Hatchery: Where presenters also learn how to present

NEW YORK–“The Hatchery: Are You Serious?” Meetup group has been holding startup presentations for eight years now, but sometimes this writer wonders if the question extends beyond the earnest question.


After all, it’s not easy to launch a successful startup let alone present in front of VCs. Host Yao Hui Huang has even brought in GK Training, which has one of its trainors in attendance to critique presentation styles—perhaps the only tech meetup group doing it regularly.

So when the startup fails to impress, either for its startup or presentation style, they get feedback from the VCs and the presentation trainors in attendance. It’s not meant to scare anyone, though, as much as the feedback are mostly constructive, helpful and a welcome addition to the tech meetup. It’s not too common to hear a perfect-pitch presentation, but the presenters come away from the experience better prepared for their next presentations.

Last May 28, The Hatchery presented four startups–Moving Analytics, Crowds Line, Mobiquire, Centrallo and Revenue Mantra at the Microsoft Building.

Increasing access to cardiac rehabilitation is the goal of Moving Analytics co-founder and COO Ade Adesanya, to address the issue of 3.5 million cardiac arrest dates each year. “We want to cut the risk of death. We are looking

For its go-to-market strategy, it is exploring direct sales, industry conferences and industry publications

For sports fans, The Crowd’s Line aims to create engagement, loyalty and revenue with its app featuring crowdsourced predictions.

CEO Anthony Lage said the app focuses on technical data than fundamental data from ESPN or Yahoo. “We are a contest-driven app. We provide market data and personal stats.”

Revenue Mantra’s Sam Swaminathan is in the business of ad tech, saying it is aiming at unifying platform ad needs of marketplaces and sellers. “We use data based on users’ product views and behavior online.”

A telling question was how is if it was performing, how it is performing better. An observation that could best explain what it aims to do came from one of the VCS: “So would you say it works like Google AdWords?”

Mobiquire is a mobile user acquisition platform. It’s supposed to help advertisers get quality downloads for their app.

“Advertisers pay only for the downloads they receive versus clicks or impressions,” said founder and CEO Aren Preymer.

It’s trying to solve the prohibitive cost of mobile user acquisition. Targeted and quality users are difficult to acquire, but clearly there’s a need to solve this problem, because many apps have poor user engagement and retention. Is Mobiquire the solution? That remains to be seen.

A question it needs to answer is how it actually find customers.

Centrallo’s Michael Sher offers a list and note-making personal productivity tool that also has Evernote as a competitor. Essentially, users create, organized evolution of lists and notes.

It seems undaunted by competition, as it Sher said 500 million people globally use productivity tools. It sees Centrallo as flexbile, habit-forming tool. It claims to have 13,000 users now.

VCs advised Sher to look into the competition and to understand how, say, Dropbox did it. “Find hierarchy, because it’s a crowded space.”

The VCs at the meetup were regular Jeff Neu of B2B ventures; Bill Reinisch of Paladin Capital Group and Sachin Jade of Klifer Capital. Dora Chomiak of 37 Angels was a good addition to the group. As always, Reinisch gives the most honest feedback among the group.

Quinones, Zenna stand out as speakers at Market New York Expo

NEW YORK–The Market New York Expo for small businesses last May 21 at the Javits Center featured several talks on branding, email marketing, digital sales and mobile marketing. What stood out for us were the talks on Search Engine Optimization by Ruben Quinones, NYU adjunct instructor and VP, Client Strategy at Path Interactive and Mobile Marketing by Warren Zenna, EVP & Managing Director at Mobext (Havas Media).


Both Quinones and Zenna made strong points about what small businesses refuse to face. For Quinones, it’s how small businesses ignore the importance of site architecture and planning. For Zenna, it’s ignoring the critical need about having a mobile-responsive site—not to be mistaken for an app. Actually, Zenna could not emphasize it more. “You only need a mobile-responsive site and not an app, unless, say, you’re an e-commerce site.”

