WOMEN

NY TECH DAY DELIVERS BIG FOR STARTUP NETWORKING
April 27, 2016 11:41 am

Tech Day came to New York City again this year and did not disappoint. Showcasing Startup companies from over 15 different sectors, TechDay is the largest startup event in the US. Connecting 30,000 press, investors, job seekers and early adopters to more than 550 amazing companies. Another draw of the event this year was Shark Tank hosting their open casting call at the event.

If you didn’t attend this years TechDay, it means you skipped out on the opportunity to network with more than 500 startups from NYC and the rest of the world. From popular sites like Delivery.comIVY, and Bandsintown to explosive startups like Uber, MiniBar, and CommonBond. There was plenty of competition for HIRED with competitor sites like Planted and Hireart on hand. NY Tech Day is a unique opportunity for those  looking to make a move in their career or to grow their network.

On Thursday, April 21st, from 9:30am to 5pm, TechDay took over Pier 94 on the West side of Manhattan with the likes of big names sponsors such as HIRED, Capitol One, Digital Ocean, The Tech Garden, WSGR, HEARST, Skaled, Columbia School of Business, and their major partner, General Assembly. This is some major growth from last year, increasing the amount of floor space from last year’s 27,000 square-feet to Pier 94’s 77,000 square-feet. Understandable, though, when you consider the 550+ exhibitors expected to show, plus the 10,000+ expected attendees (co-founder Alex Hartman says they hope to expect upwards of 20,000 attendees).

Founded in 2011 by Hartman, co-founder of DigitalOcean (of Techstars fame) and CEO of NYC DevShop, and Jesse Podell, a former Wall Street trader, TechDay NYC was created as a way to bring the then-nascent NYC tech community together. “From day 1, TechDay’s focus has been to help find talent and support, to get press for the startups, and to find early investment to help them gain traction in the market,” says Hartman.

And the event has accomplished exactly those goals in the past three years, bringing together hundreds of startups, potential employees, various publications, and billions of dollars of venture capital (last year, the event saw over $20 billion in venture capital, not including angel investments) in one central location, for one day. Since year 1, when the event was still new, and only invited NYC-based startups, TechDay NYC has expanded its influence across the country and abroad, pulling institutions and startups from the U.S. and beyond. Students from 58 universities are expected to attend, as well as startups from abroad.

For Hartman, the whole point of TechDay NYC is to bring the NYC startup community together, and to show each of them that there’s a wide net of support in the city for them. It’s also a way to really get things off the ground, whether you’re a startup or a person: “TechDay is really kind of like a springboard for people who want to make it in tech.”

There was so much to see and so many people to connect with, that it was the first time other than SXSW that I truly felt overwhelmed, but in a good way. Making my way through each section, I was looking for companies that not only stood out visually, but could explain their product passionately and had a story to tell.

Here are the top brands that stood out for me this year and garnered my interest to want to know more about their platforms.

Mogul

 

Mogul is an online platform for women. It was founded in 2014 by Tiffany Pham. Users can view trending content including stories, products, and jobs which are personalized to their interests, location, or career. Users can then up-vote, down-vote, comment on, and share the published content. I really connected to this idea of empowering women, well, because I am a woman dammit.

HOOCH

HOOCH is a App that you can discover new bars and have a drink on them every day.  So basically you register for the App for $9.99 a month and a new drink will be available in your App every day after 5am. Ok, SOLD! I got a chance to speak with Aleksey Kernes, CMO of Hooch and I realized quickly that I knew him from some great dance parties and live music events at Hotel Chantelle. Solid dude who definitely has a pulse on the nightlife scene, and that pulse could help propel this brand into new markets. Cool concept, interested to see where it goes.

Namely

Namely is an All-in-One Human Resources software. They provide HR staples like a database with time-off tracking, reporting, full service payroll, benefits and on-boarding. Can they fire you too? That would be a real innovative add on. Ok, so Namely didn’t blow me away with disrupting the digital HR market but they are giving Zenefits a run for their money so it will be interesting so see if they can leverage the recent bad press Zenefits has received to become a top competitor.

