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TechDay NYC: Startups & Their Lens Into the Future

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Recently, NYC’s Pier 92 hosted over 400 startups and 10,000 attendees at TechDay NYC; organizer’s claim it to be the “largest startup event in the United States.” Though the massive science fair-style event was predominantly filled with younger, smaller organizations, TechDay NYC also attracted more established “startups” like Uber, Delivery.com and Fan Duel.

Because of its scale, TechDay provides a unique lens on the spaces that new startups believe are ripe for disruption. Health and Fitness, Music and Media, E-Commerce, Fashion, Social Media, and On-Demand Experiences were all well represented at the event. While it might appear that these spaces share little in common, they all fall into one of two trends marketers should take note of:

  1. The World, On-Demand: A seemingly limitless number of on-demand goods or services
  2. New Media Platforms & Apps: An explosion of new digital media platforms and apps, specifically in the lifestyle space

tech day

 (Photo courtesy of TechDay, credit: AM Media Group)

After a morning of perusing the showroom floor, seeing hundreds of startups and speaking to dozens of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, below are the startups that stood out to us, and which underscore the depth and breadth of these two trends.

1. The World, On-Demand
The event had no shortage of startups touting themselves as the “Uber of X” – representing an unavoidable trend in the startup space: the new reality of on-demand products and services.

  • Preo: “Uber for food and drinks at bars, restaurants, and coffee shops.”
  • Cover: “Skip waiting for the check and split the bill effortlessly at the best restaurants in New York and San Francisco.”
  • KeyMe: “A smart way to save and copy keys to solve frustrating lockouts vs. traditional locksmiths.”
  • DocChat: “Your On-Demand Mobile Doctor – See a Doctor in 15 Minutes, Guaranteed.”
  • BioMeme: “Personal DNA analysis anywhere – perform private lab-grade tests for what you personally care about. No lab required.”

2. New Media Platforms & Apps
Whether it’s helping companies manage employee expenses, aiding product discovery and trends, or changing how retailers do in-store displays, TechDay showed us there’s an app or platform to do seemingly everything and anything.

  • Cartonomy: “Social shopping carts to use with your family, friends, and co-workers.”
  • Dash: “A revolutionary mobile app that offers spending flexibility for employees and provides control, flexibility, security, and transparency​ to employers with integrated free expense management.”
  • CrownTV: “The Better Way To Manage Your Digital Signage”
  • Shopography: “Shopography is the social shopping network for Retail 2.0. Discover and buy products, follow trends, and get recommendations.”
  • Qwikword: “Qwikword lets you react to images with just one word or upload your own images to spark people’s imagination. Your word. Your world.”

Marketer Takeaways
Entrepreneurs are looking for pain points in our world and ways they can provide fast, convenient solutions for them. The consumer landscape is changing rapidly as people come to embrace new, innovative products and services – no matter the creator.

Many established brands should seriously consider how they can foster the on-demand model before major entrepreneurial contenders begin appearing in their space. They should also consider where frustrations and pain points happen in the discovery, purchase and use of their product and consider how they can right those to win consumer love.

Whether ideas come from intrepreneurial sources like innovation or R&D teams, or through external partnerships with emerging startups, this much is clear: winning in this consistently evolving brand world will continue to require progressive, nimble thinking and breakthrough, innovative work.