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Providence Geeks – December 10, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, December 10th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

Providence Geeks:

achievery_logo-colorWe’ve got an awesome evening planned for the last Geek Dinner of 2014.

How do you know what people can really do? How can you prove your own skills even without a traditional diploma?

Over the past few years, digital credentials have emerged as a compelling solution to these questions. Digital credentials are evidence-backed, data-rich tokens of achievement that are transforming education and HR around the world.

Working alongside giants like Mozilla, Pearson Education, and the Gates Foundation, Providence-based Achievery has established itself as the most active company in defining and supporting the leading digital credential standard — Open Badges.

In addition to supporting the community effort, Achiopen-badges-logoevery has built its own robust web application and API for enabling organizations to create, award and track their own trusted digital credentials. Their users include Oxfam, Open edX and the Model United Nations.

On Wednesday the 10th, Co-Founders, CEO Damian Ewens and CTO Kerri Lemoie, will tell the Achievery story, demo their impressive platform, and give a sneak peek at where they are headed next.

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Providence Geeks – October 15, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, October 15th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

For the October Geek Dinner, we’ve got one word for you for: nanotech, baby!

nanosteel-logoActually — and better yet — it’s Nanosteel, a largely under-the-radar Providence-based startup that’s leading the charge to create a new generation of steel, based on nano-structures. The 30-person team has raised $50+ million to date — most recently from GM Ventures — to fuel their mission.

Nanosteel’s products are significantly stronger than traditional steel. So for example, using Nanosteel, an automotive manufacturer can achieve the same strength with thinner gauges. This means less weight and ultimately, better fuel economy. Awesome, right? It gets even better though: due to Nanosteel’s hardness and wear-resistance, its powdered-form is proving to be an ideal material for additive manufacturing (think industrial-strength 3d printing).

Wednesday the 15th, Nanosteel CEO David Paratore will tell the Nanosteel story, demo their products, and give a sneak peek at where this ambitious startup is headed next.

See you there! You won’t want to miss this.


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Providence Geeks – September 17, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, September 17th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

Welcome back, everyone! Hope you had an awesome August. Providence Geeks goes back to school next week with an excellent September presenter.

What percent of live events sell out? 50%? 20%? Nope… try 2%.

crowdsurfFounded in 2013 by two recent Brown grads, Providence-based Crowdsurf aims to remedy this situation using a combination of geographic and social audience info. Armed with these insights, Crowdsurf’s customers — event venues and promoters — have a much better sense of which acts to book, and how to most effectively promote them.

big-ticketAs the first stage of their rollout this summer, Crowdsurf launched Big Ticket, a mobile app that offers users the chance to reap major discounts on show tickets. The app — currently being piloted in RI, MA, CT and OR — has already enabled Crowdsurf to build one of the largest databases of audience info in the Northeast.

On Wednesday, Co-founders CEO Alex Oberg and CTO Evan Altman will tell the Crowdsurf story, demo their impressive platform, and give a sneak peek at where they’re headed next.

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Providence Geeks – July 16, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, July 16th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

voltserverHey! Wednesday is the last Geek Dinner of the summer! (Like all self-respecting RI’ers, we take August off.)

Over the past couple of years, Providence Geeks has been fortunate to feature a number of awesome RI startups at the intersection of electric power and info tech.

On Wednesday, we’ll feature perhaps the most ambitious one yet: VoltServer. Using its patented Packet Energy Transfer (PET) technology, this East Greenwich-based startup has figured out how to no-less-than digitize electricity…

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Providence Geeks – June 18, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, June 18th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

copter

It was inevitable. On Wednesday the 18th, the Drones invade
Providence Geeks…

Providence-based startup Xact Maps specializes in high-fidelity aerial mapping solutions using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. This is no child’s play — this is the hardcore stuff. Need to map a major bridge in detail? Survey a mountain? Collect data on an “unreachable” spot? Create a 3d copy of downtown for your new driving game? Xact Maps has your back.

Xact Maps’ solutions combine their own custom high-performance aircraft and proprietary software with an array of high-end sensor technology, including LIDAR, Photogrametry, Photo Mosaic, Multi Spectral imaging, and IR imaging. The results speak for themselves.

On the 18th, Xact Maps Founders Andy Trench and Kyla Coburn will tell the Xact Maps story, demo their technology (including a look at their new monster octocopter), and give a sneak peek at where they’re headed next.

You won’t want to miss this — seriously, you won’t. See you there!

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Providence Geeks – May 21, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, May 21st, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

The May Geek Dinner hits Wednesday the 21st, and will feature one of the Providence startup scene’s best kept secrets: Utilidata.

Having recently raised $20M from some world’s sharpest energy investors, Utilidata is ramping up its quest to drive electric energy efficiency through info tech.