The Take

 

 

The Take is an App that lets you discover products and places from your favorite movies and TV shows. Am I an idiot? Why was I so amused by this.  It felt brilliant in the moment when one of their team members, Victor was demoing it for me. Ooh, wait it is pretty cool. You are watching a movie or something and boom you see an item you like and you can find out where to purchase it. It is sort of like a way cooler Pinterest.

 

 

 

Compass.to

Compass.to is a social proximity mobile app based out of Brooklyn that is used to keep and discover relevant content in your proximity while joining like-minded people nearby. This Brooklyn-based startup was founded in 2012 with the goal of using social proximity to improve digital and physical lives. The company claims to be tackling two main things: endless texting and miscommunications, and finding interesting content only relevant to you. Their core feature, Join Me, shows you interesting people in your proximity and the time they spent at specific places. With a slick and elegant design, Compass.to is meant to help you navigate the physical world through a digital journey. By the way, they have these really dope, company t-shirts with Brooklyn on them and they need to market those bad boys. They didn’t even have an extra one for me. Get those t-shirts made and give them away. Branding wet dream boys.

 

2020Shift

2020SHIFT is a social enterprise that’s designed to educate minority snake people on careers in digital media and technology. It offers programs custom created by the team at 20/20 to help educate and empower those snake people who may not have gotten the chance to jump on the high tech train as early as others. With mentorship opportunities, hands-on industry preparation, and instructors that reflect what the students might see in themselves as inspiration, these programs are a hot ticket to becoming a part of the largest innovative tech boom. I dig what they are doing.

PhotoSesh

 

Photo Sesh is an on demand (or scheduled) photography discount platform. It is the easiest way to find, book, and pay for a highly rated affordable photographer. The App uses GPS and calendar syncing to connect you to nearby photographers at incredibly friendly rates ($30-75/hr). Photographers can fill up openings in their schedule that would otherwise yield zero income. You can PhotoSesh Now or PhotoSesh Later by booking up to 90 days in advance (includes digital printing rights and usage rights. There are 16 categories of photography to choose from and 5,000+ photographers across 12 metro areas. Now, allow me to say that as someone who is highly connected in the music and photography world, I find this site’s service to be relevant. Well, I mean it sure beats making a Facebook post asking anyone if they know of any good photographers.

 

Beer Menus

Beer Menus – Started by two brothers with a love of brewing, Beer Menus created a way to browse and search beer menus so you never have to wonder where to find your favorite beers. Think of this as a beer lovers shopping guide. Their site could use some polishing but the concept is solid.

POSSE

 

POSSE is a mobile app development shop based in New York. Allegedly, they “make apps that rock.” With clients like Jet.com, Gatorade and Sixpoint Brewery the company is making a name for itself quickly in the mobile development market. Now most honorable mention of the day goes to POSSE for several reasons.  They have catch phrases like “WE MAKE APPS, NOT CRAP” and t-shirts that say “No Bullshit.”  Who are these beautiful weirdos? Cool developers with personality??? Which leads me to Louis. Ooh Louis, the ever charming developer who attempted to sell me on the App. While he was no Bus Dev Guru, he certainly was the most endearing character I came across that day and with that being said he made enough of an impression on me to make this list. Give Louis a raise, he’s got heart.

Ok, now on to the MVP’s of the day.  The stand out company of the day for me was Gooten.

Gooten

Gooten is a custom, print fulfillment service that enables businesses to simplify product fulfillment through the world’s best manufacturers. Gooten offers an intuitive API, iOS and Android SDKs for white-labeled print sales, a Shopify App which seamlessly automates product fulfillment, and B2B direct sales of merchandise and promotional products. The company site states that they enable businesses and entrepreneurs to simplify product fulfillment through the world’s best manufacturers.

