Five New York Companies to Watch (October 2017)

New York’s tech community has an incredible array of female founders. For this month’s companies to watch, we are proud to feature five Tech:NYC member companies that were founded by women.

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Fitnescity

What does your company do?
Fitnescity Co-Founder and CEO Laila Zemrani: Fitnescity’s mission is to advance human performance and reduce lifestyle-induced disease through personalized, data-driven wellness. The company provides technology solutions for health clubs, with the goal of helping them build a comprehensive view of the member’s wellness.

Why did you found it in New York?
LZ: New York is a great place to start a wellness company. There’s a large base of health-conscious early adopters. From a personal perspective, we find the city to be very energizing. We almost named the company after New York City.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
LZ: Be very strategic about how you spend your time. There are tons of networking opportunities and events, but most of them are not worth your time. You’re generally better off focusing on what generates revenue, especially at the early stage.

What brought you to New York?
LZ: It’s the only city in the U.S. that has a direct flight to my home country Morocco!

What’s your favorite bagel?
LZ: The whole wheat bagel from Simit + Smith, a Turkish bakery and cafe.

What’s the best place in New York for a coffee or lunch meeting?
LZ: I usually like to meet for coffee at the American Table Cafe and Bar, in Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. It might not be the best place for lunch, but I do like the white natural light, the floor-to-ceiling glass windows and the atmosphere.

What’s your favorite NYC coffee shop?
LZ: My favorite coffee shops are actually ones that are located within stores, like Ralph’s Coffee at Polo Ralph Lauren and Toby’s Estate at Club Monaco.

What’s your favorite NYC building?
LZ: The Metropolitan Opera House on Broadway at Lincoln Square.

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Hyr

What does your company do?
Hyr Co-Founder and CMO Erika Mozes: Hyr is a new model for shift work. We are a skillshare platform that connects businesses with help when they need it, and it helps workers get paid fast, while providing benefits in the 1099 economy. That means if you have a hospitality, retail, or brand ambassador need (hello NYC startups!), Hyr connects you to quality, rated talent in as little as 30 minutes.

Why did you found it in New York?
EM: New York has the perfect ecosystem for our business. From a tech standpoint, we have been able to attract top notch talent. And the early stage investment environment was awesome. We were fortunate to have been invested in by the Gaingels early on, who are now helping us in our seed round. From a growth perspective, this city is home to millions of shift workers and businesses looking for talent. We wanted our largest market to be in our backyard.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
EM: Don’t give up. This city is all about hustle, and sometimes it can be daunting trying to cut through the noise. Find your early adopters, nurture them, and make it easy for them be your advocates. Subway ads are great, but until you can raise a Series A investment, they’ll be out of your budget.

What brought you to New York?
EM: The tech and business ecosystem. I’m from Toronto, and although Toronto is a new tech ecosystem there just is not the talent or angel investment that New York has.

What’s your favorite pizza slice?
EM: The St Louis at Speedy Romeo. I know it’s not exactly a slice, but it still works. Check out these ingredients: San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Provel, Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, and Pickled Chilis.

What’s your favorite NYC park?
EM: East River Park. It’s great for a morning run or a game of chess by the water.

What’s the best place in New York for a coffee or lunch meeting?
EM: Chanson in Flatiron. Great location.

What’s your favorite NYC coffee shop?
EM: Spreadhouse. It may take a little longer for your coffee, but they have a great space in the LES.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you in NYC?
EM: I started a business here!

What’s the best condiment on a New York hot dog?
EM: Mustard.

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Jewelbots

What does your company do?
Jewelbots Co-Founder and CEO Sara Chipps: We make smart friendship bracelets that you can code! Jewelbots light up when your friends are nearby and you can use them to send secret messages. Using a laptop you can write code for your Jewelbots and make anything from custom friend interactions to super fun games!

Why did you found it in New York?
SC: I live here! Also, New York is jam packed full of resources for founders.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
SC: Surround yourself with great people that have done it before.

What brought you to New York?
SC: The opportunity, the people, the culture.

What’s your favorite pizza slice?
SC: I really like the Margherita at Artichoke.

How do you get to your office?
SC: Sometimes the J, sometimes Citi Bike.

What’s the best place in New York for a coffee or lunch meeting?
SC: I love ForgtMeNot in Chinatown. They make the most amazing lunch called the Travis Bowl. Get it with the jalapeño yogurt.

What’s your favorite NYC coffee shop?
SC: Round K on Allen Street. It's the best. There is a little room in the back to sit and enjoy their amazing iced coffee.

What’s your favorite NYC museum?
SC: Probably the Met. There is so much to explore.

