Last night, a few hundred Chicago techies gathered at the Chase Tower for the June 2015 edition of Technori. For those not familiar, Technori is a monthly meetup that includes networking, keynotes from industry leaders with impressive résumés, and a handful of 5-minute pitches from startups at various stages of their development. The events often have a theme (real estate, cloud computing, social good, etc.), though occasionally (as was the case last night) it’s open-ended, bringing together a variety of startups from different sectors. The five startups that presented were Wordzen, Carzell, Soundslice, Luna Lights, and Floating Record.
Wordzen is described as a “human-powered email composition service for Gmail” that allows you to use shorthand notes as a reply to an email. Wordzen’s team of editors takes those notes and turns them into a polished email, ready for you to review and send (you can see a few examples on their site). Wordzen is being offered free for the time being, with the eventual goal of creating a subscription model for the most active users.
Carzell is an auction site that connects car owners looking to sell their vehicles with dealers looking for new inventory. Once a free listing is created, dealers place bids and the seller has final say whether to accept the winning bid or not. Carzell is not involved in the actual transaction (they leave it to the parties involved to finalize) and charges a fee to the dealer when the deal is completed.
Started by my friend Adrian Holovaty, Soundslice offers “living sheet music” as a new method for learning, teaching, and creating music. The web-based platform offers standard notation as well as tablature (with the option to view notes on a fretboard), and includes the ability to isolate a specific track, adjust the playback speed, and easily transpose to a new key (if you want to see it for yourself, they’ve got a full demo of Auld Lang Syne up on their site).
According to the Luna Lights website, 1/3 of all seniors experience a fall every year, accounting for 2.2 million trips to the ER and $30 billion in annual medical costs. Their product includes an unobtrusive pressure-sensitive pad that attaches to a mattress and turns on a series of small guide lights when a person gets out of bed. Additionally, their subscription service can track and monitor frequency and time spent out of bed, and can alert caregivers of a potential fall.
We were introduced to the Floating Record last week at Techweek Chicago and they were added to the Technori lineup due to a last-minute cancellation. The team had a prototype connected to the PA system and used a vinyl copy of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” to demonstrate the functionality and sound quality. The reception seems to be extremely positive, as is evidenced by their Kickstarter campaign (currently $800,000 over their funding goal and positioned to become the most successful Chicago-based Kickstarter in history).