Finally, a simple solution to the age-old question “What’s a guy gotta do to order a pizza around here?”
A new iPhone app that lets users get a cheese pie with the push of a button has already been downloaded more than 28,000, and the young Park Slope techies that created it say their success is about keeping things as straightforward as a lunch of two slices and a Coke.
“Simplicity is a big part of it,” said Cyrus Summerlin, the recent Midwood High School graduate who helped develop the new “Push for Pizza” app.
Summerlin and his friend Max Hellerstein grew up in Park Slope, and together with their buddies Will Haack, Graham Carling, and Demitri Nava apparently came up with the idea for the app when hunger struck as that sat around a living room while smoking something (It’s true! Watch the video!).
Users of the app input credit card information and an address, and then selecting a participating pie purveyor in their neighborhood.
Push for Pizza then orders a plain or pepperoni pies and has it delivered straight to the house with the push of a button — without having to make that annoying phone call or wading through hard-to-navigate interweb food-delivery services.
“We want to make it so when you use Grub Hub or Seamless, it feels like planning a wedding,” Summerlin said. “We’re just trying to lead the simplistic, one-push-of-a-button revolution here.”
The program works in tandem with Delivery.com, so any pizza parlor signed up with that online ordering service can sling their pies with a push. That gives the group of young pie-trepreneurs thousands of restaurants nationwide without too much work. But they are still fielding requests from places that do not use Delivery.com. More than 100 businesses have contacted them trying to get a piece of the pie — and they are having a tough time keeping up with the demand.
“Our biggest problem right now is being able to expand wide enough,” Summerlin said.
“As you start to get away from urban areas its a little tougher.”
Right now the app is only available for the iPhone, but the group hopes to have an Android version in the future. They also want to add features such as more toppings, a geo-locator, and reviews from restaurant lists such as Yelp.
The latter is especially important because it will allow users to make more informed decisions when they set their initial preferences — something anyone who grew up in Brooklyn knows is the most important factor.
“We’re all from New York, so we have very high pizza standards,” Summerlin said.
And after they get Brooklyn’s favorite finger food down, Summerlin says they will look to expand into other genres.
“We want to perfect pizza as a proof of concept,” he said. “But there’s no reason we can’t apply it to other staple foods.”
Three Brooklyn Yeshivas will be getting a crash course in 3-D printing this fall. The Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education is adding 3-D printing and software design to the engineering curriculum at Magen David Yeshiva High School, Yeshiva Darche Eres, and Yeshiva of Flatbush High School. The program will use MakerBot Replicator Minis to teach the high schoolers about design software that is used in a variety of different industries.
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Some slightly older tech tykes graduated from the Brooklyn Tech Triangle internship program last week. The program pairs 50 local college students with technology companies in the area to work for the summer as web programmers, designers, and engineers. It is the second year for this program, and it is time for it to expand. Connecting the engineering schools Downtown to the growing startup community is essential if Brooklyn wants to be any thing like the incubator it claims to be. In order to create a self-sustaining tech environment, we have to make sure the engineers we train stay and find jobs at the businesses being born here. Fifty students a year is not enough.
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A different kind of student initiative has been turning gear at Brooklyn Law School since 2008. A recent Medium post explains how the The Brooklyn Law Incubator and Policy Clinic is helping startups to fend off so-called “patent trolls” — the pesky opportunists who take out patents for things they never make with the sole intention of suing someone when they actually figure out how do it. The Brooklyn Law clinic provides legal aid to young companies suffering torment at the hands of these trolls. Law students also help with a myriad of other legal issues specific to innovation companies, providing services sorely needed in a place that hopes to foster the next generation of technology entrepreneurs.
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The former Jehovah’s Witnesses complex, that has been re-branded by Jared Kushner as Dumbo Heights, has landed a huge new tenant — WeWork. The company that rents co-working space to people and businesses that cannot yet afford their own digs is taking an entire building in the five-building campus. It seems to be a perfect fit for Kusher, who has pitched the project as a hip central repository for innovation companies. Landing WeWork is like inking deals with hundreds of tiny tenants, but without much of the hassle. Kudos Kush.
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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand came to New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering’s Urban Future Center in MetroTech last week to announce a bill that would create a new federal grant program for tech researchers. The grants would provide research money for institutions that try to convert academic projects into businesses — much like the Urban Future Center.