After moving back from Boston, this founder is diving into the D.C. tech community - Technical.ly DC

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Sep. 11, 2017 12:52 pm

After moving back from Boston, this founder is diving into the D.C. tech community

Sarah Hostyk started building Place Tempo to help people find places to get work done. She told us about her move back to the area, and how she started dressing as a smartphone.

Sarah Hostyk spreading the word about PlaceTempo at the University of Maryland.

(Courtesy photo)

Sarah Hostyk knew that starting a company would require going “all in.”

In founding Place Tempo, that meant moving home to Silver Spring, Md. It’s also meant wearing a giant smartphone suit on D.C.–area college campuses.

“If you’re going to go all in, you may as well do it in totality,” she said.

Hostyk said the idea for PlaceTempo originated in college. While trying to study in the late-night hours, she found herself moving from place to place attempting to find somewhere that she could be productive.

“I couldn’t just stick with one place,” she said. “I’d have to hop around because a lot of places weren’t conducive to getting a lot done.”

That transitory schedule continued in Boston, where she worked at growing tech companies, including one where she was the first U.S. employee. She searched around for an app or other solution that help her find the right place with the right kind of environment where time wouldn’t be wasted, but it was fruitless.

Screenshots of PlaceTempo. (Courtesy photo)

Screenshots of PlaceTempo. (Courtesy photo)

“I had this issue that I wanted a solution for, and I couldn’t find anything out there,” she said.

So, in early 2016, she set out to create it. Place Tempo offers users the chance to see where they have the best chance of being productive. Using crowdsourced info which is refreshed daily, the app shows the top six spots to work in the user’s area. Along with coffee shops and other common spaces, it could direct users to a park or something more out of the box.

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“It’s any place where you can basically pull up your laptop and start getting work done,” she said.

With the app live on iOs and Android, Hostyk is looking to create some buzz. With college students back in session for the fall, Hostyk has been at college campuses. That’s where the smartphone suit comes in. Plenty of folks on campuses have swag to giveaway, but Hostyk said she found dressing up as a life-sized phone to be a “low cost high attention-grabbing” way to stand out.

Sarah Hostyk in Place Tempo regalia at GW. (Courtesy photo)

Sarah Hostyk in Place Tempo regalia at GW. (Courtesy photo)

At the same time, she is getting reacquainted with the D.C. area. Hostyk grew up here about nine years ago.

I’m super impressed with the whole startup ecosystem that has come into play since I left,” she said. “I did not recall this growing up.”

While not as big of a community as Boston’s, she said she was pleasantly surprised to find the resources and events that are available to entrepreneurs.

“People are always willing to be helpful and help connect you,” she said.

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Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is Market Editor for Technical.ly Baltimore and Technical.ly DC. A graduate of Northeastern University, he moved to Baltimore following stints in New Orleans and Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Baltimore Fishbowl, NOLA Defender, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune and the Rio Grande Sun.

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