Gooten

So what separates Gooten from competitors like Print Aura, Printly or Printful?  First off, I would have to say is the great selection of products they offer for fulfillment. Second was the fun spirited team that I encountered. I am not exactly sure what Frank does at Gooten, (according to their site, neither does Gooten) but he sure was fun to talk to.  Ooh, and he gave me this really cool branded pen that had a laser on it and folded into a iPhone stand.  I mean, who isn’t a sucker for good swag? In all seriousness, it was talking to the company’s CEO, Brian Rainey and CTO / Co-Founder, Micah Smith that captured my full attention. These guys are not only hilarious but their conviction for their service is compelling and they are also both brilliant with a serious track record in e-commerce, development and finance. Really great team combined with a great service = Startup company with it’s star on the rise. We will be watching this very cool company closely.

Well, another TechDay has come and gone.  I guess it’s time to get ready for TechCrunch Disrupt coming to Red Hook, Brooklyn on May 9th!

MUSIC’S MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN OF 2015
December 26, 2015 12:14 am

2015 was kind of a hectic, yet exciting time in the music industry. It’s time to remember those female artists who have made a huge impact on their fans (and haters). No, I’m not talking about how Taylor Swift brought her whole girl squad at every performance and music award, and trended the word ‘squad’. I’m not even talking about how Adele’s latest album 25 made this whole generation cry. Sure, they could be great role models but there are quite a few other female artists who deserve to have some light shed on their talent and grit.

Florence Welch (Florence and the Machine)

Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine  The V Festival 2010 held at Weston Park - Performances - Day Two Staffordshire, England - 22.08.10 Mandatory Credit: Nick Pickles/ WENN.com

Did you know she’s bff’s with Taylor Swift, and is officially part of her girl gang? Thanks to T.Swift, she even inspired Florence to write “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” that debuted number 1 in the top US Billboard 200. That album even received five Grammy Nominations! Even the extraordinary Taylor has some things to learn from Flo’s powerful presence. “What sets Florence apart? Everything. Every time I’ve been around her, she is the most magnetic person in the room…There are very few people I’ve met in my life who are truly electric, and Florence is one of them.” (Billboard) Suffering from dyslexia, anxiety, and dyspraxia (a neurological disorder that impairs motor, memory, judgment and other cognitive skills) (Fuse), Flo still manages to write kick-ass songs and excite the crowd until she drops. Literally. She’s had a few tumbles on stage this year but she gets up and goes on with the show. She can’t stop, and won’t stop. The band had many festival appearances this year including Coachella, Governor’s Ball, Way Out West, Glastonbury Festival, and more. I’d have to say that she won me over at Governor’s Ball when she told a girl with a “HUG?” sign to crowd surf her way to the stage and made that girl’s life.

Melanie Martinez
Since her debut on The Voice, she’s pretty much had a core fan base that supported her music and believed in her talent. Although she wasn’t the ‘official’ winner of the show, she has won over many teen hearts with her relatable, grim music. They’ve even named themselves ‘cry babies’ (you know, like the Beliebers), which come from her recent debut album Cry Baby. Along her album release, she’s been putting out music videos for every single song on her album, which she has been directing. She’s also been working with notable music connoisseurs like Babydaddy, Phoebe Ryan, and Emily Warren and she’s only 20 years young! Be sure to check out her North American tour in early 2016 and join the madness.

