Ten Tech Startups to Watch in 2012

Loosecubes' users can share office space in the company's headquarters in Dumbo, Brooklyn. The company, which connects people in need of space to those who have it, was one of Time Inc.'s top 10 NYC start-ups to watch in 2012. Photo courtesy of Loosecubes

Time Inc. has released its second annual list of what it says are the “Top 10 NYC Startups to Watch in 2012.” This year’s winner range from a company offering free online coding lessons to a website that allows users to create their own custom beauty products.

Time Inc. said they gathered nominations from top tech and business editors from all of their publications, and gradually narrowed down the field based on the companies’ innovation, how well they fill a consumer market and their potential for growth.

“It’s wonderful that Time Inc. is recognizing such great start-ups in the New York start-up industry,” said Nate Westheimer, executive director of New York Tech Meetup. “Each of the start-ups honored are incredibly innovative and doing what New York start-ups do best: turning their respective industries on their heads and creating a New York economy for the future.”

The start-ups will be recognized at a special event on Wednesday, May 16th, as part of Internet Week New York 2012. Here’s a guide to the winners and what they do, in layman’s terms.


Simply put, Adaptly helps companies create social media advertising campaigns across a variety of platforms. But whereas a traditional advertising agency might spend a great deal of money on focus groups and extensive market studies, Adaptly uses metrics to test thousands of combinations of words and images across social media platforms. Once the campaign is launched, Adaptly tracks data in real time and packages it for the client throughout the campaign. The company was founded in Philadelphia in 2010 but moved to New York in 2011. By the end of last year it had received $2.7 million in funding.

A bottle of eye balm from Truth Art Beauty, one of TimeInc.'s top 10 picks. The company allows users to select natural ingredients online, which they turn into beauty products. Photo courtesy of Truth Art Beauty.


Art.sy is supported by the Arts Genome Project, an open source project to map arts data in real time. Art.sy uses data to organize attributes about given works of art — everything from the easily qualified (colors palette, period, materials) to the less so (patterns, subjects). With all of this data organized and correlated, if a buyer likes a certain art object, Art.sy can quickly recommend other works they might be interested in. It lends greater efficiency to the commodification of the art market, sure. But there’s also something egalitarian about Art.sy, as it distributes power from the hands of a small group of art advisers for the most wealthy buyers into the hands of the entire Internet. The company is currently in private BETA mode, but will eventually be available to the public for free.

Code Academy

Code Academy was founded in 2011 to help people who want to make web applications, but don’t know from return null;.  The company offers hundreds of free interactive Javascript lessons on its website, geared toward different interest areas. Users are given awards when they complete lessons, which they can show off across social media networks.


As more and more companies want their employees to share data from their mobile devices in real time, there are concerns that information from the personal and corporate spheres can sometimes merge. Enterproid’s “Divide Platform” allows you to use your mobile device for work and personal purposes, without sacrificing privacy, by isolating different types of information.


Founded in New York City in 2011, Fab is a digital marketplace for design products. Each day, the site features new items from top designers from around the world, which mobile and web users can purchase. Using a flash sale model, users can sometimes find sales of up to 70 percent off on products. The company claims over 350,000 users have signed up since it launched, and that it has raised over $50 million in capital.

Fancy Hands

A company sure to appeal to many busy New Yorkers, Fancy Hands allows its members to “outsource” time-consuming daily tasks to the company. Potential services range from picking the best travel options to finding a dog walker to wedding planning.  If there’s any information the company needs to make a decision for you, a real person will contact you by phone with follow-up questions. Plans start at five requests for assistance for $25 per month, while $65 gets you 25 requests.


Loosecubes was founded to serve a creative economy that increasingly does more of its work in coffeeshops than cubicles. The idea is simple: use a web and mobile platform to connect people with open desks in their office spaces to people who do similar work, and need a desk. By sharing space, people can exchange ideas and collaborate on new projects. Users can customize their requirements. For instance, if you want a space with a view of the river and free wi-fi, Loosecubes will find it for you. In March, the company created a new mobile app that allows people to organize last minute coworking events and alert interested parties.


SideTour allows people to host and book creative events in their city. For example, right now some of the New York City listings include dinner with a banker-turned-monk at an East Village monastery, a doomsday preparation class with a firefighter, a food tour of the best dumpling houses and an intimate concert by a piano virtuoso. The company vets that all of the hosts are experts in their fields. Many of the events cost money, of which the company takes a 20 percent cut.


SideTour is a marketplace for unique events hosted by experts in given subjects. Youtube/SideTour


Stamped is a mobile application and new model for recommending restaurants, books, movies and more. As opposed to traditional rating systems from strangers (3 stars, etc.), Stamped users create a network of people they follow, whose recommendations they trust and which can include celebrities like chef Mario Batali and critic Peter Travers. When you join, you get 100 “stamps,” the currency for recommendations. Users can browse by category, and see all recommendations on a Google map.

Truth Art Beauty

The company uses a web platform to allow customers to create their own beauty products from scratch. Users start by selecting a blend of natural ingredients, then Truth Art Beauty blends and bottles them, and delivers a a packaged beauty product.

For more technology news, watch “MetroFocus: The Tech Economy,” airing on THIRTEEN on June 30 at 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and July 12 at 8:30 p.m.; on WLIW at 5:30 a.m. on June 30; on NJTV on July 1 at 5:30 a.m. and July 2 at 4:30 a.m.

* 20140530 – The Artsy link above incorrectly linked to art.sy. It has been corrected to artsy.net.

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