My Experience at the TechCrunch Meetup in Seattle

Yesterday, I attended the TechCrunch Meetup in Seattle which took place at the Showbox across from the historic Pike Place Market.  The event was an opportunity for attendees to network, meet and greet with startups, with the main focus being the startup pitch-off. Unfortunately, the speakers were not quite loud enough for me to hear all of the startup pitches, so I missed a handful of the pitches before I moved close enough to the stage to hear the proceedings. Here are some of my thoughts on the startups that I recall.

Red Ride: This company is trying to become the 'Kayak of ride-sharing' by aggregating the various ridesharing options (e.g. Uber, Lyft) available so that users can make a decision on the fastest and/or cheapest rideshare vehicle at a particular moment. This seems like something that fans of ridesharing would find very useful.

HearIt: This company lets users create a 'playlist' of text content (e.g. blogs, docs, web pages) that can then be listened to via text-to-speech (similar, in some respects, to Audible). It's limited to Android at the moment, but this seems like an interesting app to watch since the Googles, Apples, and Yahoos of the world are moving into this space.

Hypejar: This startup focuses on creating a community around products that have not yet entered the market. Honestly, this seems like it isn't very different from an interest site like Pinterest.

Braintree: This is essentially a competitor to payments processing platforms like Stripe and Square. As far as I can tell, nothing really differentiates it from the other competitors.

Pigeonews: As far as I can tell, this is not yet a company so much as it is a Kickstarter project (which has not yet reached its funding goal as of this writing). If you liked Google Reader, Google Currents, and/or Google Alerts then this may be a service for you.

 Apptentive: This is in some respects similar to Crittercism or HockeyApp, but rather than focusing on app crashes and analytics, this company is focusing on being able to have conversations with customers so that they don't leave a poor review of your app on the App Store. As a developer, I understand the desire to have more communication with customers than what Google and Apple provide (i.e. slim to none), but I fear that this could very quickly devolve into spammier apps.

Coach Cheetah: If you've ever participated in a recreational sports league, then you know it can be a hassle to assemble a team and keep it participating during the season. This company provides a platform to simplify and manage this process.

Poshlight: This company has an app that lets users create 'levitation' photos using their phone. Users take two photos of the same subject, one photo with the object at the appropriate placement, and one photo of just the background. The 'levitation' magic trick pretty much boils down to letting users 'erase' the parts of the photo they don't want so that the underlying background photo peeks through. It's like Photoshop masking in an app container.

Lootcheck: I wasn't entirely clear how this service would work. It sounds like users would use their phone to take photos of everything in their house (i.e. inventory), and then their system would tell users how much value they have. It was presented as a way to make insurance valuations easier, as well as a way to figure out a source of money should the need arise to sell items. However, it seems as though this would be information that is most interesting to burglars. No need to take chances on what you will find when breaking into somebody's home, because if you can hack into this data source then you pretty much know what everyone has in their house.

Skyjuke:  The idea behind this app is that it allows you to share your music by streaming to your friends connected to the same Wi-Fi network. There are other services out there like this, but I'm not sure that I've seen one with this particular 'locality' twist.

DailyDollar: This company lets you register your credit card so that users can have a digital copy of their receipts without requiring any sort of scanning process. As far as I can tell, this is the sort of 'service' that really should just be a feature of a larger product such as Mint.

In summary, this was an interesting event with quite a variety of attendees and startups. I hope to continue to attend this event in the future.

 Lots of people.

Lots of people.