5 startups we met at DC Tech Meetup, transportation tech edition

The March 5 meetup put a focus on D.C. tech companies working to improve the region's transportation and travel options. Here's a look at the companies who offered demos.

Greater Greater Washington's David Alpert chatting with DC Tech Meetup's Selina McPherson.

(Photo by Michelai Graham)

Maps, scooters, transit and more: transportation tech companies took over DC Tech Meetup last night.

On March 5 at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Selina McPherson, a DC Tech Meetup organizer, kicked off the event with a fireside chat with David Alpert, founder of media nonprofit Greater Greater Washington. The two discussed the state of transportation and tech in the D.C. area. After the chat, employees from five companies demoed their transportation tech products and discussed how they are helping ease transportation throughout D.C. and across state lines. The Flatiron School sponsored this meetup.

Let’s take a look:


Mapbox, a provider of custom online maps, curates an ecosystem for location data. Territory Account Executive Anthony Jones and Mapbox East Coast Solutions Engineer Stephen Gheysens presented about the services offered on the tech company’s platform. The D.C.-based company that uses open-source data to create precise, customizable maps was launched in 2003 as Development Seed by cofounders Eric Gundersen and Ian Ward. It started out as a data visualization and web application strategy consultancy for NGOs, which included the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Resources Institute, DC previously reported.

Skip Scooters

San Francisco-based Skip Scooters was founded in 2017 by Mike Wadhera and Sanjay Dastoor during a Y Combinator winter class. Skip Washington, D.C., General Manager Rob McPherson said that even though the company launched on the West Coast, the first escooters hit the ground in D.C. because of the District’s dockless bike and e-scooter pilot program. McPherson demoed how to charge and drop off the e-scooters within the restricted zones. He also said that there’s currently 950 e-scooters available between D.C. and Arlington, Va., with plans to add 700 more.

Upside Business Travel

Chris Poirier of Upside Business Travel, the travel booking startup that launched in 2017, presented for the company. Poirier is the VP of data science at Upside and he presented on the company’s ability to “solve your travel plan problems.” He discussed the startup’s transformation from a travel rewards program to a solution for business travelers who aren’t part of a traditional corporate travel program. Upside also offers all travelers, business and leisure alike, an option to use its delayed flight predictor, in which the company will predict travel delays based on things like electrical problems and weather conditions.


Reps from TransitScreen demoed the public transit tech company’s transportation app, CityMotion. “CityMo” integrates public and private transit data, providing a location-based, over-arching look at nearby transportation options like the next Metro train, the closest Byrd scooter, Uber, or even a company’s private shuttle. TransitScreen started out making displays showing transit data that hang in corporate buildings and apartment complexes, but now the company has continued to expand to its app that’s iOS and Android-friendly.

Industry Dive

Industry Dive‘s Smart Cities Dive team concluded the night with a demo about the company’s coverage of the rollout of dockless vehicles across the nation, and a map utility on its website that visualizes the information. Smart Cities Dive is the media company’s daily news outlet focusing on urban sustainability, green building, transportation, connectivity and environmentalism. Signup for the daily newsletter is free.

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