Quinones and Zenna also stressed how Google is almost the only factor in both search and mobile marketing optimizations, with Zenna parrying a question about Bing being irrelevant. Your goal, it seems too many marketers these days, is to be found by Google. That’s the only thing that matters, because others will almost generate the same results.

It is surprising how many in the audience are not familiar with WordPress and its capabilities. Without talking down to his audience, he explained how it has become the CMS of choice for small and big companies. “CNN is built from WordPress.”

For search optimization, he suggests using Yoast. How do you get blogging to work for you? “Blog more than your competitors,” he said.

Zenna makes perfect sense. He asked what is the first point of contact nowadays? The answer was obvious, “Mobile,” because “60 percent of people check their smartphone.”

Based on different parameters, some sites are lower-ranked now because it’s not mobile-friendly

What was most telling about Zenna’s talk was how he discouraged everyone from making an app unless your business suits it or if you have the money. An app can set you back by $50,000 at the premium level. “If you’re using a WordPress site, you can create a mobile-friendly site with plug-ins.”

And what you may not know about an app is that it’s like a baby, he said. Once you launch, you’ll have to continue tweaking it—and spending more in the process.

Zenna offers some key takeways that were not different from Quinones’.

· Be found in Google search

· Site must be mobile-friendly

· Piggyback on popular social apps

FlyLabs announce new app, Tempo, for altering video time speeds

NEW YORK–FlyLabs has wowed audiences at the NY Tech Meetup months back and at the NY Video Meetup last May 20, it again drew some ecstatic applause for its video-editing apps, Fly, Clips and its new one called Tempo, a quick way to alter video time speeds.


You’ve got to see how soft-spoken Tim Novikoff somehow downplays his apps when he’s demonstrating their uses, but his hands are going fast through the many ways you can edit videos on the fly with his IOS-exclusive apps.

It’s not too often you see a real-time “magazine” and video platform for women but it’s what presenter Tiffany Pham, CEO of Mogul, thought was needed out there. So far, the platform reportedly gets $12 million views a week. For Pham, it was also important to talk about her roots—Vietnam–where her family came from before they moved to America.

Is she redefining publishing? Mogul is not curated in the traditional sense.

As more people work with videos, it’s even more crucial to know if your video presence is serving you well. Robert Galinsky of Galinsky Coaching is not your typical presenter. Stepping on the stage looking like Bono with his colorful translucent eyeglasses and mane of hair, he proceeds to explain the importance of preparation before any speaking engagement. He said he scoured the farthest point of the venue to check how he will be seen from that vantage point. He walked all around his space, where he will walk around as he presents, stressing how important making hand gestures is onstage, even more so on video. There’s the likelihood someone is always recording.

A prominent figure in the coaching world, Galinsky helps people speak better in every occasion—in conferences, keynote speeches, presentations, pitches, auditions, and panels—whether you are a seasoned professional or a first-time speaker.

The other two presenters were VR Video’s Edwin Rogers who talked about covering 360 degree events and Waypoint Media’s Auwai Odidi who is bringing digital advertising to the gaming community.

Odidi said the Waypoint Marketplace makes it easy to connect with gamers, track and report on campaigns, and browse new curated content. It has also reportedly developed technical solutions to take full advantage of the advertising market; tools to help gaming professionals measure their influence, brands track their audiences’ activity, and advertisers target their ads and monitor campaigns.

Care.com’s Sheila Marcelo talks about her success in elderly and child care space

By Dennis Clemente

NEW YORK–Last May 14, PandoMonthly hosted a one-on-one interview with Sheila Marcelo, CEO and co-founder of care.com who talked at length about her Filipino roots and how the influence of her “Tiger mom” and the discipline they inculcated in her formed a big part of her success now.


At one point, Marcelo remembers how she was made to live in a small hometown in Candelaria, Quezon to learn the Filipino language all over again when it was slipping from her. She went to Brent, an international high school in Manila.

