Review: DC Tech Meetup #3

On May 3rd 2011, DC Tech Meetup had their third meeting and the theme was centered around women in startups.  Approximately 700 people were in attendance and most of the startups had very ambitious goals. The charismatic evangelism over the DC and east coast startup scene via the intro monologue by iStrategyLabs CEO Peter Corbett, followed by several presenters, really matched up with the backdrop of the Sixth and I Street Synagogue (see pics below).  I could not help but embrace the excitement that was pumped into this meeting over the ambitiousness of these fledgling companies.

HelloWallet sounds similar to, but appear to take a more independent approach to financial recommendations.  Mint charges fees to vendors of financial services that they recommend on their site to users, thus creating a conflict of interest that may not provide the best option to the users of their website.  HelloWallet intends to suggest the best financial service available, not the one that pays to advertise to its users.  For more on this, check out this NY Times article.

PopVox has a great idea behind it.  They basically want to make it easy for you, an American citizen, to state your position and opinion on a bill currently in Congress.  The upside is that this tool is specifically aimed to be a resource for citizens, elected officials, and congressional staffers, as opposed to using a generic communications tool like twitter, email, or placing a phone call that may or may not be transcribed into a documented stance on a bill. The downside, or rather the uphill fight for this startup, is convincing enough citizens to use the tool, so that Congress and our elected officials take notice and decide to reference the site for public opinion.  If PopVox only convinces a niche set of citizens to use their site, those voices are unlikely to be heard. Would something like this be better suited in the .gov domain space?  Read more about them here.

For a full list of presenters, demos, and website links, see below:

Demo 1 – Marci Harris, CEO, PopVox

Demo 2 – Lisa Morales-Hellebo, CEO, Shop Suey

Demo 3 – Phyllis Klein, Founder, Fab Lab DC

Demo 4 – Jennifer O’Keefe, VP – Product, Personal

Demo 5 – Geraldine Le Roux, Marketing Manager, HelloWallet

Demo 6 – Jessy Kate Schingler, Developer