Sam Eshleman presenting his Mechation Studio digital instructions-animation product. IKEA, you had better well be paying attention.
Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, October’s Baltimore TechBreakfast happened Nov. 1, a last-minute change that perhaps cut into the attendance for the monthly startup showcase.
Still, a sizable crowd trickled into the DLA Piper building in Mt. Washington for coffee, bagels and “show-and-tell for adults,” as organizer Ron Schmelzer is known to call the monthly tech event.
Just five startups presented, as opposed to the usual six, at this month’s breakfast.
- SocialToaster: Brian Razzaque‘s social media startup that recruits fans of businesses and companies as “ambassadors,” and then uses people’s social networks for pushing out pre-written content in an effort to generate greater web traffic to the company’s website. With offices in the Woodberry neighborhood (directly across from Woodberry Kitchen), and salespeople in Los Angeles, D.C., Miami and one soon in San Francisco, SocialToaster continues to grow.
- Sickweather: Illness-mapping in real-time. The Sickweather team has distilled more than 20 million Facebook and Twitter posts down to 7 million notices (volunteered by people on social media) of sneezing, coughing, pink eye, whooping cough and 20 other symptoms or sicknesses.
- Mailstrom: A product of 410 Labs, Mailstrom is the e-mail inbox cleaner that 410 Labs co-founder Dave Troy says is ideal for “the busy professional who needs a machine gun to knock out all the zombies.” If only the cast of The Walking Dead still had an Internet connection.
- BetaPunch: While Ross Nochumowitz is perhaps better known for the ubiquitous Big Boyz Bail Bonds pens that manage to infiltrate offices across the city, he was at TechBreakfast showing off his tool for startups to recruit website testers. Testers record 8- to 12-minute videos of themselves navigating a startup’s new website, and then startups receive those videos (along with the testers’ complaints and suggestions). The testers, some of whom come from a subReddit of people looking for ways to make beer money, can earn up to $5 for each test they perform.
- Mechation Studio: If Sam Eshleman can get IKEA to use his product, he will be a god among men. Mechation Studio creates digital animations of products that require assembling. As in, products that require YOUR assembling them, even when the instructions just give you pictures of how things are supposed to look and never put anything in written from so you don’t know which washer goes with what bolt or doo-hicky or thing and you end up driving to IKEA in an Ektor-fueled rage.