It’s no secret that there is greatness among us here in Brooklyn, and for the tech world, DUMBO is our epicenter of excellence. One manifestation of this micro-boom taking root down under the bridges is a clutch of co-working spaces known as incubators, where start-up companies get a couple seats and a desk or two at a discounted price in a shared office, along with access to services and connections that would be out of their reach on their own. NYU-Poly’s incubator joins two other tech incubators on Jay Street in DUMBO, and even at only a year old, it has already helped a handful of borough movers and shakers start to actualize their digital dreams. Here’s a breakdown of a few of the companies that are trying to become the next Instagram.
1. History on repeat: BLDG BLOK
Joined incubator: May 2012
Launch: Spring 2013
Turn an afternoon walking around a city into a multimedia experience with an app that will flesh out the history of major landmarks through things like interviews with famous historians, archival video, and close-up photos. New York will be the first city serviced by the app, with sights like the Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island, and the Staten Island Ferry all covered, but the developers plan to launch similar on-demand walking tours for cities like Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles, and San Francisco soon after.
2. Game theory: Impact Simulations
Joined incubator: April 2012.
Launch: Jan. 2013 (Beta version)
One counter-intuitive way to squeeze more productivity out of over-stretched workers is to let them play games. The developers behind Impact Simulations are at the forefront of a larger “gamification” movement to create games for large companies that use points, levels, and awards to entice employees to work harder, better, and faster. “The goal is to make work feel like playing a game,” said founder Stuart Silverman.
3. Connect four: Lifedots
Joined incubator: June 2012
Launch: Spring 2013
Is there an easy way to filter out all the noise on social media sites into one cohesive, more significant stream? Rafael de Haro, the co-founder of Lifedots, thinks so. His app will help users gather “meaningful memories” by connecting social networks from sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Foursquare into one, tailored feed. Content will be prioritized “based on your interactions with other people,” said de Haro.
4. Not takers: Maker’s Row
Joined incubator: July 2012
Launch: October 2012
“Made in America,” has come to sound like an oxymoron, but Maker’s Row hopes to change that by helping small and medium-sized companies connect with the materials and factories they need, all sourced from within the United States, through a searchable database that can be broken down by material or locality.
5. Picture this: Pipture
Joined incubator: July 2012
Launch: November 2012
Founded by a French Cooper Union grad, Pipture hopes to pioneer a new micro-media format centered on mobile phones. The app lets users watch and share one-minute videos that feature themes, characters and continual narratives, all shot vertically for easy smartphone viewing.
6. Digital interiors: Roomscaper
Joined incubator: February 2012
Launch date: April 2012
Outfit your apartment with all eco-friendly decor, create a shelf-lined bookworm nest, or make your living room look like a 1960s dentist’s waiting room with the help of this curated network, which connects furniture pieces and collections to wannabe interior decorators, who can follow other users, designers, and styles, as well as purchase items from independent designers, through a sleekly designed (if slow-loading) website.
7. Music box: Stereogrid
Joined incubator: April 2012
Launch: June 2011
This music distribution network helps connect musicians and the media by allowing upstart artists and bands to upload and deliver their music via drop-boxes to influential music sites, which can listen to the tracks online.Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg
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