I attended my first ever @dctechmeetup event last week. In the past, the group hosted monthly meet ups but tonight marked the beginning of their new bi-monthly schedule. I was initially intrigued to attend this meet up, primarily because I’ve been wanting to get a pulse of what’s happening in the DC tech world, while gaining a deeper understanding and connection to new tech developments. The event, all together, turned out to be a special night with the focus being on “Hacks, Code and Creative.” Designers and Developers who are building great web and mobile things were invited to showcase their stuff.
Hosted at the MLK Jr. Memorial Library in Chinatown (which is a story of its own — a good one), the event rounded up teams of start-ups, tech fans, geeks, and all in between. During the 2 hour MeetUp, the audience had the opportunity to see and hear demo presentations from 10 local tech start-ups (the Designers & Developers). From a Foursquare powered Social Cooler that magically (or technically) pops open with drinks following a check-in, to a Electric-Bike kick-starter looking to disrupt urban transportation by getting commuters to Riide, and to a facial identification and mobile tracking system looking to Usher in a new era of artificially intelligent organizations, these hackers, coders and creatives delighted me with insights into the present future of social technology.
The following is a list of my top 3 picks from last week’s @DCTechMeetUp:
1) CapitolHop– if you’re in DC (and have an iPhone), this new app is a simple and beautiful way to navigate the district. It helps you get around DC with realtime metro and bus departure updates and alerts. Since the Meetup I’ve made the switch from my goto Transit App to CapitolHop. It’s very practical and easy to use, definitely look forward to future updates and improvements. They’re also hosting their Launch Party this Thursday, Jan 30th. At this rate, I wouldn’t surprised if CapitolHop releases an Android app in the near future.
2) Riide looks to revolutionize urban commute with an electric bike that is sleek, light and fast enough to take you anywhere your battery enhanced cycle takes you. This electric bike start-up is based and assembled locally in DC. They launched via Kickstarter with the goal of raising $50,000, they’ve currently surpassed their goal and are at almost $95,000 in pledges. I’m really liking the e-bike movement, these guys remind me of my Austin, TX buddies Rocket Electrics. Check out Riide’s Tech Crunch feature below :
3) Yopine – the political nerd in me geeked a bit when this app was presented. I think there’s great potential here. It makes micro-polling accessible to all – from a group friends deciding on where to meet for drinks, to grassroots campaign staffers looking to easily collect data without draining their budgets, the functionalities of this app makes it worth the time investment. Currently Yopine is only available on iOS. Here’s an interview Yopine did with Niblet (a media outlet for start-ups):
4) The Social Cooler is more of a fun marketing stunt tech for businesses. Designed by iStrategyLab, The Social Cooler enables users to access a cooler filled with beverages after checking into the cooler location on Foursquare. This would be a pretty kick-ass cooler to have at a house/fraternity/company/holiday party or something. The video below demonstrates The Social effect:
1) WeWork empowers entrepreneurs and small businesses to succeed by providing beautiful workspace, a collaborative community, accessible services and benefits. Think Gym membership features and fees, but instead of weights and treadmills insert creative workspace. The demand for such space is increasingly growing, which explains why WeWork has responded by setting up two shops in DC, in addition to their other locations in major U.S. cities. Following the DC Tech Meetup, they hosted a Open House in their new Chinatown location – free beer and sushi was on the menu. Don’t be surprised if one of these creative spaces pops up in your hood.
2) Usher – in the age of tech hacks, ID theft and Edward Snowden, you’d think people would be weary of handing over more personal information (than they already do) to big data. Usher looks to take the “Big Brother” model and use it for good on behalf of businesses and institutions. Essentially, organizations are able to use the platform to keep track of employees, visitors, and anyone who is needing assess to their facilities at any given time, utilizing a highly secured and monitored interface. Interesting–watch the video below for more deets:
3) YapperApp – these developers didn’t present a demo, but I had a chance to interact with them during the WeWork Open House following the Meetup. Yapper is a location-based chat app that allows the user to communicate with others nearby in order to share a common experience. Basically, I could post an open (or private) forum about a live event that’s happening, and anyone who is within 5 blocks of me will see and can join the chat. All messages are deleted after 30 minutes of inactivity. Check their video explaining the concept:
Overall, this event really allowed me the opportunity to get a first taste of what the DC Tech community is cookin’ up. I’m excited to dive deeper and spotlight the innovators, designers, developers and all the local movers and shakers furthering the mission of social technology. Stay tuned for more #TechTuesday features and check out the full list of presenters and photos from this event here! Happy Tuesday! -MK
Mariel Kanene is Founder and Editor of TheArtOfPersptive.co and lead storyteller with a focus on music, startups and travel. His passion for storytelling was born in Kinshasa, Congo and bred in Washington, DC where he resides. By day, Mariel spends his days slowly trying to change the world—one meaningful interaction at a time. He loves reading factual-fiction, good podcasts, traveling, health and fitness, foreign languages and good conversations over good coffee and even better rum. He hates talking about himself in third person.Thanks for stopping by. Always appreciated. Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Linkedin | Website.