Sky Ferrira

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You might recognize her as Zachary Cole Smith’s (DIIV) side chick. Or as that chick who signed a record deal after she was discovered singing her own songs on Myspace. Either way, she’s a cool gal who’s not afraid to put herself out there, both physically and emotionally. But sometimes, haters hate when you express yourself through social media. She recently confronted her frustration over online bullies on Instagram, claiming that calling her a ‘slut’ or ‘bitch’ on a daily basis is NOT okay (but really, don’t you have anything else to do?) Not only did she voice her opinion on verbally abusing public female figures, but she also roasted her label Polydor for ripping off her ideas and not giving her any financial or creative support. “Maybe I would have ‘sold more records’ if I had the resources to do so. It’s completely unfair that can even get used against me…I’m talking about labels & how they all need new structure…& need to be more creative & supportive of the people that they sign.” Ouch. Sadly, this isn’t the first time her label’s fucked her over- She wasn’t so happy when Capitol didn’t have vinyl copies in time for the My Time Night Time release date, and how EMI delayed her album for years. Nonetheless, we’re hoping that she’ll have somewhat of a more peaceful and positive year in 2016, especially because her new album Masochism is being released soon!

Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett: 'In interviews I feel like a bit of a doofus.'
You’re basically screwed if you don’t know who she is. Everybody note her name down because this girl from Melbourne, Australia has been nominated as the Best New Artist for the Grammy Awards 2016! And surprisingly, she doesn’t know her fellow nominees Megan Trainor, James Bay, Sam Hunt, or Tori Kelly- But that’s okay. “I don’t know who they are. I probably won’t [check them out]” (NME). Since her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, she’s gained attention from the media and indie music lovers. It was even nominated at the ARIA Music Awards this year….In eight whopping categories! Now that’s pretty insane. Unlike any other artist, her sound is honest and grungy with witty rambling lyrics. You can check her out on this in-depth article we wrote on her.

Laura Jane Grace (of Against Me!)

LauraJaneGrace2
I don’t know what this petition for getting Laura Jane Grace in Star Wars Episode VIII is…But I do know that she’s a likable figure in the music industry. When her band signed to Universal, she was known as Tom Gabel. Now, she’s performing as Laura since 2012 when she opened up about being transgender. She got so sick and tired of being judged by her choices, she wore a black statement jersey on stage that read “GENDER IS OVER! IF YOU WANT IT” for 60 nights. Now that’s dedication! She signed her jersey and “donated it to the group that created it for a charity giveaway.” (RollingStone) She even set up a contest where fans can win her jersey by donating $10-$15, and the proceeds would go to NPO’s. Let’s all learn from her and pay it forward. The band is currently working on their next album which will be released sometime in 2016.

Grimes

Grimes1
She never fails to surprise us with her psychedelic, pop-influenced, irresistible dream world. The Spectrum sum her up very well when they say “Grimes makes the kind of music you might expect from someone who was formerly both a dancer and a neuroscience major.” The creepy giggling, whispering, talking jibberish basically tell us that she’s nuts- but in a good way. She had an opportunity to open up for Lana Del Rey, exposing herself to (mostly) teenage girls who’ve never heard of her. In her interview with Fuse, she mentions how touring is “bad for the environment” and shows her concerns for the environment. “I think it’s real important to have real cups because we’re trying to reduce garbage…Shipping stuff around and flying 11 people around the world is quite the carbon footprint…So we’re just trying to reduce as much as possible.” She’s also a healthy eater who drinks kombucha and does not allow a single candy in her dressing room “because otherwise, I’ll only eat candy.” We’re hoping that her views on the environment and healthy will rub on to her fans, converting everyone into a bubbly and intelligent woman like her.

You Need To Know Idgy Dean
October 14, 2015 9:00 am

Upon first listen, the album Ominous Harminus reads as a valiant debut effort from a trio of sound-makers: a drum-kit banging out up-tempo poly-rhythms, an electric guitar setting the tone with easy yet catchy melodies, and a vocalist driving the energy forward with a combination of chanting and singing.

Only this album did not come with just three instrumentalists. Meet Idgy Dean, a “one-woman psychedelic rock band with DIY beats and reveries built from the bottom up.” Her songs are all looped live on stage with a loop pedal, modified drum kit composed of just snare, tom, and cymbal and an electric guitar.

idgy fuckin dean

Her debut album Ominous Harminus is layered meticulously with every detail mapped and planned ranging from the vowel of her chant to the number of 1/16 beats in a measure. There is a mathematical quality to her instrumentals, not unlike some of my other favorite one-woman acts tUnE-yArDs and Julianna Barwick. She also has a rhythmic bounciness to her vocal melodies evocative of a Sylvan Esso, CHVRCHES, or even Purity Ring tone.