She also recalls how she cleaned hardwood floors using coconut husks and pointing to the Projective Space’s old hardwood floors, “I can clean this floor now.”

“We did a lot of things with coconut,” she said as tells the audience about her parents being coconut entrepreneurs and how that has certainly influenced her to start care.com. She burrowed into it when her father suffered a heart attack as he was walking down a flight of stairs.

care.com is an online destination for care. It connects families with great caregivers and caring companies to help you be there for the ones you love. “We pair elderly care and child care in the same tech platform.”

“We spend millions of dollars investing in safety,” she said, stressing that her caregivers are vetted.

Marcelo said each individual is solely responsible for selecting an appropriate care provider or care seeker for themselves or their families and for complying with all applicable laws in connection with any employment relationship they establish.

It taught her to respect (working) remotely when she initially started her company with one of her tech co-founders based in Greece.

A smart and eloquent speaker, Marcelo pointed out “care” may have been considered soft when people should be hearing more about it as an economic imperative. The no. 1 source of caregivers of care.com is the Philippines. “I was raised by a nanny.”

She has a lot of advice for women –and the audience – in general. Many of the audience took them like gems they had to tweet or write about.

“The more authentic you are the more you can take risks”

“Speak up. Over-project! Be bold. Experiment with your boldness.”

“Be intense with outcomes. Be chill with people”

“I assume everyone is smart”

“Ideas are about rallying a people to work together?

“Go out there. Experiment.”

“When I mentor people today, I ask them, ‘Did you impress or inspire’?”

“You can only free your mind when you get over your issues.”

“Any challenge is a growth opportunity.”

Care.com is a subscription-based model with plans to launch an app soon.

In 2010, it started a TVC campaign, because “mothers watch cable TV.”

Up close with New York’s first CTO Minerva Tantoco

NEW YORK–Minerva Tantoco, New York City’s first-ever chief technology officer (CTO), said she pretty much created every job she had at the StartupGrind meetup last May 7.


Minerva Tantoco, New York City’s first-ever chief technology officer (CTO), said she pretty much created every job she had at the StartupGrind meetup last May 7.

Tantoco directs the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation, overseeing the development and implementation of a coordinated citywide strategy on technology and innovation and encouraging collaboration across agencies and with the wider New York City technology ecosystem.

“We are a little startup inside city hall,” she said.

Tantoco said she remembers being young in Silicon Valley and learning about pressure back in the eighties. “I wasn’t even old enough to rent a car. I had to have 25-year old colleague drive for me.” Her mother, a chemical engineer, is her role model.

Born and raised in Flushing, Queens, she went to Bronx High School of Science. Tantoco would create her own artificial software company when she was a junior in college. She sold it in 1985. For her family, it was not common to take the tech route, but because she pursued it, she prevailed in doing what she wanted to do with her life.

As New York’s CTO, which accepted last October 1, she said she probably made “the best decision of my life.” She likes how she is using her skills and abilities to provide technology strategy. “It’s an incredible opportunity. I never thought in a million years I would be CTO.”

Her advice to people: “You can’t be it if you can’t see it,” she said. She also worked for Palm and eventually worked as a CTO in various financial services.

Tantoco can be serious, but she also likes being irreverent. She said, “Have a single day be meaningful and do things by doing.” Upon realizing the sentimentality of her statement, she joked, “We should have a group hug later.”

In December, New York signed a franchise agreement allowing non-working phone booths to be converted into Wi-Fi free hotspots. It will also offer free phone calls. It’s a city-wide tech strategy. The city also aims to offer more internet access for 22 percent of New Yorkers who don’t have internet at home.

To succeed, she encourages everyone to “always disrupt yourself, or someone else will.”

Having inaugurated the tech talent pipeline, Tantoco sees technology as a path for the middle class to get jobs. “We need the talent. It’s very important for us to empower community schools.” She announced a summer youth employment program to expose kids to the startup world.

