Communities / Women in tech

Here are the 3 most interesting startups from 1776’s Brooklyn demo night

Smart cities, student debt and sex startups stood out.

Eight Brooklyn startups pitched their products and services attempting to solve the problems of city life in front of a sold-out audience at incubator 1776 Wednesday night.

Each of the startups brought something to the table, from ideas on improving web experiences with deep hyperlinking, to improving the user experience of governments through Facebook Messenger and SMS texting.

But there were three startups in particular that grabbed our attention (and the attention of one of the evening’s judges, J.J. Kasper, as it turned out).

Venture Smarter

Busayo Odunlami, cofounder of Venture Smarter, takes a turn DJing at 1776.

Busayo Odunlami, cofounder of Venture Smarter, takes a turn DJing at 1776. (Photo by Tyler Woods)

Venture Smarter wants to be for cities “what Bloomberg terminals are for business,” cofounder Busayo Odunlami explained.

“Tech is moving way fast and policy and procurement is slowing way down,” he said in his pitch. “There’s a need for standards and framework and a need for education. One of the most important things missing in platforms is procurement piece.”

(Procurement was once the focus of a Philadelphia initiative aimed at welcoming startups into the civic fold.)

Though founded just in January, Venture Smarter already has a working relationship with the City of Cincinnati and said it has more than 25 customers and hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. It does make sense that as new technologies come online, there would be a space for organizing and making sense of what’s out there, both for consumers and producers.


Maude cofounder Eva Goicochea at the 1776 demo night.

Maude cofounder Eva Goicochea at the 1776 demo night. (Photo by Tyler Woods)

Maude’s cofounder, Eva Goicochea, came from Everlane and seems to want to build essentially Everlane for sex stuff. That means simple, minimal, high-quality offerings marketed to consumers who take an interest in the details of the products they buy. The site will sell two versions of lubricants, one version of condoms and one version of a vibrator.

“Brands are speaking to 18 to 24 year olds but leaving 81 million people on the table in the United States,” Goicochea explained in her pitch. “Ninety-eight percent of American adults have no brand loyalty.”

One of the judges, J.J. Kasper, founder and partner of the venture fund Blue {Seed} Collective, liked the idea.

“I still have a thesis that there’s a giant opportunity in the sex toy space, for the Warby Parker of sex toys,” he said. “I’ve got my list of business ideas I’ve always wanted to start. One is like Maude but not quite.”


Will Sealy, founder of Simplifi.

Will Sealy, founder of Simplifi. (Photo by Tyler Woods)

Simplifi wants to tackle one of the biggest problems facing young people in the country: student debt. The startup, founded by recent Yale MBA Will Sealy, is building a personal dashboard for managing student debt payments and refinancing.

“The repayment processes are so confusing it makes filing your taxes look easy,” Sealy, who said he is among those with student debt, explained.

Sealy said the company has raised more than $300,000 in funding so far and is rolling out a pilot program with Yale next month. It will generate revenue by very straightforward methods: subscription fees in the form of software as a service for universities to offer their students, and referral fees on students refinancing loans.

Kasper picked it as one of his favorite startups of the night.

“I think Simplifi is on trend because student loans is a massive problem for the country,” he said.

Companies: 76 Forward
Series: Brooklyn

Knowledge is power!

Subscribe for free today and stay up to date with news and tips you need to grow your career and connect with our vibrant tech community.

Technically Media