Tech and the City

NYC to Host World Cup for Problem-Solving Startups This Month

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From standing out on Kicktarter to vying for VC, startups have to work so hard to get noticed that you could call the whole tech industry a competition.

On November 20, NYC will host a literal startup competition — Challenge Cup 2015, wherein startups focused on solving some of the world’s biggest challenges in education, energy and health care will compete for prizes and meet with mentors, partners and investors. Read More

Clean Tech

Breaking the Breaker Box – Enertiv and the Quantified Energy User

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In the offices of Urban Future Lab, high above Brooklyn’s Metrotech Center, there’s a screen covered with charts and graphs over the receptionist’s head. A light bulb is turned off, and a bar graph dips in response. The air conditioning kicks on, and another chart jumps. On the screen, a dollar amount, now reading “$79” slowly ticks upward.

The graphs are monitoring the energy use of the tech incubator, which houses over a dozen startups focused on clean tech and infrastructure. One of the startups hosted here is Enertiv, who are unrolling a system that is giving us a look at how we’re using our energy, more closely than we’ve ever had. Read More

Metro Tech

Startup Hopes to Make Your Steam Radiator Less Noisy, More Efficient

The radiator. (Photo: Radiator Labs)

Now that winter is coming, there are a lot of annoying things that make us miserable (looking at you, slow-walking tourists), but perhaps there’s nothing more aggravating than the steam-heated radiators commonly found in pre-war apartment buildings. They’re loud, annoying and very inefficient.

Marshall Cox, a graduate student from Columbia University, hopes to change that with his new startup called Radiator Labs. The company is currently piloting a thermal insulated helmet-like device that fits overs existing steam heat radiators and controls the heat output using a fan. Users can control the temperature using an app.  Read More

Startups From the Stars

Pharrell Stuck His Microphone in Our Face at the Launch for YPlan’s NYC App

Pharrell Williams is flanked by YPlan cofounders Viktoras Jucikas (left) and Rytis Vitkauskas. (Photo: Getty)

When you write about tech, invites to startup launch parties promising logo stickers and an open bar are pretty much an everyday occurrence. But you aren’t usually promised that Pharrell Williams will be performing.

Such was the scenario at last night’s launch party for YPlan, an app that got its start in London and is available in NYC starting today. Pharrell is an advisor to the app; cofounder Rytis Vitkauskas said he signed on after many of the artist’s uber-chic London friends recommended its services. Mr. Vitkauskas added that the 10-month-old app is already on 15 percent of London’s iPhones. Read More

Play Your Video Games

San Francisco Startups Are Now Renting Video Game Machines In Another Effort to Avoid Work

So much fun. (Photo: Slippery Brick)

Hey startups, if the space next to your iced coffee kegerator is looking a bit lonely, then we suppose the best solution is to rent a vintage video game machine. That’s what the cool kids in San Francisco are doing with a new service called All You Can Arcade. It’s best described as Netflix for bulky, dust-collecting arcade machines. Read More