A look at the NY Tech Scene from the NYCEDC Entrepreneur at Large:
With the crisp fall weather setting in, last week was still red hot in the tech sector. As Lauren Keyson reported on NY Convergence -- "the NYVideo Meetup at AOL the room was packed with videophiles looking to see the next cool thing."
The program featured four companies -- each sharing a video offering that the room was excited to see demonstrated.
First up was Zentrick -- an interactive, two way communication offering. "Video is very static and is a great storytelling tool, but it's very bad at capturing audiences," said co founder Peter Mees. "And then pushing them down into that sales funnel and having people buy stuff, do stuff, play games and interact with all video content they're getting. It's different because you can define those interactive experiences once, and they will run on any device that can be embedded on multiple channels."
The second presenter was Spreecast, a one-to-many video curation platform that allows sites to gather conversations and broadcast them to the world. Broadcasters and talk directly with viewers before they go 'live' -- allowing them to pre-interview questioners, get lighting and sound right, and make sure that people are prepared to be good participants. That means that with guests like Britney Spears, Spreecast can help celebrities have high-quality interactive experiences.
The third presentation was Storyplanet.com. Bjarke Mythu is the company's founder. He imagined an easy to use website building tool. You can create pages of videos, text and photos on your website. Mythu told NY Convergence: "It's different from other startups in that it's interactive so you can add buttons, maps and timelines on top of it. It's easier to use than Flash or HTML or other tools that you have to code."
The final presentation was the team from Jest.com. Jeff Rubin, editor in chief and Paul Briganti, director, told the story of Jest, a site owned by Barry Diller's NY Based IAC, and a spin off of College Humor.com. Jest is in the topical and timely humor business -- looking to grab a news headline and turn it into a buzz-worthy clip that will go viral. They're in a race to be fast and funny -- and to get folks to tune in to them, rather than competitors like Funny or Die. "We do comedy videos in a very good turnaround. That's the challenge of what we do -- is making things so quickly and also funny and being high enough production value to compete with other comedy-video sites in the marketplace," Briganti told NY Convergence.
Overall -- the room was upbeat and enthusiastic. And, if you want to know about one surprising change, it wasn't that long ago that the NY Video Meetup was a hotbed of video makers and technologists looking for gigs. Now, with web video and the NY Tech Scene on the rise -- there wasn't anyone out of the almost 200 attendees who took to the mike to 'pitch themselves' for a gig. Seems like there's full employment in the web video biz.
In fact, if there's anything that New York needs to keep the tech scene growing -- it's a steady flow of new graduates to fill the growing jobs that the tech sector requires. So, New York's fans and recruiters are fanning out to invite talent to choose NY for their post graduate lives. A city-sponsored tech recruitment program called NYC Tech Talent Draft will send our folks from more than 30 local startups to six East Coast campuses: Brown, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, MIT, Cornell, and Carnegie Mellon. This is the second round of recruiting, which began in the spring. Startups who will hit the road include Bitly, Songza, Birchbox, Flatiron Health, GroupMe and CB Insights. Ann Li, executive vice president at NYCED told the Daily News "We want to tell the story, if you want to do really fun and cool engineering stuff, the West Coast isn't the only destination. New York City has plenty."
And finally -- if you had any doubt that NY was on the bursting at the seems with new tech startups -- then check out the fact that there are two websites ready to help companies find workspace in the city. The NY Techblog reports on Squarefoot and Loopnet.
Squarefoot is like an online tenant broker, aiding prospective tenants to find the perfect commercial real estate space that fits their needs. And its free. Loopnet is a search engine for real estate listings in NYC (and across the country). The site has over 5 millions registered members and a database of 25 million property records.
Have a great week in NY Tech!
(tips, events, or NY Tech news? Email me at Srosenbaum (at) nycedc (dot) com)