You probably wouldn’t expect comedian TJ Miller to hit the stage at a technology convention but that’s exactly what happened on Day Two of TechCrunch Disrupt. He wasn’t the only person to wow the audience on Tuesday. Yael Cohen of Standwith, Jerry Callahan of ISI Technology, and Tim Bernal of Kwoller were just a few of the presenters sharing their startup companies to the Battlefield judging panel.
Miller and his co-star Thomas Middleditch sat down with the creators of HBO’s Silicon Valley to talk with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington about the hit show and what it’s been like to portray the very coders and engineers who are attending Disrupt NY. The series, which was just picked up for season two, pays homage to the Bay Area tech scene as well as the people who work and thrive within it. The panel discussion opened with a video clip from the show’s all too real version of TechCrunch Disrupt. Executive producers Alec Berg and Mike Judge made sure every detail was perfect when it came to recreating the conference, even if that meant putting entrepreneurs on camera.
“There were about fifty or sixty people who were at the real Disrupt SF that we put on the show,” said Berg.
Greg Duffy, CEO of Dropcam, used his time on the Disrupt stage to introduce two new exciting technologies – a software update that will teach Dropcam to recognize people on video screens and a piece of sensory hardware called Dropcam Tabs. With the new software, users can receive an alert indicating that someone has been detected in their home – in real time. With Tabs, a wireless movement sensor can be placed on anything you want to keep track on – from doors and windows to valuables and pets. The tabs will then learn algorithms and motion patterns to tell you if something is open or missing. As Duffy stated, “We are more of a services company than a hardware company. Dropcam gets better over time… It goes beyond seeing and hearing. It’s more about knowing. Always having a peace of mind.”
StandWith founder Yael Cohen started off Tuesday afternoon’s battlefield by sharing the story of her mother’s cancer diagnosis back in 2009. Inundated with requests to help from family and friends, Cohen created an app for sick patients, caregivers, and their supporters. In order to simplify and breakdown specific needs, StandWith assigns tasks and sends updates to a select group of individuals – specifically family, friends, and acquaintances. This way, information and updates can be shared privately or publicly. Requests can range from taking the kids to school to picking up groceries (which can be done through one of their strategic partners, like AmazonFresh). “It allows patients and caregivers to post what they need and supporters to select what they can do,” said Cohen.
Kwoller, the “Tinder of shopping apps,” ShowKit, the next generation of mobile customer support, and ISI Technology, the company behind the latest in electric water heaters, also brought amazing ideas to the table at Tuesday’s battlefield competition. Each company presented a range of innovative concepts and simple solutions to make our everyday interactions just a little bit better. Who wouldn’t want to step into a shower that’s already set to their desired temperature or talk to a banker directly from their mobile banking app?
The founders of Secret also stopped by to talk about why it’s important to tap into the collective subconscious of your friends: to get insight into your world with the people you spend time with. The anonymous communication platform is also becoming a place where news is breaking first. “To watch it evolve has been very fascinating. People can come forward with important information and it gives them this kind of super power,” said Chrys Bader-Wechseler, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Secret.
The third and final day of Disrupt NY will take place on Wednesday. Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer will stop by for a fireside discussion before taking her seat as one of the judges in the Battlefield finals. The entire judging panel includes John Borthwick (Betaworks), Roelof Botha (Sequoia Capital), Chris Dixon (Andreessen Horowitz), Brian Pokorny (SV Angel), and Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures). Make sure to read tomorrow’s recap to find out who will take home the Disrupt Cup.
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Carly Petrone is a freelance writer living in New York City.