What’s your favorite neighborhood?
SC: I'll always love the East Village best, the mom and pop stores. Incredible food, art, and the dance festival!

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you in NYC?
SC: I see people I know all the time on the street. It's bizarre on a city with so many people, but it can be the smallest town.

What’s the best condiment on a New York hot dog?
SC: Kraut.

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Minibar Delivery

What does your company do?
Minibar Delivery Co-Founder Lara Crystal: Minibar Delivery is building a better way to shop for wine, liquor, beer and more. Instead of aimlessly wandering the aisles of the liquor store and lugging home heavy bags, we bring the store to your door to make the shopping experience easier and more informed for our customers. Consumers can order alcohol on-demand in just a few simple taps for delivery in 30 to 60 minutes in more than 37 U.S. cities. We also offer a chance to order wine directly from a curated selection of vineyards in more than 40 states.

Why did you found it in New York?
LC: My co-founder Lindsey Andrews and I are both New York born and raised, so there wasn’t really a thought to start anywhere but here. It's the largest market and people were already very accustomed to food delivery, so the transition to alcohol delivery was a simpler one. And the value proposition was easy to understand because New Yorkers understand the headache of lugging heavy bottles on the subway or up to their fifth-floor walkup apartment.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
LC: Use the city to your advantage! There are millions of people here who are doing and building awesome things. So be open to new experiences. You never know who you’re going to meet when you’re out at an event or even just in line to grab a coffee.

What’s your favorite pizza slice?
LC: The square slice at Prince Street Pizza.

How do you get to your office?
LC: I walk to work every day and I wouldn't have it any other way.

What’s your favorite NYC park?
LC: Washington Square Park. My husband proposed there last year. It's near our apartment and I walk through it daily.

What’s your favorite bagel?
LC: Ess-a-Bagel. Although it's far away and I don't get there often enough.

What’s the best place in New York for a coffee or lunch meeting?
LC: I prefer breakfast meetings at Joseph Leonard, which is near my apartment. They have the best scrambled eggs and avocado toast.

What’s your favorite NYC coffee shop?
LC: Think on Bowery, which is right around the corner from our office.

What’s your favorite neighborhood?
LC: The West Village, where I live.

What’s your favorite NYC building?
LC: The Flatiron Building. I did a project on it in second grade and have loved it ever since.

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Videolicious

What does your company do?
Videolicious Co-Founder and President Amanda Eilian: Videolicious helps Fortune 500 companies sell more with video communication. We are an automatic video creation platform empowering employees to create professional quality videos, instantly, from their mobile devices or desktops. As video becomes the dominant form of content on the web, and businesses continue to see better sales and engagement through video outreach, Videolicious is becoming a new form of document for video.

Why did you found it in New York?
AE: Videolicious works with some of the largest companies in the world and more Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in New York than any other state. It’s not just the number of large companies that was important to us but the diversity as well: Videolicious works with companies from the IT, insurance, finance, industrial, retail, and media industries, and New York City has it all.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
AE: Since New York is not limited to a single industry, take advantage of the breadth of expertise available from mentors and thought leaders across the spectrum.

What brought you to New York?
AE: As a college student in Washington, D.C., I thought I would work in government. Instead, I got recruited by an investment bank my junior year and was fascinated by the rapid pace of learning. Once I lived in NYC, I knew nowhere else would compare. I still make it back to my home state of Vermont for some much needed green space and relaxation, but the incredible diversity and access (24-hour-a-day delivery of almost anything!) in NYC is impossible to give up for long.

What’s your favorite pizza slice?
AE: Wild on Hudson has some of the most creative, delicious, and sorta healthy pizzas around.

How do you get to your office? Subway, bus, cab, bike or foot?
AE: As a completely virtual company, I have the luxury of commuting to my home office in slippers.

What’s your favorite NYC park?
AE: Central Park is hard to beat for the sheer scale, but Hudson River Park is my go-to for morning runs and just enjoying a water view. And the High Line is ideal for strolling on summer nights.

What’s the best place in New York for a coffee or lunch meeting?
AE: For those rare all-female meetings, The Wing is ideal: amazing space, positive energy, and you can stay as long as you like without ordering anything!

What’s your favorite NYC coffee shop?
AE: Nourish on Greenwich Avenue has great seasonal lattes (and a killer selection of take out).

What’s your favorite NYC museum?
AE: The Whitney. Everything about it is great, from the building, to the outdoor space, and of course the exhibits. The recent Calder Hypermobility show was just incredible.

What’s your favorite NYC building?
AE: The New York Public Library. I was a Kindle early adopter, but nothing compares to a room full of books. And the sheer scale of the place!