The Future 5 of NYC Tech, Q3 2022
Sure, the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.
In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In has launched The Future 5 across 11 major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. Read our round-up of NYC’s rising startups from last quarter here.
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The hustle and bustle of Times Square may be the first scene that comes to mind when thinking of the City That Never Sleeps. However, the crowds in the heart of Manhattan aren’t the only thing moving at a rapid pace.
New York City has long been a key player in the nation’s tech industry. The metropolis is home to a wide range of corporations that have shaped sectors from fintech and education to e-commerce and healthcare. While these big players have remained a steady force in the city’s tech scene, emerging startups are changing the face of its future.
Built In spoke with five up-and-coming startups based in the Big Apple. With new solutions in eco-friendly fashion, social networking, Web3 and more, check out what these companies are developing.
Built In’s Future 5 Up-And-Coming NYC Startups, Q3 2022
- Gomorrah (Fashion and Sustainability)
- Hank (Social Media)
- Proof of Learn (Edtech)
- Skye (Professional Development)
- Voice (Web3)
Many ways exist for people to combat growing environmental concerns, and one such method involves the clothes we wear every day. Tons of textiles reach landfills each year, and some of it can take up to 200 years to decompose. Gomorrah produces ready-to-wear menswear and unisex clothing made with organic materials and non-toxic dyes.
“In many ways, women have been conditioned to expect cheap clothing that looks nice, even if you get three wears out of it,” Itzett Romero, co-founder of Gomorrah, told Built In. “However, men have generally gravitated towards quality and capsule wardrobes. We decided to focus on men when we realized that there were actually very few companies that talk about sustainability to [them].”
While its eco-friendly materials will keep more toxic materials out of landfills, the company is in the midst of testing how long its clothing will take to fully decompose.
As the company grows, Romero has aspirations that Gomorrah will set a new standard for the fashion industry by showing customers and retailers alike that it’s possible to produce clothing in a way that does not negatively impact the environment.
After seeing how most social apps that connect people to new friends and partners target younger users, Brian Park developed a solution purpose-built for an older crowd. Hank is a platform for users ages 55 and up to build new social relationships.
On the platform, users can connect with each other and arrange plans that allow them to stay active and socialize. According to Park, users can do everything from scheduling casual coffee chats to finding new friends to go skydiving with.
“[My parents] were frustrated by the sheer amount of time it took to find things to do, disappointed by the media’s outdated representation of older adult life and unsure how to translate digital connections on traditional social media platforms into real-life experiences,” Park, who serves as Hank’s CEO, told Built In. “They eventually found social outlets through church and alumni organizations, but the process was piecemeal and even those groups didn’t feel like quite enough for them.”
Hank officially launched in May, and by late June, the startup had raised $7 million in a seed funding round co-led by General Catalyst and Resolute Ventures. The company plans to use its recent funding to scale its reach beyond New York City and be available in all 50 states in the near future.
Developed by Care.com founder Sheila Marcelo, Proof of Learn is a Web3 education platform that aims to enhance the skills of coders and blockchain builders in under-resourced global communities.
“I’ve always had a passion for education and observing play-to-earn has inspired the concept of learn-and-earn,” Marcelo told Built In. “I saw how it could help meet a growing demand for accessible, high-quality education around the world. A common theme was emerging wherever I looked — there was a shortage of talent needed to quickly enter Web3 to actually help build the metaverse.”
Earlier this summer, Proof of Learn debuted its premier project Metacrafters — a learn-and-earn game that teaches developers to write smart contracts and build on the blockchain. While users learn the ropes and upskill their coding in both Web 2.0 and Web3, the game offers financial incentives. This financial model helps people, especially those in underserved communities, gain access to a skill set that can lead them to careers that pay more.
The venture-backed company is expanding its solution and building out its team across engineering, blockchain development and other departments.
Navigating a career change can be challenging, especially when life happens and various factors come into play. Hoping to aid job seekers everywhere, Jessica Wolf built Skye to ease the process of finding a career coach.
The platform’s origin story spawns from Wolf’s personal experience. She underwent a broken engagement that led her to consider a cross-country career shift. The challenging and emotionally tiring journey prompted Wolf to build something that would connect individuals in her position to qualified career counselors.
Skye’s technology works to personalize the career coaching experience by analyzing candidates’ backgrounds to then match them to coaches that align with their aspirations and needs. The platform has hundreds of users and roughly 100 coaches, including current and former executives from Google, Condé Nast and Lyft.
“A key reason that clients come to us is to find clarity in their career, whether they’re switching jobs, looking to transition or unsure what they’re doing next,” Wolf told Built In. “Our brand hopes to evoke feelings of limitless potential, as in Skye’s the limit.”
Bringing traditional artwork into the metaverse, Voice’s Web3 solution lets artists convert their photography, sculptures, animations, street art and performance art into NFTs and sell them on its platform.
The company’s CTO William Anderson initially joined as the vice president of engineering. He initiated Voice’s shift from a social media platform to a solution that combined his passions of art, collecting and software engineering.
“In April of 2021, the idea of unique digital collectibles was really trending, but what hadn’t taken off yet was finding ways to bring sincere artists — who were creating meaningful and thought-provoking art — into the NFT scene,” Anderson said. “The vision [of] Voice emerged as something quite different: a platform to uplift the artists themselves.”
While artists can independently join the Voice platform, the company also has residency programs that it uses to partner with organizations — such as the New York Academy of the Arts — and provide stipends to pay artists to create work under a certain theme.