Tracks like “The Indian Squirrel Dance” and “Hopscotch” stand out from the rest of the pack as true indie-dance ballads while the rest function more as atmospheric soundscapes. However, as each listen exposes sounds that had previously gone unheard, the album begins to grow more refined with age.

While Dean’s debut is not quite as adventurous into the realm of electronica as loop-heavy masterpieces like tUnE-yArDs’ Whokill or Sylvan Esso’s self titled debut, the creativity in her videos and the skill seen in her live footage shows the potential she has to harness this talent and develop her songwriting ability to evolve into the next big solo/band hybrid artist out there.

You can catch Idgy Dean live at CMJ TOMORROW (THURSDAY) at our Atypical Beasts Agency Showcase at Piano’s!

Get To Know Olivia Millerschin
October 8, 2015 10:50 am

When you listen to Olivia Millerschin’s single, “I Wanna Grow Old With You,” you can’t help but think how familiar it sounds.

I had never heard the song before, but something about the bouncing melodies and clean folk progressions across ukulele strings reminded me of something…

Olivia Millerschin

Perhaps it was because even without knowing, you have probably already heard of Olivia, or at least heard her music if not her name. She was a quarter finalist on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Her single “Screw Valentine’s Day” was a YouTube sensation and has been played in stores across the nation. Not to mention her extensive touring history with acts like Teddy Geiger, Tyler Hilton, Ryan Cabrera and Howie Day.

While her music certainly has that familiar sound, there is something refreshing about her earnest lyrics and acoustic style reminiscent of early ‘00s artists. The witty “fuck you” moments in “Screw Valentine’s Day” evoke memories of Sara Bareilles’ notorious fuck-you song “Love Song” or Feist’s equally feisty track “1234.” Millerschin’s debut album Yes. No. Maybe So. strikes that perfect blend of contemporary and throwback that many emerging artists seem to ignore.

Nowadays, it is more common to find emerging pop artists trying to shock the music world with catchy electronic beats and bold fashion choices. Being shocking is somehow no longer shocking. It is standard for an artist trying to earn a following.

So when I see a newcomer like Olivia Millerschin enter the scene with a strong sense of self and songs that are nothing short of beautiful to listen to, she earns my following.

This is only the beginning for Olivia and she has all of the makings of an iconic millennial songstress. I am excited to see what the future holds for her.

4 Of Many Strong Musical Women With Businesses
October 2, 2015 12:08 am

As I came above ground on the B train to Brooklyn, I flipped through episodes of NPR’s All Songs Considered to see if there was anything I could quickly download before we ducked back underground.

The fan-girl in me saw the name Sharon Van Etten and immediately clicked “download.” I watched as the remaining two megabytes of space on my phone was eaten up by what I prayed would last through the remainder of my commute. The title of the episode “All Songs + 1: Sharon Van Etten Interviews Low’s Mimi Parker.

What I expected: a captivating conversation between two of my favorite musicians out there, Singer-Songwriter Sharon Van Etten and Indie-Rock veteran Mimi Parker (drummer and vocalist of the band Low). What I did not expect: the topic of conversation to be “how to balance being a musician and a mother.”

Typically, I roll my eyes at this kind of piece. You don’t see male rock-stars being hounded by the media with questions like “who takes care of your kids while you’re on the road?” or “what’s it like being away from your child for months at a time?” God forbid the father stay home and care for his child while the mother went out and earned a living.

