Sizeseeker co-founder Mona Safabakhsh stood in front of a hundred people in her pajamas and began flailing her arms around.
It wasn’t a bad dream, it was the night’s only live demo. Safabakhsh, along with co-founder Ian Campell, were demonstrating Sizeseeker, the fledgling Wharton-born company that helps users find their clothing size using an Xbox Kinect.
The first Philly Tech Meetup of the new year kept the now-familiar format of last year: startups meet at the University City Science Center’s Quorum space and each get 20 minutes to present and launch their new startup to a room packed with the city’s technology community. Each demo is followed by a brief question and answer session and the night is capped off by a happy hour at nearby Mid-Atlantic.
After the jump, we offer recaps of each company: Kurbi, Sizeseaker and Near-Miss Management.
Founded by Wes Garnett during a University of Delaware Startup Weekend, Kurbiaims to help people with multiple sclerosis log their activities and symtoms daily us a four-minute questionnaire. The idea, he said, is that patients can have all of their symptoms boil down to a simple score that they can then send to their doctors to help measure progress.
Garnett said he has several family members who have MS and has already partnered with Christina Care and the MS Society.
In a night otherwise filled with PowerPoints and mockups, Sizeseeker’s demo drew several “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd.
The platform was still in its early stage but the demo using co-founder Mona Safabakhsh was within one inch of measurements of hips, waist and bust. The measurement took a bit of manual input, but the duo hope to fully automate the measurement process.
“What we’re building is an API of measurements. When the user logs on to a partner website, the sizing chart will automatically be filled,” said co-founder Ian Campbell. The service also helps users that switch bands between retailers that often have “vanity sizes,” or sizes that make the customer perceive themselves as being thinner.
“At least 30 to 50 percent of all online sales are returns,” said Campbell. “Retailers are really excited at reducing these costs.”
According to Near-Miss Management co-founder Ulku Oktem the imfamous BP Gulf Oil spill may have seemed sudden to outside observers, but the company had several warnings that an explosion was coming. “Some alarms were going off a year before the accident,” she said. “Every time before an accident, the data often shows near misses.”
Industrial workplaces, like oil refineries, often collect huge amounts of data, like temperature, to help signal when a plant shutdown is required. Near-Miss has created a “Risk Predictor Suite” to analyze risk based on these data sets and alarm companies when it notices a troubling pattern, helping to warn businesses long before a shutdown.
Near-Miss Management demo was solely in PowerPoint.