5 Minute Pitches
Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian stood at the front of a large room at the Hunters Point Plaza Penthouse in Long Island City, and looked out over the rows of tables set up for various startups based in the borough that, let’s be honest, doesn’t always have the best rep in the city.
“The New York tech community is just starting. There’s so much awesome stuff happening in all of New York City,” he said. “The only issue I’ve got is there’s a lot of it going on right around here.” He pointed to a map of Manhattan.
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.
the startup rundown
Sam Cervantes, a former aerospace engineer, spent almost a year as chief of operations for Brooklyn-based 3D printing powerhouse Makerbot before leaving at the end of 2010 under undisclosed circumstances. But after about a year, he bounced back into the 3D printing scene with his own printer and company, Solidoodle. The basic printer starts at just $499, making it one of the cheapest at-home 3D printers on the market.
the startup rundown
SHUTTER. Luminance is not your average photography conference. Instead of focusing on the latest gear, this two-day program will bring together experts at the forefront of the technology we use to create, manipulate and share our images. Among the speakers are Behance founder Scott Belsky, Hipstamatic cofounder Lucas Allen Buick, Google’s Chris Chabot, Pulitzer prize winning photographer Barbara Davidson, Tumblr
CEO president John Maloney, Facebook Photos engineer Srinivas Narayanan and the School of Visual Art’s David Ross. All speakers will present a 20-minute TED-style lecture.
TOE, HEEL, TOE, HEEL. What Not to Wear‘s Stacy London is the cofounder of a just-launched site that aims to connect personal stylists with the stylistically clueless. Style For Hire stylists will perform a “closet audit,” provide personal shopping services or create new outfits out of clothes a customer already has—that’s called closet shopping. Now women who aren’t lucky enough to be on the show can still have their closets—and lack of fashion sense—torn apart, but without the benefit of a judgmental, national audience.
Meet Your Maker
2×2^2. April 16 is officially 4sqDay in New York and over a dozen other cities around the country. The fan-created social media holiday’s official celebration will begin at 7 p.m. at The Caulfield. Check out the community blog and RSVP here.
CAPITAL IDEA. General Assembly is bringing back “Assembled Capital,” an all day event dedicated to getting startups funded. The $200 (plus a $4.97 fee) to get in is a bit steep, but breakfast, lunch and booze are totally included! The event will include talks, panels and plenty of elbow-rubbing time with the like of Squarespace’s Anthony Casalena, TechStars NYC’s David Tisch, Charlie O’Donnell of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Shane Snow of Contently and many others.
AIRbnFREE. Airbnb is teaming up with Thrillist and sponsoring Tour de Thrillist, a bicoastal race to discover all that LA, Vegas, Austin, Philly and of course NYC have to offer. Up for grabs is a five-destination trip and free Airbnb accommodations. Cross your fingers and enter the sweepstakes here.
Shapeways, the Dutch 3D printing startup that moved out to New York after a $5.1 million investment from Union Square Ventures and Index Ventures, has been on a steady crusade to introduce the future-facing practice of 3D-printing to the mainstream.
After a year in New York, the Esty of 3D printing, which makes it easy for people to create and sell their own designs on its open source 3D printers, got that hockey stick growth on its way to becoming the factory behind a growing maker community. (MakerBot is also a fan.)
Today, the company announced its first U.S. distribution center, a 5,000 sq. ft. facility in Long Island City in Queens with a nearby factory in the range of 15,000 sq. ft. to follow. Betabeat talked to Kegan Fisher, Shapeways’s director of industrial engineering, about the particular challenges of building out production and shipping for a company that processes hundreds of thousands of completely unique items on demand.
(We have it on good authority from one of her coworkers that in addition to being a “serious rockstar” in the office, Ms. Fisher also “wears the coolest heels” in New York.)
Even thieves have to innovate. The Pirate Bay, the inimitable Swedish captains of BitTorrenting, are looking to what’s next: pirated physical objects. The Pirates are tired of ripping off music, books and movies; there’s no challenge anymore. “We don’t talk about how to rip anything without losing quality since we make perfect 1 to 1 digital copies of things,” the site announced on its blog. “Music, movies, books, all come from the digital sphere. But we’re physical people and we need objects to touch sometimes as well!”
Shapeways, the 3D printing startup that moved from Europe to New York after an investment from Union Square Ventures, has had a good year. The art of 3D printing seems to be zeitgeisting between the Dutch startup and Brooklyn-based Makerbot (the two love each other) and the coverage in media like Wired and Make magazine.
You’re on the hunt for some great gadgets and apps this holiday season, but want to support your local Silicon Alley entrepreneurs. Never fear, Betabeat is here, with a list of tech toys made in the Big Apple. Read More
3D printing shop Shapeways’ New York production facility—Imagine that! Modern-day manufacturing right here in NYC!—won’t be open until the second quarter of next year. In the meantime, however, the Etsy of 3D printing decided to celebrate its first anniversary of working on Madison Park by showing Betabeat some go-go numbers.