PivotDesk Plunges into the East Coast Market at New York Tech Meetup

5/8/13Follow @jpruth

Sometimes it feels like all technology roads lead to the New York Tech Meetup. Fresh from Boulder, CO, David Mandell and the team from PivotDesk took the stage at last night’s gathering here to introduce themselves to the New York tech community. PivotDesk helps startups find space they can rent by connecting them with other businesses that have excess room to share.

Mandell, CEO and co-founder of PivotDesk, demoed for an audience of 700 how his company tries to match up complementary businesses that can learn from each other in terms of ideas and culture rather than simply responding to demands for space. He spoke with me briefly after presenting and elaborated on how PivotDesk’s entry into the New York market last month is part of his overall expansion plan.

“You can’t just open your doors everywhere and expect to add value,” Mandell says. New York and San Francisco are obvious choices to introduce PivotDesk, he says, based on supply and demand. “The startup communities are thriving yet real estate barriers are huge so this is the perfect solution for both those markets,” he says.

Plenty of New York-area innovators also showed off their ideas at last night’s event.

Kathryn Minshew addresses the audience at New York Tech Meetup.

Kathryn Minshew, CEO and co-founder of The Muse, demoed how her company helps job seekers learn about businesses they may want to work for. IMRSV’s Jason Sosa—an alum of TechStars NYC—presented his company’s Cara face detection software, which turns most any camera into an analytics sensor for non-security purposes such as targeted marketing. Matt Singer shot, edited, and customized professional-looking video on the fly from a tablet with the Videolicious platform.

And then there was RoboKeg, a beer vending machine that automatically dispenses beverages at events to consumers wearing near-field-communication chipped wristbands (which they only receive after presenting proper identification and a form of payment of course). Some of audience members jokingly suggested the RoboKeg team find a way to collaborate with fellow presenter Gitdown, whose breathalyzer prevents hackers from writing code while drunk.

With a multitude of ideas being brewed in the New York market, space will continue to be at a premium in this city. Startup-heavy communities with constrained real estate availability, Mandell says, are the most likely territories for PivotDesk to establish operations. He says companies in New York, for example, tend to over-anticipate their needs, which leaves them eager to divvy up their space. The trouble is connecting with other startups that need room to set up shop. “Demand is great in New York because people don’t know where to turn,” he says.

PivotDesk is plotting its growth, Mandell says, in part by leveraging social media through its Spaced Out Cities Initiative, which lets innovation communities across country voice where his company should offer service next. “We’re seeing a lot of activity in places like Seattle, Portland, Boston, and L.A.,” he says. “As activity continues to bubble up, we’ll launch in those markets.”

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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