Revival: 10 Brooklyn startups making the East Side great again
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The Brooklyn Bridge (public domain image via Pixabay)

The legendary borough is seeing a cultural and economic revival led by developers, engineers, and reclaiming old space for new industry

When Hillary Clinton decided to station her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, it might not have been obvious that her immense digital team could draw on the resources available in New York City’s legendary borough. Though the Dodgers ducked out decades ago and Brooklyn has been officially assumed a portion of greater New York City for a while, there is a distinct ecosystem and jive developing there.

Powered with rejuvenated office spaces, redeemed warehouses at places like the old Navy shipyard, and seen as a residential alternative to Manhattan, the Nets aren’t the only ones taking part in Brooklyn’s economic revival. According to technical.ly, Brooklyn startups raised $67 million in the last four months of 2016. It could also be the hottest spot for the new 3D printing industry, which could be key to growing future American manufacturing.

Here are 10 startups making a name for themselves in the city and among the prospects to watch as their businesses thrive.

1. Nanotronics Imaging

One of the cooler startups coming out of the east side, Nanotronics raised $20.5 million in September according to a filing with the SEC with a whopping 43 investors taking part in the round. They have not been so public with that news, probably because they are seeking another $5 million for their technology. Their main product is the cost-efficient but “computational super-resolution” microscope known as nSpec. They brag the accompanying software includes advanced artificial intelligence capability.

2. Futurism

Yes, that Facebook page with all the cool videos is a media startup and it just raised $6,000,652 from a single investor in December according to a filing with the SEC.

3. CARMERA

Co-founded by CEO Ro Gupta and CTO Justin Day, these guys boast they have the world’s “only 4-dimensional map of urban streets, accessible to anyone.” Unfortunately, their definition of the fourth dimension isn’t time, but a fleet of vehicles with computer vision technology monitoring street traffic in real-time, consolidated into a single index of visual data that includes vehicular traffic, presumably foot traffic, and construction. They target urban planners as customers.

4. Buildsense.io

Buildsense’s machine learning software focuses on data from HVAC systems and promises it can work with existing sensors while also consolidating automation of multiple frameworks. Their tagline is they can save buildings between 10 and 20 percent on their energy bills.

HVAC calculator (Buildsense)

5. Citiesense

Incubated at the brand new URBAN-X accelerator, Citiesense builds multilayered maps that record property-changing trends in densely urban areas. It’s one of a handful of significant real estate data startups trying to take advantage of the massive American market. They’re marketing their software to local governments, property owners, and business districts.

6. WearWorks

Also out of URBAN-X, WearWorks is a haptics design company for touch-based communication tools catering to visually impaired wearers. It’s one of the better examples of new technologies built with the handicapped in mind that will have great implications for the abled community as well. Their made method of communication is vibration, which could allow the company to develop its own miniature language based on signals with different frequency or intensity of vibrations.

7. Makr

Founded by Carnegie Mellon grad and UX designer CEO Ellen Johnston, Makr is an app-based design platform for customizing all sorts of consumer products from T-shits to wedding invitations, stationery to business cards. They went live on iPad in November 2013 and iPhone 2014.

8. Voodoo Manufacturing

Operating a massive 128-desktop 3D-printing factory, they want to make designing and American manufacturing a thing once more by working from end to end with customers: from the first prototype all the way through the “first high-volume production run” of over 10,000 units.

They boast on Angelist of working with Universal, SyFy, Autodesk, Mattel, Viacom, and Intel. “We’ve unlocked an entirely new market in the world of manufacturing — affordable high-volume 3D printing.”

Founded by CPO Jonathan Schwartz and CFO Patrick Deem, they raised $1.4 million in seed funding in January 2017 from Y Combinator and KPCB Edge. They grabbed $250,000 from LA angel investor Josh Jones in May 2015.

9. Nautilus Labs

Based out of the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard, Nautilus will track maritime operations with a full analytics platform called Autologger, which is currently in beta. It would cover things like fuel efficiency in ships, cargo data, engine RPM, navigation, speed and the slip.

Co-Founder and CEO Anthony DiMare focuses his passion on fuel though, hoping his data company can get ships to reduce emissions: “It’s our obligation as humans to try to make a meaningful attempt at reversing the damage we have already caused. It must be an industry decision with a sound and logical business choice.”

10. ConsenSys

ConsenSys refers to itself as a “blockchain venture production studio building decentralized applications,” with a predictable focus on building tools for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency businesses. The plan is to launch businesses around each product they create.

They have over 100 employees, mainly in New York. As part of creating those different business ventures, a tandem part of their production business is seeking out acquisitions and investments for itself in different blockchain-related products.

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