5 Things I Learned at the Philly New Technology Meetup

College students have developed apps that will make you feel like a slacker.

Sharing a launch at the Philly New Technology Meetup's College Demo Night.

Sharing a launch at the Philly New Technology Meetup’s College Demo Night.

As the founding editor of BizPhilly, I’m finding myself at more and more tech meetups. They’re generally a good time with food, beers and lots of smart young people. In fact, watching college entrepreneurs pitch businesses at last night’s Philly New Technology Meetup, I couldn’t help but feel like a slacker. Why didn’t I start a business in college? Was I too busy drinking beer and watching reruns of The Simpsons?

At the tech meetup last night at Quorum at the University City Science Center, nine college entrepreneurs delivered spitfire demos of their new products, many of which looked sleek, cool and scalable.

Being a bit of a newcomer to the tech scene, I thought it would be fun to highlight five things I learned at last night’s event:

1. Advertising on Drones is a Thing, and It’s Getting Attention from Major Companies

When a drone flies through the sky, people can’t help but look up. How often do you see a drone just flying around? The folks at DroneCast are banking on the head-turning interest in drones, since the company manufactures them, sells ads and performs promotional stunts. In fact, it created a custom drone for Ford Motor Co. which delivered toy Ford trucks at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It got serious attention from the drone-loving press, with 45 news organizations covering, a company rep said.

2. This dude wants to go head-to-head with GrubHub and Craigslist

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Photo courtesy of Jason Sherman

Meet Andrew Nakkache. He’s CEO of a startup called Habitat, a company that hopes to connect college students to local restaurants, local businesses and locals trying to sell stuff. Don’t need that chemistry textbook anymore? Rather than post it on Craigslist, why not sell it to a fellow Drexel student who will be taking the class next year? For the food angle, Nakkache said the company is going to differentiate itself from the GrubHubs of the world by again going local — starting a pilot program at Temple that delivers from the 30 or so food trucks on campus. I can get into that.

3. For a young, techie event, it has some old-school sponsors.

EisnerAmper, Duane Morris? Is this a tech meetup or a continuing education law credit course? It’s very cool to see that some older, stalwart businesses served as sponsors for last night’s event. It shows that the established business community is seeing serious value in the local startup world.

4. Booking Concerts is a Nightmare and This Guy Says He Can Fix It

Ben Melman, CEO of BookSmart.

Ben Melman, CEO of Booksmart.

Ben Melman said he worked in the music industry and couldn’t help but notice that it was a logistical mess. Think about it, putting on a concert requires travel, equipment and coordinating lots of people’s schedules together. So the Drexel senior founded Booksmart, a platform that can get an entire team on the same page. It features scheduling, ground transportation (with maps), guest lists, flight status updates, and a day-of-show schedule. Seems like it should fill a need for sure.

5. This is not a Miller Lite crowd

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Photo by Jared Shelly

It’s not a tech meetup without pizza and beer, but I couldn’t help but notice that the Yeungling and Blue Moon went much faster than the Miller Lite.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Archer & Greiner as an event sponsor.


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