Top Fifteen Tech Companies

For years, manufacturing jobs have been leaving the city, and in many cases those grand spaces of a forgotten industrial age were replaced by luxury housing. For over a decade, that was the prediction for Long Island City, and while there has been considerable residential development, it has never completed dominated the neighborhood. Now, a new industry is finding a use for the neighborhood’s available space and taking advantage of its close proximity to Manhattan.  A mix of established tech companies and innovative startups are finding a home in Queens, so this issue The It’s List ranks the Top 15 Tech Companies.

#15 World Now
27-01 Queens Plaza North   Suite 502   Long Island City
worldnow.com

Eve rything these da ys is going web-based and mobile, and that includes the once-thought irreplaceable television set. But for tel evision stations that have for so long focused on presenting their product to you in the comfort of your own home, taking the next step and reaching you on the internet and mobile devices can be a daunting challenge. That’s where Long Island City-based Worldnow comes in, helping primarily local television news outlets brand themselves on the latest cutting-edge platforms, transforming them from a half-hour newscast three times a day to the go-to place for breaking news.

 

#14 Skift
skift.com
Long Island City resident Rafat Ali got the idea for Skift after he sold his small media venture – paidContent – and decided to travel the world. Skift is a one-stop “travel intelligence” company that offers news, insight, data tools and services to both the travel industry – which has grown into a $2 trillion a year industry – and traveling community. Skift offers information regarding every aspect of travel, from comparing hotels and airlines to news about airports and hotels. Users can also sign up to receive daily email alerts and analysis. Keep an eye on Skift; at a recent Queens Tech Meetup Ali promised that the first incarnation of the company as a news and info site is just the beginning of Skift.

#13 Darren Wan & Peter Lada
Easy Pairings
easypairings.com
Easy Pairings was created by Darren Wan and Peter Lada. As a restaurateur, Darren experienced firsthand how tedious the hiring process can be, and wanted a better way to find the right staff. As a technologist, Peter has a passion for solving everyday problems with well-designed, efficient solutions.
Thus, Easy Pairings was born. Easy Pairings is a recruitment company specializing in improving the hiring and job search process for restaurant front-of-house positions. Hiring restaurants receive a list of qualified candidates to interview, while jobseekers get specific job postings that fit their experience. The application process is simple, in the end everybody is happy. Just don’t forget to tip the wait staff.

#12 Gregory Gundersen
Q11
During the chaos caused by Hurricane Sandy, Gregory Gundersen of Astoria noticed that volunteer organizations had too much to handle. It all began when Gundersen’s brother went to sign up to volunteer and was turned away because the location was overrun with help. This led to the creation of Q11, which is an SMS-based platform that sends text messages directly to a user’s cell phone. Q11 allows users to text in a location to a specific number, and in turn receive information on what organizations in their area need volunteers. Users can also check-in and communicate with a real-time list of volunteers at a specific location. The benefit, Gundersen explained, is that in times of emergencies, when Wi-Fi is down, all a user needs to access the information is a cell phone signal. “The idea is that it works in any environment,” he said. Q11 has already won awards at NYTechResponds and AngleHack, and will soon be pitching their product to a major venture capital company in the city.

#11 William Etundi, Jr.
See Me
25-25 44th Drive   Long Island City
see.me
William Etundi, Jr., CEO and founder of See.me, started his LIC technology and art company in 2008 to provide a digital platform for artists to share their work with fellow artists and enthusiasts, with opportunities to show in art exhibitions and win grant money and awards. “We’re building a visual social network for fashion designers, where they can build a visual profile and they can view them all from their mobile devices,” Etundi said. “People who have profiles in the system can see their work anywhere.” The company is currently holding a competition, awarding the artist with the best profile $125,000 in grant money and the opportunity to a have a video about their work posted on a digital billboard in Times Square.

