By Dennis Clemente
NEW YORK–ER Roundtable hosts show-and-tell demos like no other tech meetups in the city. Startups present without a deck or without spelling out the name of their startup. They’re not even listed in the announcement.
Covering this event for over a year now, the presenters are a mix of both months-old and year-old startups. Some are in the building stage, while others have their startups but may change their name later. It’s all early here, but one cannot discount the fact how successful this meetup is in drawing a sizable crowd, precisely because it’s where newcomers to the startup world take their baby steps. It makes sense because ER is an accelerator that guides startups until they’re ready to make more noise out there.
At its regular venue at Microsoft last March 16, there were 11 presenters plus time for anyone in the audience to present their startup, as long as you’re deemed worthy based on the questions thrown by the host or a guest speaker. LendEDU was the night’s startup winner/presenter.
There are 7 in 10 graduates with student loans with an average balance of $30,000. LendEDU aims to take the stress out of student loans and refinancing by allowing consumers to view options from several lenders in a few minutes. It also provides student loan tools such as a repayment calculator, a student loan payment calculator and tips on personal finance.
Aside from having a feasible idea, sometimes winning your crowd is all about how you present your startup.
“We charge our borrowers nothing. We are paid by our lending partners. We work with private school lenders and don’t compete against them. We are a marketing tool for lenders,” CEO Nat Taylor said.
Another presentation called Increase likes to call itself a lead generator for business. Because it finds advertising expensive and word of mouth difficult to measure, it aims to address the “how” for small business. It claims to analyze social networks and provide a script that you add to your HTML. It aims to make through subscription plans.
A company called Lovoy is aggregating volunteer work with the recent Chinese immigrant-presenter saying, “It’s time we contribute to our city.” The site is in beta. It aims to charge non-profit organizations.
Coming from its Turn to Tech presentation, X Labs’ Oliver Christie is hoping to make the Internet faster in the United States and in other countries. “We’re using AI to compress data. ISPs can’t cope, content can’t deliver.”
“We think this biz is ready for enterprise in 3 to 6 months,” he said. “The biggest need is for people like Netflix. We don’t want to interfere in their existing business model but maybe we can help them (in other ways).
Ox Content’s Matt Lovett is trying to solve content creation which he said is a
$44-billion industry. Developed with Gary Chan, his software aims to help automate story generation.
Next presenter, Stickmen aims to become “the Ikea of the gaming world.” People are already buying casual games, so it looks forward to becoming a one-stop for gamers everywhere.
Dream Forward asked the audience to ask the hard questions about their 401K and it will attempt to answer it, while BlendCalendar, currently available on Android, offers a productivity tool that aims to become a “digital version of your day-to-day life.”