But as I listened, I was slapped in the face with the privilege of my youth and child-less status. This wasn’t the media forcing two women in the workforce to confine their conversation to the subject of motherhood. No, here was Van Etten vulnerably and honestly confessing her deep fear of subjecting her child to the permanent stain of parental inadequacy. Here was a woman, anxiously anticipating her biological clock as it approaches the station. Any strong woman in her position would have asked for any words of wisdom that could potentially help make the most difficult decision of her life – pursue her dreams and give up on having a child or have a child and risk losing her entire career. Is it possible to do both?

AX3

Parker’s band Low came up in the 90s when album sales were huge. Hell, Parker could afford a nanny to accompany them on tour and watch the kids while she soundchecked, performed, did press shots, signings, meet and greets, etc. Plus, Parker’s husband was also in the band which made touring a happy family affair. Van Etten, admittedly, couldn’t afford that kind of help. In fact, she even mentioned needing to pick up a second form of income to provide for her family. A famous musician with a day job… is Yuppie the new rock and roll?

It’s a shame. Whether we like it or not, today’s music artist has to be more than her moniker. She must be a shrewd businesswoman, a marketing guru, a self-promoter, an entrepreneur. She needs to know not only how to make music but also how to have her music make her money.

The following female indie musicians have successfully been able to strike that balance between art and industry, integrating their creative eye with their business acumen. We are choosing to focus on indie musicians because they have been able to engage with the business side of things without the massive corporate backing and brand partnerships that a major label provides. We are focusing on women because as tough as it is for dudes to make it in this industry, imagine how hard it is to overcome the same obstacles as the dudes plus the added weight of both sexism and/or carrying a child to term.

So take a peek into the side-endeavors of just a few of your favorite female indie rockers and allow yourself to become inspired by their creativity and their work ethic. I know I am.

courtney-barnett

Courtney Barnett – Breakout indie rocker of 2015, Courtney Barnett captured the hearts of millions with her neo-Dylan talk-singing, psychedelic melodies, and proto-punk electric guitar riffs. But did you know she also co-founded Milk! Records with her girlfriend, Jen Cloher and their friends. Their website outlines how they are an “independent label where you can buy direct from the artist.” They also “occasionally curate special events, compilations, split 7” vinyl releases and artist designed t-shirts and curios from friends and artists we love.” A group of friends self-releasing their own material and selling it to a DIY-hungry audience sounds like the dream to me.

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Zooey Deschanel – You may think I’m going to talk about her highly lucrative career as an actress, but I’m not. Not only is Zooey a fabulous musician and infectious actress, but she also founded hellogiggles, a “positive online community for women (although men are always welcome!) covering DIY and crafting projects, beauty, friendship, sex & relationships, tips on savvy and stylish living meant to inspire a smile.” Sure that sounds like the quirk-heavy Zooey that polarizes many women across the country, but you can’t really argue with the numbers and with how much traffic her site gets, that’s one hell of a side-gig.

amanda

Amanda Palmer – You may know her as lead singer of The Dresden Dolls. You may know her from her infamous kickstarter campaign which raised nearly 1.2 million dollars. Or perhaps you know her from the countless controversies she has encountered like her publicized dispute with Roadrunner Records or her Poem for Dzhokkar. Palmer has captured our attention over the years for countless reasons, one of which she turned into a book. Following the success of her highly viewed Ted Talk special “The Art of Asking,” Palmer turned her speech into a book with the same title. The book garnered mixed reviews but sure enough it climbed its way onto the New York Times bestsellers list. Not bad for a first time author.

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Brittany Howard – Lead singer and guitarist of the acclaimed Alabama Shakes recently announced her side-project, Thunderbitch. Thunderbitch is the old-school rock outlet for a collective of seasoned acts including Fly Golden Eagle and Clear Plastic Masks. Their website bio reads “Thunderbitch. Rock ‘n’ Roll. The end.” Thunderbitch is not tied to any known label (indie or otherwise) and seems to be running the whole operation on its own. While she’s left me with more questions than I’d like, I’m definitely stoked to see what this side-endeavor evolves into.