Start-Up City: a look at the city’s dynamic entrepreuneurs

How About We
HowAboutWe media strategist Ariana Anthony works in their offices in DUMBO. The dating site, which was founded in April 2010 by Aaron Schildkrout and Brian Schechter, is one of the Made in NY startups. (Credit: Scout Tufankjian.)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been working to position New York City as one of the world’s greatest tech capitals, and his most recent initiative showcased some of the city’s youngest and most dynamic in the industry: a registry of hundreds of “Made in NY” start-ups.

The nearly 1,000 companies on the mayor’s list have harnessed the creative energy of the city to power a wide array of businesses, from online dating to eyewear, in ways that are as unique as the city they call home. Metro looked at four of the proud Made in New York businesses below.

 

Songza

The guys behind Songza are, in some ways, the literal posterboys for the mayor’s Made in NY platform: their photo is featured in many of the ads plastered around the city.

Songza is a music-streaming website, but Elias Roman, one of its creators, sees it as more of a “lifestyle service.” Songza offers a selection of playlists based on possible moods you could be in given the time of day.

There are no algorithms or “computer deciding what songs go on what playlists,” Roman said. The playlists featured on Songza are “hand-curated” by a team of “30 curators around New York who are just the best of the best.”

Songza has been proudly based out of Long Island City since 2007, and Roman says the neighborhood continues to perfectly suit them.

“We get our own space to be weird, to find out who we are and deliver that to users,” Roman said.

 

HowAboutWe co-founder Aaron Schildkrout meets with a colleague in their offices in DUMBO. (Credit: Scout Tufankjian.)
HowAboutWe co-founder Aaron Schildkrout meets with a colleague in their offices in DUMBO. (Credit: Scout Tufankjian.)

 

HOWABOUTWE.com

How About We is an online dating website placing more emphasis on the “dating” than the “online.”

“We had the idea that people believe in experience, they want to do things,” says owner Aaron Schildkrout. “It’s just cooler to meet based on the idea of actually going on a date in the real world than the idea of endlessly browsing profiles or chatting online forever, or ‘winking,’ whatever.”

Users sign up and propose date ideas, then are matched up with people with similar date ideas. Schildkrout describes the interface as “a lot like a Twitter stream, but it’s of dates.”

How About We is launching a new service for couples exclusively in New York: members go on free, “beautiful curated” dates monthly, Schildkrout explained.

How About We is based out of DUMBO, a location that Schildkrout said is “perfect.”

“It’s kind of the bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn, and we wanted to attract people from both areas,” Schildkrout said. “It’s kind of a great middle ground in that sense, and there’s also a really vibrant start-up culture here.”

 

(HowAboutWe.com.)
(HowAboutWe.com.)

 

Warby Parker

Neil Blumenthal started Warby Parker with some friends while they were still in graduate school at Wharton in 2010, but moved the operation to the city immediately upon graduation.

As a native New Yorker, Blumenthal explained, “it’s hard to live anywhere else.”

The idea for Warby Parker came about when Blumenthal and his friends realized “glasses cost as much as an iPhone,” and decided to “find the frames that we love and make them from premium materials but charge $95 instead of $500.”

Warby Parker’s Soho showroom now brings in the same amount of sales for square foot that Tiffany’s does.

 

Freelancers Union
The Freelancer’s Union offices in DUMBO. (Credit: Scout Tufankjian.)

 

Freelancers Union

Freelancers Union is essentially an insurance company, but for the ubiquitous kind of New Yorker most insurance companies would scoff at: the (sometimes-struggling) freelancer.

Started in 1995, Freelancers Union now has over 200,000 members.

“I grew up in Brooklyn and have lived here my whole life,” said founder and CEO Sara Horowitz, explaining how she saw the need for the service. “I saw that my neighbors were piecing together their work lives in new ways — the accountant who sings opera at night, the nanny who builds websites.”

Now, Horowitz says, one in three workers is independent.

 

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

Local

Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

Arts

Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.

Music

Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.

Education

The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…