Five New York Tech Companies to Watch (September 2017)

Earlier this month, we launched Tech Takes Action, a new tool to help New York tech workers respond to the most pressing issues of the day by speaking up, chipping in, and giving back.

Following this theme, we decided this month’s companies to watch should focus on five Tech:NYC members that are embracing social good and making a real difference in their communities. We love that these companies have set out not only to create successful businesses but also help people along the way.

Addicaid

What does your company do?
Addicaid founder and CEO Sam Frons: Addicaid is a personalized recovery app that has specific treatment programs tailored to you, and a support network of others with similar situations and goals. We streamline the process of getting addiction support with technology-based solutions for those who struggle and those who help those who struggle.

Why did you found it in New York?
SF: Because I’m from here and there’s a lot of socioeconomic problems significantly impacted by addiction. I’ve heard some NYPD officers say that the crack epidemic pales in comparison to the current crises, which furthers my resolve to get effective treatment services to those who need them most. And as one of the most multicultural cities in the world, NYC is a great host for spreading ideologies and clinical approaches throughout the world.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
SF: Apply to every relevant incubator, pitch event, and competition (unless they have application fees, skip those). NYC affords any first-time entrepreneur more getting-started resources than any other city. It offers tech meetups, biz dev meetups, “struggle & hustle” meetups, rapid prototyping meetups, and so many other events with free food and decent networking.

What’s your favorite pizza slice?
SF: V for Vegan from Two Boots. I’m not vegan but sometimes vegan food is the better option.

What’s your favorite NYC park?
SF: Bryant Park, especially in cold months when the free skating rink and winter village is up.

What’s the best place in New York for a coffee or lunch meeting?
SF: Whatever the nearest plush, public atrium is. IBM Plaza or Park Ave Plaza are my favorites.

What’s your favorite NYC coffee shop?
SF: Lulu Bean. Get the No. 6 sandwich. I’ve been going there eight years and still not sick of it.

What’s your favorite NYC museum?
SF: The Met. I always go to the contemporary wing and any Asian indoor gardens they have scattered throughout their labyrinthine layout.

What’s your favorite neighborhood?
SF: The Brooklyn Navy Yard. Anyone with a civic/social component to their company should apply to the fellowship at 1776, which is based there.

What’s your favorite NYC building?
SF: Via 57 West (aka the world’s first “courtscraper”) because it combines three of my favorite things: courtyards, skyscrapers, and portmanteaus.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you in NYC?
SF: My favorite NYC happening took place in late 2009 at the Nintendo NY store. I did some design work for Carnegie Hall’s video game and music revolution party. Grandmaster Flash was there. He played Wii Tennis and I recited “White Lines” off the top of my head. He may or may not have been impressed. Either way, I will always remember the evening of Mr. Flash and Nintendo Wii fondly.

What’s the best condiment on a New York hot dog?
SF: Sriracha.

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Idealist

What does your company do?
Idealist founder and executive director Ami Dar: Idealist connects 120,000 nonprofits around the world with millions of people who want to work or volunteer with them. We do this in English and Spanish, and we serve people in almost every country across every issue and area of interest.

Why did you found it in New York?
AD: I saw NYC as a place that would be open to big new ideas, and with a concentration of all the kinds of talent we would ever need.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
AD: New York is easier and friendlier than you may think.

What brought you to New York?
AD: I came here on a business trip in the fall of 1991 and fell in love with it, so a few months later I moved here.

What’s your favorite pizza slice?
AD: Patsy's.

What’s your favorite NYC park?
AD: Central Park, especially at night.

What’s your favorite bagel?
AD: Zucker's on Columbus.

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

Photo by Diana Zapata

Photo by Diana Zapata

IssueVoter

What does your company do?
IssueVoter founder and CEO Maria Yuan: IssueVoter is a non-partisan online platform that has the potential to revolutionize politics. Here’s how it works: You start by choosing issues that matter most to you, such as education, healthcare, or technology. Then you receive email alerts before a new bill up for vote in Congress matches your interests. We translate each bill into layman’s terms, along with what both sides are saying. Finally, throughout the year, IssueVoter tracks how often your elected officials vote your way, creating a personalized scorecard and helping you be a more informed voter at election time.

Why did you found it in New York?
MY: For me, the diversity of individuals and the sectors in which they work helps IssueVoter better reach our mission. Also, the diversity of both political and private sector experience on the team, and in NYC, gives us a unique perspective. This combination marries first-hand knowledge about how the legislature works with realistic private-sector solutions in which individuals, even those who don’t identify as activists, will engage.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
MY: Limit the number of events and conferences you attend. There are so many amazing events and people to meet, but they are also time consuming.

What brought you to New York?
MY: Working in financial services. Plus, I have always loved NYC. I visited when I was a kid and thought, “Someday I will live here,” and now I do!

What’s your favorite NYC park?
MY: Madison Square Park.

What’s the best place in New York for a coffee or lunch meeting?
MY: Ludlow House – it’s comfortable, quiet, sunny, and I’ve never had issues with the internet. Also, there’s always space and the music they play isn’t too loud or distracting.