In using government data to help New York, she said, “New York has a great privilege. We have largest open data portal. We have an incredible civic hacking community.”

“We’re looking at the data to help predict where we should put public services first, how we can prevent homelessness and crime,” she added.

Addressing the audience, she said city hall “can use a lot of your feedback.”

NY Tech Meetup launches Apple Watch app, 7 other startups present

NEW YORK–It’s good to see Scott Heiferman show up at NY Tech Meetup last May 5. Once a regular fixture of it many years ago, even as co-host, the Meetup founder has understandably been busy building his community of meetups, 30,000 for tech alone around the country. It was, as he has explained over time, a “9/11 baby.” He was at this particular meetup to announce the NY Tech Meetup Apple Watch app.


he presenters of the night were Ananas, AptDeco, Amadeus, CornellTech, Epicure, OneDrop and X.ai with Wikitongues as hack of the night.

Ananas founder Arielle Shekel made the right decision of showing an actual demonstration of a child on video, at Skirball Theater’s giant screen at that, teaching her own language to answer Shekel’s vision of having two children connect with each other from opposite sides of the world.

Shekel said her app was inspired by her international background. She was born in New York but moved to Tel Aviv, Israel.

For safety concerns, Shekel said her app’s first version will only offer recorded versions for now. She also said how she prefers to keep one child interacting with another child in their respective languages, instead of having them talk in many other languages. “In the future, we will have other languages but in our research, most (parents) know the other language they want their kids to learn,” she said.

The platform is designed for children with friendly flashcards and icons and reinforced by playful memory games.

Made in New York in 2013, AptDeco is a buy-and-sell marketplace for used furniture. The startup provides a platform for buying or selling used furniture. It’s an end-to-end process that includes arranging pick-up, delivery, payments and customer service. Listing items is free.

AptDeco reportedly verifies and buyers and sellers, then works with local delivery teams to pick up and deliver the furniture. For every sale, it deducts 14 to 19 percent from you depending on price item.

Amadeus is a data and payments platform for the music industry marketing to independent labels now.

Cornell Tech updated the audience about how its students are building a startup from the ground up, developing a pitch, deck and prototype that can be shared with others, tested with users and leveraged as a launching pad for future endeavors.

How would you like to stay healthy starting with the food you buy? Epicure analyzes your online receipts and recommends healthier options from its licensed nutritionists. Just take a photo of your receipt and send it to Epicure.

It is looking for health insurers and online grocers, even Instacart to be a partner. It is currently working on a color-coded system—red, yellow and green—for easier monitoring of your diet.

Hack of the month featured Daniel Udell and Freddie Andrade’s Wikitongues project, a global effort to record and provide access to every language in the world using a network of volunteers. People simply submit transcriptions. It now carries 200 videos.

Dennis Mortensen has been busy doing one meetup after another. This time, he was at the NY Tech meetup with Amy, the artificial intelligence-driven personal assistant of X.ai which schedules meetings for you.

Being diabetic inspired Jeff Dachis of One Drop to create a free diabetes management app, a place to log everything and anonymously share information with a community of like-minded people, delivering actionable, data driven insights on the platform.

Hacks on how to organize office lunch orders, write novels on Github

By Dennis Clemente

NEW YORK–Last April 29, Uncubed held its meetup, “Hacks that saved my life” at Refinery 29 with the World Trade Center building gleaming behind it as early evening set in.


This is not your typical show-and-tell meetup. It might as well be classified the hacked-and-tell meetup as each presenter talked about how a new app or site made their life easier, more fun and even useful in an unusual way.

Just ask Travis Kaufman, a senior platforms engineer at Refinery 29, who improved lunch ordering among his colleagues at Refinery 29.

It should be easy to order lunch, right? Well, there’s always room for improvement if you ask Kaufman. If you are ordering for five people, you should be okay using email. But when it goes up to a hundred or 200, the number of employees at Refinery 29, how would you deal with it?