#10 Veronica Chan
Long Island City resident Veronica Chan has been involved in many tech startups, including Gojee.com and food52.com, but one thing that they have all had in common is they all have a focus on the culinary. A former food marketer, Chan is interested in exploring the ways that technology and the food industry come together. She recently co-hosted Hack/Meat, the first-ever “meat hackathon” in New York. Over the course of a weekend “steakholders” – or those who are involved in the meat industry – worked with technologists to rapidly prototype innovative solutions to industry issues posed by those in agriculture. Some of the ideas included an app that plugged into a scale to keep track of meat production and another that connected small meat farms with their customers. “So often, people come up with really creative apps, but they don’t actually solve any sort of problem,” Chan told It’s Queens. Chan is currently working on an idea for a project that would connect aspiring chefs and restaurateurs with diners, who would get an intimate dinner in exchange for their feedback on a proposed menu. “We’ll see if I can get that off the ground early next year,” said Chan. “I’ve got a lot on my plate!”

#9 Tietz-Baccon
47-17 5th Street   Long Island City
tietz-baccon.com
At Tietz-Baccon, Andrew Baccon and his team bridge the gap between the digital and physical, with an array of large metal cutting machines and imaging programs. Started in 2007, this LIC tech company utilizes these tools to turn concepts and forms, provided by artists and design firms, and turn them into mechanical parts along with a variety of physical elements. “We are architects by trade,” Baccon said. “We produce physical products, but it all has to do with the root in three-dimensional imaging.” Baccon received his masters from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design before setting up shop in Long Island City with his counterpart, Eric Tietz. “We take concepts and forms that designers have created and turn them into mechanical parts,” he said. One of their most recent projects can be seen at the Barclays Center, where they worked with the designers from SHoP Architects and Dupont Corian to create the unique three-dimensional wall at the arena’s VIP entrance.

#8 Audrey Tan
waggit.com
Audrey Tan got the idea for Waggit one Thanksgiving when a friend couldn’t find anyone to watch her cat while she was out of town. Inspiration struck, and Tan quit her job and started waggit.com, a website where pet owners can go and find reliable and trustworthy people willing to watch their dogs. But it’s more than just a convenient place to find a dogsitter, Tan tries to foster a sense of community by hosting meetups and get-togethers, all pet friendly of course. As it says at waggit.com, “Dogs make people happy, so lets come together and make them happy.”

#7 OK Focus
11-11 44th Road, #201   Long Island City
okfoc.us
Jonathan Vingiano, Jules LaPlace and Ryder Ripps are OK Focus, a tech company in Long Island City that has been making web apps, iOs apps and thinking outside of the box since their start-up took off in October of 2011. Most recently the company has been working on an iPad drawing app and something called “Where’s the Pixel,” an iOs game where you’re asked to find as many pixel’s on your iPhone or iPad screen, ultimately winning points. Today it is their most popular app. “I think we want to be able to create experiences for the internet that make people better understand living with all of these devices,” Vingiano explained. “We approach making these things from a very human place which can sometimes be rare, especially in software development.” Another recent development out of the OK Focus studios is “Overlayer,” an easy way to combine layers by adding images over another image or object. “With this we can see potential of partnering with brands like Adidas,” he added, showing how the app can easily add a photo taken from a computer’s webcam and combine it with a preset image, such as a t-shirt or a digital icon.

#6 Storybox
storybox.it
“A picture speaks a thousand words…but many pictures together express something even more,” is how the team over at Storybox starts off their description of their company, but it’s so much more than a place to store photos. Sure, at it’s heart, Storybox is a tool that allows users to make collages, but it also allows them to create a notebook of graphic ideas, embed their favorite social feeds, and so much more to create a modern-day digital scrapbook of their lives. Based in Long Island City, Storybox was founded by Angela Min, and now includes a team of four people, including Wes Chow, Radhika Chopra, and Liz Shim. Join today and begin sharing your own creations with friends and family to inspire them, or even just use them for your own inspiration.

#5 Krate
44-02 23rd Street   Suite 516   Long Island City
kratedesign.com
Jaime Kennard has owned and operated Krate, a digital technology and design firm in Queens since 2004. Today, he is currently responsible for developing a variety of apps for the iPhone, iPad and other mobile devices. “We have a graphic design background, but that is only part of what we do,” Kennard said. “If we don’t have the technology or capability for an in-house team, we want to partner with a technology company that is also design savvy.” When Kennard’s team of six, young, tech-savvy developers and designers can’t do the project on their own, they don’t hesitate partnering with other studios and companies. “That tends to bring interesting projects our way. I think that is also partially why we’re sort of an integrated multi-disciplinary shop here,” he said. “We don’t just do technology and we don’t just do design. We like that intersection and we sort of feel like one can’t really live without the other.”