What’s your favorite NYC coffee shop?
MY: La Colombe, though they are from Philly, where I went to grad school. I was so happy when they opened in NYC.

What’s your favorite NYC museum?
MY: The Whitney before it moved. The Upper East Side location was the perfect afternoon getaway.

What’s your favorite neighborhood?
MY: My neighborhood around the Gramercy/Flatiron area. It’s not as crowded as Union Square and still very walkable.

What’s your favorite NYC building?
MY: I like the Chrysler Building even though I don’t usually like Art Deco. I also like the modern look of One World Trade Center.

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Move This World

What does your company do?
Move This World founder and CEO Sara Potler LaHayne: Move This World equips educators and students with tools to strengthen their social and emotional wellbeing in order to create healthy environments where effective teaching and learning can occur. By providing 24/7 access to instructional videos, classroom visuals, a resource library and a dedicated wellbeing consultant, Move This World is increasing accessibility to effective social and emotional learning.

Why did you found your company in New York?
SPL: The energy and vibrancy of New York City is electric. When I come out of the subway I feel the pulse in the air; when I walk the streets I feel the electric rhythm of the people. Being an entrepreneur can be pretty isolating and scary, but in New York you're surrounded by people who are all working to do big things, fulfill crazy ideas, and make their dreams real. That's the kind of community I want for myself and my company.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
SPL: Because New York has such diverse industries and people and is not all tech, tap into the cross disciplinary skills and interests of the artists, educators, health providers, investors, writers and operators who all have a different vantage point than you and will challenge you to flex new muscles and take on new perspectives.

What brought you to New York?
SPL: From the time I was 6 years old, I was coming up to New York with my mom to see theater and take dance classes. When I told my sister I was moving to New York, she said, "You've belonged in New York ever since you came out of mom's womb." I still can't take enough dance classes in this city.

What’s your favorite pizza slice?
SPL: Adrienne's on Stone Street

How do you get to your office?
SPL: I walk to my SoHo office. That's my time to clear my head and set an intention for the day, meditate, or call my grandma.

What’s your favorite NYC park?
SPL: The Hudson River Park. It's my morning run, and now I walk my baby a 5-mile stretch every day.

What’s the best place in New York for a coffee or lunch meeting?
SPL: I like walking meetings. There's no better inspiration than the streets of New York. If we have to take a seat, Saturday's in SoHo has an outdoor patio in the back that makes me feel like we're meeting in the middle of the Secret Garden.

What’s your favorite NYC museum?
SPL: The Neue Galerie

What’s your favorite neighborhood?
SPL: Jackson Heights, Queens. I've spent entire days eating my way around those streets.

What’s your favorite NYC building?
SPL: 24 Bond St, home to the Gene Frankel Theater. There are dancing gold statues whimsically moving up the outside of the theater as if they were ivy.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you in NYC?
SPL: A lady in a tutu, army boots, and a tall wig with her face painted was singing opera when she threw a hot dog in my face.

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OweYaa

What does your company do?
OweYaa cofounder and CEO Barika Edwards: OweYaa tailor matches employers in the tech sector to high-caliber military talent. Our candidates are skilled and qualified service members, veterans and military spouses from around the country that we personally match employers to for on-demand outsourcing projects, temp-to-hire positions, and internships. We are a social enterprise so every employer member of OweYaa is contributing to equipping veterans transition into the civilian job market.

Why did you found it in New York?
BE: We started OweYaa in NYC because most of our team was based here. Luke, our co-founder and Director of Military Outreach, came from West Point.

One piece of advice for being a New York founder?
BE: New York has a lot to offer because it’s the city that just keeps on giving. There are so many events, meetups, and workshops happening every night. It's a great city to learn how to be resourceful as a startup founder but you may feel you are constantly pulled in many directions. This is why building relationships and community is essential to put it all the city has to offer to work efficiently for you. It’s important to find a core group of entrepreneur friends that you can share your founder journey with and keep you accountable on what’s important.

What’s your favorite pizza slice?
BE: DiFara’s Pizza in Midwood Brooklyn is hands down the best slice in New York City.

How do you get to your office?
BE: A bus, a subway, and a stroll.

What’s your favorite NYC park?
BE: Prospect Park.

What’s your favorite bagel?
BE: Fruit Loops Bagel at a place on Court Street. They have really creative bagels.

What’s the best place in New York for a coffee or lunch meeting?
BE: I always suggest finding somewhere you’ve never been to so your conversation about the meeting place is not the usual ho-hum.

What’s your favorite NYC coffee shop?
BE: Bodega coffee is the best coffee and a stroll to the park on a sunny day is the best. But if you need to sit down and work, go to the Ace Hotel.

What’s your favorite NYC museum?
BE: The city itself is a museum. So many good places depending on who is exhibiting. I love the Met for me-time to get imaginative juices going.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you in NYC?
BE: I host a radio program called the Artsy Fartsy Show on WBAI 99.5 FM. I was walking out of the radio station after the show one day and a red double-decker tour bus drove by with the bus calling out “Artsy Fartsy!” “Artsy Fartsy!” It was the funniest thing and made my day.