The app is available for both iPhone and Android.

Shopping, continued Local startups Local Response and ShopLocal are teaming up to combine the former’s real-time intent monitoring system and the latter’s SmartCircular API—which will generate mobile-based incentives for in-store customers, including coupons, loyalty rewards and discounts. (Which sounds a lot like Shopkick, if you ask us.) ShopLocal’s promotional services are already used by retailers like Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, Staples, CVS and Searswhich isn’t exactly what we’d expect from such a seemingly obvious name, but there you have it. Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: Brooklyn Tech Triangle Seeks Master Plan; Reuters is Now Distributing Animated Content

"Master Your DSLR Camera:" now available for iOS from Open Air Publishing.

Animated news Reuters has announced the launch of an exclusive partnership with Next Media Animation. Starting this week, Reuters will offer around 20 animated news stories a week produced by Next Media Animation News Direct service, intended to offer visual chronologies of events not captured on video—such as the sinking of the Costa Concordia—as well as present clear illustrations of more technical news.

Master plan The Brooklyn Tech Triangle is seeking proposals for an area-wide strategic plan to support the growing tech sector, which is expected to nearly double in the next three years. Objectives of the designated planning team include improving transportation between the tech triangle and surrounding communities and developing implementable land-use strategies. An information session for potential respondents will take place on July 20 at the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership office; proposals are due August 10.

How-to Open Air Publishing, an innovative digital publisher which produces interactive how-to ebooks for iOS, including Master Your DSLR Camera and The Better Bacon Book, just raised $800,000 in seed round funding from Digital Entertainment Ventures, SV Angel, Charles River Ventures and 500 Startups. Read More