#4 Shapeways
35-18 37th St.   Second Floor   Long Island City
Shapeways.com
If you have an idea for a product, chances are that Shapeways can make it come to life. Shapeways is the world’s leader in 3-D printing, and the company recently moved into a 25,000-square-foot factory in Long Island City that can print as many as 5 million products a year. How does it work? A designer designs an object – a ring, a vase, a funky lamp – and uploads their idea to the Shapeways website. Shapeways takes it, and brings the object to life, turning your average amateur designer into a professional manufacturer. It’s undoubtedly the future of manufacturing, and Shapeways is a leader in the industry, which is why the city chose it to be a major partner in its “New York’s Next Top Makers” competition, which promotes 3-D printing and innovation in New York City.

#3 Digital Natives Group
5-22 46th Avenue   Third Floor   Long Island City
nativesgroup.com
If you have an idea for a product, chances are that Shapeways can make it come to life. Shapeways is the world’s leader in 3-D printing, and the company recently moved into a 25,000-square-foot factory in Long Island City that can print as many as 5 million products a year. How does it work? A designer designs an object – a ring, a vase, a funky lamp – and uploads their idea to the Shapeways website. Shapeways takes it, and brings the object to life, turning your average amateur designer into a professional manufacturer. It’s undoubtedly the future of manufacturing, and Shapeways is a leader in the industry, which is why the city chose it to be a major partner in its “New York’s Next Top Makers” competition, which promotes 3-D printing and innovation in New York City.

#2 Chet Kanojia
Aereo
37-18 Northern Boulevard
Long Island City
aereo.com
Founded by Benjamin Guttman in 2011, Digital Natives is bringing the academic and social life of the current educational system into the 21st Century. Long gone are the days of kids bringing home notes with important information and parents combing through emails or calling the office to answer the simple question, “what’s happening at school today?” Rather than trying to get students, parents and administrators to connect on a variety of different social network platforms, Digital Natives’ Whisper app brings all of the news and information to one centralized location, including mobile access to district information, resources, and contacts. Meanwhile, Ringo is a social network for the student body, where each school club and organization gets their own website and can easily communicate with other groups in their own school or throughout an entire district. Joining Guttman at Digital Natives is Chief Operating Officer Vladimir Lackovic, who met Guttman when they were still students at Baruch (which wasn’t that long ago!), as well as Chief Marketing Officer Jonathan Jacobs and Chief Technology Officer John Botte. Together, they’re building 21st century school communities.

#1 Songza
526 46th Avenue   2nd Floor   Long Island City
songza.com
Ever scrolled aimlessly through your iPod or stared blankly at the search box on Spotify, thinking to yourself, “What am I in the mood to listen to?” Well, you’ll never have that problem again thanks to Songza. Songza asks you to choose an activity, a time of day or a mood, and then it provides you with an expertly curated playlist of music to match the situation. For example, when you first visit the site you might see the prompt “It’s Friday Late Morning, Play Music for…” and then you’ll be offered choices like “Doing Housework,” “Sipping Gourmet Coffee” or “Working (With Lyrics),” depending on what you’re currently doing. Songza also lets you choose by genre, but also offers a comprehensive range of activities, moods, and eras, such as “Seductive,” “80s Rock” or “Pool Party” – all of which means you’ll never have to worry about someone hijacking the music at your special event and killing the mood. Songza rose from the ashes of Amie Street, an indie online music store and social networking site that was sold to Amazon in 2010. Shortly after that, co-founders – CEO Elias Roman, COO Peter Asbill, CPO Elliott Breece, and CCO Eric Davich – refocused their efforts on Songza. On June 12, 2012, Songza was listed as the top free app on iTunes for the iPad and the number two free app for the iPhone, and has since expanded to Android. And as more and more people turn to their phone as their primary device for listening to music, Songza is poised to be the source they turn to for their listening pleasure.

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Posted by on Jan 25 2013. Filed under It's List. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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