My name is Wesley Sherow, and I am an entrepreneur in Albany with moderate social aptitude! It is no surprise to that regard that I went for my first time to the Startup Tech Valley Meet-Up event in Troy, NY. The Albany area is laden with high tech companies and bright scientists and engineers, so it comes as no surprise that the venue was packed even though I arrived very early.
The event was held at Brown’s Brewing Co. in Troy, NY, a local brewery with a two level stage and auditorium just big enough to fit fifty to one-hundred people. I was one of the few that pre-registered for the event, so I was given a coupon for a free drink! I decided to hold-off on using the drink coupon while I scoped out the area. During my time hovering about the bar-room floor I met some interesting people, a programmer, an engineer, and a high-school teacher attending at the behest of his students to learn more about entrepreneurship. Despite the slightly musty tinge of the old building, the atmosphere in the room was extremely casual. I had no problems walking up to anyone, and everyone was more than willing to discuss their life and work.
A few minutes after scoping the area I discovered my first major sin of the night: I didn’t bring business cards. Among the crowds of people was a table wherein just by dropping a business card, you could be entered into a raffle for some great swag, including T-shirts, hats, and all sorts of other goodies. Unfortunately I was also unable to give my business cards to those who I connected with throughout the night! Fortunately I had great reception in the area and could just connect on LinkedIn on the fly.
Shortly after the mingling had concluded the lights flashed, signaling everyone to get to their seats to view the start-up ventures presenting. Although most people stayed in the hall to continue collecting business cards, I decided to walk over to the auditorium for the presentations.
EVENT Photos: Courtesy of Severino Center #startuptechvalley
There were five presentations in total:
The first was Up IN Your Business, is a social app that features shopping and dining locales. Although I found the presentation and app itself to be a bit rudimentary, the potential certainly was visible.
Twill was the second to present a social outreach company “for-profit” that sells blankets. For every blanket soled, they donate one to a child in need. Much of their presentation included heart-wrenching images of children receiving Twill blankets.
One of the most promising presentation was from New Ed Inc, which featured a web engagement platform for educational institutions. The concept involved having classes and materials purchasable through a common interface that changed themes based on the university in question.
I was surprised to see Node40’s concepts involving digital currency “savings accounts” for holding and trading digital currency. The presentation discussed Bitcoins and other currencies, and the potential to make money by converting your computer into a digital mining powerhouse. The presentation itself was one of the most entertaining featuring quirky animations to describe complex concepts.
Finally a similar concept to Uber was unveiled under the name of heynay. heynay, which stands for “hey neighbor” is designed to allow the rental of household items to neighbors who live nearby. heynay intends to have insurance and deposit schemes to prevent theft, and overall the concept is a big question mark in terms of success possibilities in my book
Overall the event was fascinating. I really felt like I had my finger on the pulse of Tech Valley that night, and I certainly will go again on November 4th, 2015. I hope to meet you there!
Embrace Creative Collisions! Visit the UNY Events Calendar to learn about events for startups, entrepreneurs and investors throughout Upstate New York!