Women’s Demo Night in New York was hosted by New York Tech Meetup, Change the Ratio and Bizspark.

By Shindy Chen (Contributor, New York Tech Women)

At the inaugural New York Tech Meetup Women’s Demo Night, the city’s xx-chromosomed powerhouses and tech scene up-and-comers were certainly in residence at Microsoft’s midtown offices.

Demos from eight women-founded startups with two “selected shorts” (two-minute demos, two audience questions) were made possible by NYTM, Change the Ratio and Microsoft BizSpark, kicking off the evening was Jessica Lawrence, NYTM’s Managing Director.

Here’s a summary:

  • honestlynow – An advice site where experts weigh in on user questions ranging from simple (a dude asking “Should I keep rocking my beard?”) to more serious (“Should parents spank?”) relationship queries. Experts can auto-tweet/FB-post answers and eventually feature profile-linked widgets. Though the average user is 37 and female, founder Tereza Nemessanyi said the site’s “men ask stuff they wouldn’t ask guy friends” and “love the idea of a female panel.”
  • paperlex – This is probably the third demo in 2 months I’ve seen founder Alison Anthoine present so props to her for effort. Paperlex helps businesses struggling to manage contracts. Companies use its secure platform to provide clients template contracts. Clients fill in form fields, digital sign and voila! For new users Paperlex is offering 1 free contract upload to be template-ized. They are working on an ability to amend contracts once templated.
  • the mission list – Launched only five days ago and already with 700 users, Morra Aarons-Nele assisted then-Senator Hillary Clinton in reaching 25,000 women on ivillage and is now trying to reach influential women online. The site is growing organically with social media influencers and is a “hybrid between commerce and non-profit.”
  • fathom – Launched last July and with a staff of four, Fathom is a travel resource and planning site for “people who know how to travel and just need to be pointed in the right direction.” The site suits travel styles such as “chill,” “food,” and “kids,” and combines inspiring stories with curated guides. Read Chef Daniel Boulud’s French vineyard recommendations, and shop products by destination/category/activity. Fathom is also collaborating with Kate Spade for upcoming curated city guides.
  • incline – A short-term developer training program offering free tuition and classes for dedicated students and employees. With classes sponsored by host companies, candidates must pass initial Codecademy classes and a vetting process to qualify for a free Ruby on Rails class with General Assembly. Students must demonstrate commitment with weekly evaluations. Founder and army brat Brittany Laughlin, believes this tool is a win-win for many military personnel requiring skills development and the corporations that will receive tax breaks for hiring them.
  • venuebook – An “Opentable-like platform for event venues,” the web app helps venues manage inquiries and bookings in the cloud. A powerful lead gen tool, venues can prepare and send clients customized and transparent proposals with a click. Those seeking event venues can apply filters by size, type and budget from the city’s hundreds of venues.
  • electnext – An “eharmony for elections,” this site is certainly timely and matches political candidates most compatible with a user’s personal political views. Start by answering 10 questions like “Should the U.S. be party to treaties such as the Kyoto protocol?” Have no fear; even if you’re out of the loop you can engage with resources and user arguments on hot political issues. Aside from November’s obvious candidates, the site also links to your senate by zip code.
  • loosecubes – Fresh off a $7.8M funding round, loosecubes enables those seeking workspaces to cowork with like-minded individuals at companies with extra desk space. For free! Host companies can choose the type of co-worker they seek (lawyers, designers, marketers). The site is working on social features, such as enabling workers to see with whom they’ll be coworking.

Selected Shorts:

  • hourly – A site matching workers with companies and vice versa. Worker profiles will soon a recommendation engine, and companies can review based on punctuality, appearance and quality of work.
  • readsocial – Adds conversations to content at a paragraph level. Founder Travis Alber believes “the best conversations happen contextually around the content itself.” A powerful tool for apps, instructor-led discussions, libraries and many more, the app launched 6 weeks ago, signing up 250 users.

The intimate, women-dominated setting was certainly more conducive to helpful and supportive panel and audience questions and suggestions. A nice contrast to various pitch and demo events where panel and audience members get snarky and downright hostile. Venuebook founder and New York Tech Women member Kelsey Recht said predominantly female tech events tend to have an “inexplicable, wonderfully different vibe.”

Lawrence said that the event exceeded her expectations in terms of the quality and level of demos and especially attendance figures, with 100 remaining on the wait list. She closed the evening by thanking attendees and stating, “Hopefully we won’t need to have these in the future and the NYTM will resemble something closer to 50/50.”

This post was originally posted at Shindy Chen’s blog.

About the guest blogger: Shindy Chen is a contributor writer for New York Tech Women. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill, she worked in financial services sales and management in Atlanta, Georgia. While finishing her MBA (which allowed her to live in Rio de Janeiro and Paris, and travel throughout China), she combined her passion for writing and knowledge of finance by working at CNBC. She relocated to London, UK, working at Bloomberg TV’s European headquarters. Follow her on Twitter at @shindychen.