5 Standout Startups From Tech Day

Set out on Pier 94 in Manhattan, Tech Day claims to be the largest startup event in the United States. The April 21 event boasted over 550 startups and 30,000 attendees, including early adopters, investors, job seekers and tech enthusiasts like me trying to find the next big thing.

While some of the startups are at nascent stages, these five companies will get advertisers excited about what is to come.


Tribute enables consumers to create a custom video montage and send it as a gift for any special occasion – weddings, birthdays, graduations. The video can be delivered digitally or even as a beautiful, physical card with a bamboo USB drive. While the core focus of the company is creating amazing video reels of families and friends, the brand opportunities are quite powerful. Possibilities include Kobe Bryant fans paying tribute to "The Mamba" on Nike's home page or perhaps P&G's Mom appreciation "Thank You" campaign, capitalizing on this powerful user-generated content.  



The Take:

Want Tony Stark’s shades? How about Cookie Lyons’ signature looks in Fox’s “Empire”? Using Shazam-like technology, The Take identifies and allows you to purchase products from your favorite movies and TV shows. You can also discover where your favorite scenes are filmed. Did you know the bar Jess and her crew from “New Girl” hang out in is actually The Griffin Bar in Los Angeles?

The Take delivers deeper engagement to a passionate audience and presents a measurable opportunity for brands to extend entertainment into merchandising deals. This is native advertising at its highest potential.


Phylosophy wants to bridge the physical and digital reading experience and has created a clever way to do so with OneBook, a blank physical book on which any digital content can be superimposed via augmented reality.

With Microsoft’s HoloLens and Google-backed Magic Leap gaining momentum, marketers should be paying attention to AR software that will deliver new ways to engage with consumers.

Developed by a superstar team out of Cornell Tech, OneBook allows digital books to come alive on pages you touch and, of course, presents unique opportunities for brands to integrate their message into these stories. Maybe the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios will come to life on the pages as you read about Harry’s quidditch battles.


PennyOwl is a mobile savings platform for families allowing parents to gift their children a virtual allowance they can “save” or “spend.” Kids can watch the money pile up as they withstand the urge to buy the latest xBox game and feel the pride of building their PennyOwl savings to earn their next iPhone or brand new bike. This provides amazing opportunities for financial institutions to help kids become financially responsible, while communicating with parents about their child’s college savings. There are also opportunities for CPG, retail, and toy advertisers can also incentivize families while promoting still their products.

Social High:

Ron Slater from “Dazed and Confused” would be looking for the “Like” button somewhere, as Social High is basically Facebook for cannabis fans. The social site allows bud connoisseurs to discover, share, and connect with fellow marijuana enthusiasts and weed-friendly events.

As Leafly connects consumers to dispensaries, Social High brings people together to indulge in their passion for pot. As this once-taboo industry becomes more mainstream, brands are becoming more comfortable with cannabis – snack advertisers and fashion brands are likely to be early adopters.  

Tech Day attracted lines several blocks long and had a vast array of startups unrelated to the ad world. But within the chaos, there were a few interesting early stage opportunities that could help the right brands cut through the noise to create a unique partnership.
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