Sexy Boxes And A British Siri: Memorable Startups From Dreamit Demo Day

DreamIt demo day

Photo: CourtBean via Flickr

This morning, 15 startups presented at Dreamit Demo Day in New York City.Dreamit is one of NYC’s best-known accelerator programs, next only to TechStars. Mentors like First Round Capital’s Phin Barnes and Brooklyn Bridge Ventures’ Charlie O’Donnell provided one-on-one coaching for a few months while founders hacked together their ideas.

The room this morning was full of investors and press. There were more people, about 200, than there were chairs.

But it didn’t feel like a startup event. It was hosted in the ultra corporate, midtown TimeLife building. Jeans and T-shirts were scarce; nearly everyone dressed in office attire. We even saw some (gasp!) suits.

Founders came from all over the world to participate in Dreamit’s accelerator program. Some were from Israel. One group was from Costa Rica. Another hailed from Stockholm.

All of the founders had polished, compelling presentations. But many of the ideas weren’t fresh. One looked a lot like Vyclone, a video startup Ashton Kutcher just backed. Another closely resembled Birchbox. There was a social network for couples that sounded like Pair.

Then again, it’s not about ideas. It’s about execution. It was evident the founders have been hard at work.

Our favourite was Winston, a more impressive voice assistant than Siri that was built in 4 months.

Here are some of this morning’s highlights:

Tripl – A lot of people use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to talk about the places they’re going. What’s more, people use all three to express the same event in slightly different ways. For example, we tweeted and instagramed most of the DreamIt Demo Day presentations simultaneously.

Tripl sorts through geotags and pulls together multiple social media blasts from the same person into one beautiful Instagram-like graphic.

indiewalls dreamitIndiewalls presenting at DreamIt Demo Day

Photo: Business Insider/Alyson Shontell

Indiewalls – Indiewalls lets local merchants support local artists by hosting their paintings on their walls.Mechants select art they want to display, and Indiewall provides the artist’s pieces for 3 months.  The artist’s name and information is placed below each piece, as well as a barcode that viewers can scan to purchase the art.

Cargo Networks – This looks a lot like Birchbox but it targets minorities.

CEO Krishna Gullapalli says African American, Hispanic and Indian women are under-served in the makeup and beauty industries. There isn’t a trusted brand that can help them purchase and discover products designed for their hair and skin tones.

Cargo Networks sends women and men monthly boxes of care products. It’s similar to Natural Curly Network.

Bazaart – Bazaart is like TechStars company, Pickie. But instead of creating iPad catalogues from e-commerce sites, Bazaart brings physical, pre-existing catalogues to the iPad. Users can peruse catalogues from brands like J Crew that are normally mailed to their doors from mobile devices in an iBooks-like layout.

In addition, users can create their own catalogue pages with some simple editing tools. All catalogue spreads and individual items can be purchased through Bazaart or pinned on Pinterest.

weesh dreamit demo dayWeesh presenting at DreamIt Demo Day

Photo: Business Insider/Alyson Shontell

Weesh This is a social network for couples. But unlike Pair and Avocado, Weesh operates more like a calendar app and Yelp. It helps couples find things to do together through friends, other couples, and local venues’ recommendations.

Kid Nimble – Kid Nimble is a search tool for parents to help them find great activities for their children.

It pulls in reviews and shows parents which of their Facebook friends have sent their kids to that activity before.

Sabor Studio – Sabor Studio began as a Kickstarter project; TechCrunch called it “the next Angry Birds.” Instead of evil pigs though, Sabor Studio’s first game has evil potatoes.

The graphics are impressive. They’re extremely detailed, almost like a Pixar movie, and they take your current location into account.

Sabor Studios has built graphics for 150 cities around the world. If you’re playing near New York City, for example, you’ll be fighting the evil potatoes on top of the Empire State Building. If you’re in Paris, You’ll battle them next to the Eiffel Tower.

winston dreamit demo dayWinston presenting at DreamIt Demo Day

Winston – Um, of course Siri should be British. Why didn’t Apple think of that?Winston, which can either sound like a British female or male, you decide, is a mobile voice assistant like Siri.

But unlike Siri, it pulls in social news as well as data. It can tell you recent updates from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It can also read you summaries of stories from your favourite websites.

You can’t ask Winston questions yet, but its Briefings are very impressive. It tells you the time, weather, top news stories and friends’ birthdays whenever you request it. It also calls you by your name and it’s very polite.

Dejamor – Monthly boxes of romantic supplies arrive at your doorstep. They’re intended to heat up relationships that are getting a little dull. Dejamor launched its first box in June. It sent men rose peddles and bubble bath so they could prepare romantic nights for their wives.

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