Kaufman used some open-source software – NoeJS, ExpressJS, AngularJS, Redis and Twitter Boostrap to create an app he called R29 Lunch Box. The app allows people who ordered lunch for delivery to subscribe to lunch alerts.

Next hack came from Gregory Mazurek of Gilt who showed us how he uses Github to write novels—yes, you heart it right. It does make sense if you’re looking at collaborating with people on your novel. Talk about everybody on the same page.

I used majority of it using Github. Largely intended for engineering purposes, I use it for managing versions of (my novel),” he said.

How would you like weather forecasts? Do you like it served via email or text message with some type of meme around it, even suggesting what you need to wear. Funded by Beta Works, Poncho is free and customizable.

We also learned some new hacks from Zach Feldman of New York Code Design Academy. He dared us to have an impact on a product without being a non-product person.

Feldman showed us how he tweaked Amazon Echo to put his voice reminders/meetings on his Google Calendar? He showed how his voice turned to text on Google Calendar.

For him, Amazon Echo is a voice learning platform that you can modify to the functionality you want.

“It understands me,” Feldman said nonchalantly.

His hack on Amazon Echo is interesting the way he says “stop” to prompt the end of each instruction, much like how telegrams were voiced to a messenger.

Last presenter was Moat which showed its measurement analytics for ad industry and ad agencies. Using Coke ads as examples, the site showed how it can measure people’s interaction with all of the brand’s recent ads—how people see it and when they click on an advertisement.

Google speaker on smartwatches: Increased dependency on device, long battery life, low cost are key

NEW YORK–How do you measure people’s attention span these days. Look no further. Instagram is an example: How long does it take you to post a photo on Instagram? The photo app is a good example, because as more people get used to its quick functionalities, the more people will not have patience for everything else that takes longer. The word “longer” here has come to mean longer than, say, 10 seconds; that could be an eternity for some people. Instagram is quick enough that anything else will be slow.


The first meetup of Smartwatch was held last April 27 at Turn to Tech, a new coding school in the Flatiron District. Ojugbele was was joined later John Ryu of Scout Ventures who pitched in for Bradley Harrison from the same VC firm. Other speakers, Paul Farkas and Ali Hussain, were not able to make it.

The challenge for smartwatches is, as everybody knows, is battery life. Ojugbele said the viability of smartwatches hinges a lot on “battery innovation.” If smartwatches can last for a week, it should be more marketable.

Ojugbele talked about how some Google functions can work for smartwatches like Google’s smartphone notifications. For example, you can easily get notification about your schedule from Google the search engine. Some wish lists could be how you can still get email notifications if you left your phone at home.

He said there’s no device that will make you give up a phone yet. We all spend a hundred times looking at our phones. A smartwatch may help us lessen the times we remove our phones from our pockets, but then again, it’s also likely you will look more at your smartwatch.

In two years, Ojugbele sees about 50 apps in the market. By then, it will change the way we use our phones. But there will be a constant pairing of the two devices.

In creating apps for smartwatches, it’s all the same for any device. Ojugbele says it’s important to figure out a problem and how to solve it. He believes there will be very creative ideas for the smartwatches. Some are thinking location-based solutions, beacons if you will. Others are focused on gestures like how a watch can light up when you raise your hand.

But smartwatches have to hit a homerun to hit critical mass.

Going back to Instagram, Ojugbele said our attention span will dictate our ideas about wearables. There will be a lot of wearable variations like the ring by Ringly. You don’t have to have all of them, of course, but it’s a given other devices will follow and manufacture wearables as they see fit.

Question is, what if they tanked? Ojugbele said it will be because of a lack of ecosystem and the prohibitive cost to these devices.

On the flipside, how would they succeed? “It will have an excellent battery life that will last me five days as well as increased dependency on this device,” he said.