New York Tech Startups Disrupt Traditional Industries – For the Better

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Zipments CEO presenting at INGENUITY

This week the New Venture Capital Association (NYVCA) hosted its 4th annual INGENUITY Conference, putting a spotlight on the city’s vibrant startup scene. Chris Fralic, the Ingenuity’s co-chair and partner at First Round Capital, first round capital, stated in his introductory remarks that today’s question is not whether you can build a tech company and hire enough engineers in New York. Looking at the successful tech startups in New York, the question has shifted to whether you can build a company as big as Facebook in New York City.

To showcase some of New York’s finest tech startups, NYVCA had vetted hundreds of applications from New York startups prior to the conference and had selected 16 lucky companies to present their business strategy at the event.

Here are some of my favorite startups that presented. They are disrupting New York’s traditional industries, including food, transportation and retail.


Like taxis, bike carriers are a common sight in the streets of New York. They even have inspired a new line of bags, the messenger bag. But the courier business model itself hadn’t changed for a long time and the courier services are facing large operating costs.  Zipments facilitates between businesses and couriers. Its logistics platforms helps businesses, especially retailers that require same-day delivery, stay competitive with a flexible and comprehensive local delivery service. Customers have mobile access to a network of couriers and can select the modes of transportation – from bikes to cargo bikes to fuel efficient vehicles – that best fits their needs.  Zipments’ CEO Garrick Pohl said that the company has pilots in 10 cities, across 4 continents and currently services hundreds of business clients.


As a fan of crowdsourcing and social media, I took an instant liking to WeDidIt, a fundraising platforms for non-profits that helps engage potential donors across all social and mobile channels. Presenting co-founder Ben Lamson also very much deserved his title of storyteller. He told the audience the true tales of non-profits which rely on traditional and costly methods like direct mail and in-person fundraising and are thereby struggling to make fundraising initiatives more profitable. Moving fundraising online is not only more cost effective, it also helps to be more targeted. WeDidIt’s clients, including 100Cameras and Amnesty International, can use the white-label fundraising platform to aggregate insights from all social media channels. By analyzing which posts drive the most traffic, campaign posts can be tailored based on what content drives the most engagement. That’s real-time campaign performance management.


I first came across Plated at NY Tech Day and as a klutz in the kitchen loved the concept. Co-founder Nick Taranto also had a good story for us. The idea for Plated came while working long hours and not having enough time to shop and cook. He and his co-founder Josh Hix devised a service to bring all the ingredients for a gourmet meal to your doorstep, ready to be cooked at home. The menu changes every week and has 7 options. This week’s options included Skirt Steak with Creamy Quinoa and Maple Brussel Sprouts and Miso Glazed Acorn Squash and Tofu. The company has three facilities in the U.S. and is considering a Series A round to support business growth.  My request for service expansion would be adding more kid-friendly meals as part of the menu options.


I’d be the first one to admit that I have trouble remembering all my passwords. Turns out, I am not alone. Nowadays each person has more than 60 passwords, according to Dashlane, and remembering all those passwords, often a combination of numbers, letters and symbols, is cumbersome. The company is out to solve the password conundrum with a secure, while simple, password manager and digital wallet system. Dashlane’s password manager keeps track of passwords and keeps them in a secure password vault. And, instead of having to remember all the passwords for ecommerce sites, you can use Dashlane’s digital wallet system. I am envisioning a cash register in a mega shopping mall. While the service is targeting consumers, it is disrupting the retail industry, giving participating retailers the edge of convenience.

Now that the payment process for online orders is settled, local shipments might best be made by bike with Zipments…With startups using tech to innovate traditional industries, there is plenty of room for cooperation.