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We’re among 750 VCs and entrepreneurs in the TechStars NYC audience this morning where five startups selected from 600 applicants just presented.Six more startups will demo this afternoon, but here are the companies that stand out so far:
Led by CEO Caren Maio, Nestio wants to get rid of apartment search headaches with a clean, organised interface.
According to Maio, 40 million New Yorkers search for new homes every year and spend 1.6 billion hours looking for the perfect place. They’re currently keeping folders of printouts, connecting with roommates and real estate agents via fragmented email chains, and they’re trying to keep track of multiple Craigslist posts.
Nestio will simplify the process by allowing users to easily mark all of the housing information they find for later viewing on its site. Nestio also has a comparison chart application, so users can view listings side by side to help them make decisions.
Its mobile app allows house hunters to snap photos and take notes at each place they visit, and upload it onto the Nestio platform. In addition, roommates can be added to the Nestio account, so they can see and comment on every listing their fellow house hunter pulls to streamline the process.
Why we like it: Finding an apartment sucks. Anything that will simplify the process, especially an interface that our roommates can access without us hassling them, sounds like a great business opportunity.
CEO Jason Sosa is one of the cofounders of a company that could transform digital billboards and OOH advertising. “Right now, digital signs are stupid,” Sosa says. “Immersive makes them smart by using facial recognition technology.” In his presentation, Sosa shows a man looking at a digital sign that’s advertising Tampax. In real time, the ad changes to Bud Light. Immersive’s facial recognition technology can determine the ad viewer’s age range and sex. It then calculates the most effective ad in its system for the user and displays it. Immersive can also determine how long consumers look at the ads and send the interaction time and demographics to advertisers.
Why we like it: “Digital signs and OOH is a $3.5 billion business,” Sosa says. It’s the fastest growing advertising opportunity next to internet advertising. By 2016, OOH advertising spending is expected to reach $6 billion. A company that can minimize waste has the potential to own the industry. Also, Immersive seems to work. Sosa says the technology has been store tested, and it increases the time viewers spend looking at digital signs by 60%.
Other notable startups that have presented are OnSwipe, which makes beautiful interfaces for publishers across all mobile platforms without creating multiple apps, and ThinkNear, which is an API that helps merchants draw in customers at times when business is slow by blasting nearby consumers with store discounts.
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