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Providence Geeks – April 16, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, April 16, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

edt-logoProvidence-based EdTrips is helping our nation’s teachers take their classes on better field trips. Their web-based platform empowers teachers to find better (curriculum-aligned) trips, collect permission forms & payments, and facilitate all trip-related communication.

On Wednesday the 16th, the Co-Founders, CEO Jakob Garrow and COO Laura Wallendal, will tell their startup’s story, demo their powerful service, and give us a sneak peek at where they’re headed next.

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Providence Geeks – March 19, 2014

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, March 19th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

Coming off of a huge February Geek Dinner featuring Teespring, we’re upping the ante in March with another Providence breakout success.

g-form_logo-200From their headquarters in the Jewelry District, G-Form has been shaking up one industry after another with their Reactive Protection TechnologyTM — a proprietary composite, that on impact, instantly absorbs over 90% of the energy. The result is state-of-the-art protection in a lightweight, flexible form.

G-Form first went after the smartphone and tablet case market. You may remember the YouTube video (4 million+ views and counting!) of them dropping a iPad from low orbit — unscathed.

skate-product-page-02From there, G-Form has successfully expanded into skateboarding, biking and soccer. Best of all, it feels like they’re just getting started…

At the March Geek Dinner, Co-founder and Executive Chairman Danny Warshay will tell the G-Form story, demo its technology and products, and give a sneak peek at what markets they’ll be conquering next.

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Providence Geeks – February 19, 2013

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, February 19, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

teespringFor the February Geek Dinner, we’ve got a doozy lined up for you.

Teespring was born in 2012 of an effort by two Brown students to save a local dive bar — Fish Co, formerly of Fox Point.

The bar didn’t make it, but Teespring has exploded (in the good way).

Today Teespring is the leading crowdfunding platform for custom apparel, with about 70 employees in Providence currently and another 20 in San Francisco. In December, Teespring raised $20 million from arguably the world’s hottest venture capital firm, Silicon Valley-based Andreessen Horowitz.

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2014 State of the City Address

Mayor Angel Taveras delivered his final State of the City Address last night at City Hall:


angel-twitter

Image from Angel Taveras Twitter feed


Working and Investing in Providence

Mayor Angel Taveras – 2014 State of the City Address
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

(as prepared for delivery)

Mr. President, honorable members of the Providence City Council, distinguished guests, and fellow residents of our great Capital City –

In April, I had the pleasure to be present for the Omni Group’s purchase of the C.J. Fox factory. Anyone who drives on Route 95 South through our city knows the Omni Group has been hard at work renovating the complex at the entrance to historic Federal Hill.

The Omni Group is a homegrown company, headquartered in Providence. Like most businesses, they went through some tough times beginning in 2008. Financing their project became a major challenge when Wall Street imploded and the economy went into a tailspin.

But the Omni Group made it through the hard times, and now they are moving forward and investing $5 million to convert the old factory complex into office space. Bill DiStefano, Omni’s President and CEO, told me they decided to expand their business again because they believe Providence is heading in the right direction.

I tell you this story because it speaks to the overall state of our city. The state of our city is improving.

We’ve been through the hard times of the Great Recession. But we never lost hope. And we never stopped believing that better days were ahead. We are working hard and making investments that will propel Providence into a future of greater economic strength and prosperity.

I want to talk to you tonight about all we’ve done to move Providence forward in the past year. And then I want to talk to you about what we will do in the coming months.

Continue Reading →

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News & Notes

boston-public-market

Image from Boston Public Market Facebook page

The Boston Globe: Boston public food market set for construction

Executives with the nonprofit organization behind the market said some vendors will begin selling products in an outdoor plaza along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway this spring. Meanwhile, construction will proceed next door on a facility scheduled to open in early 2015.

Once completed, the indoor market will host about 40 vendors selling a wide array of local products, including fish, cheese, meats, produce, flowers, and specialty items. It is designed to function like a daily farmer’s market. But vendors will also offer prepared foods and dry goods such as books, candles, and cooking utensils.

A draft layout also includes space for a demonstration kitchen, where chefs could host cooking classes, as well as a 3,000-square-foot restaurant facing the greenway. Executives with the market are beginning to look for restaurateurs interested in the space.


The Boston Globe: Governor Patrick’s down payments on a transit legacy

Governor Deval Patrick isn’t hopping the Red Line to get to work, but that hasn’t stopped the comparisons to Michael Dukakis.

The Duke famously took the Green Line when he was governor, and Patrick’s latest transportation plan, released last week, revealed an infusion of money into rail and transit that represents the biggest commitment since the Dukakis days.

Over five years, Patrick proposes to devote more than 40 percent, or about $6.6 billion, of his transportation capital plan to the MBTA, rail, and other forms of mass transit.

Continue Reading →

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Providence Geeks and Food Drive – December 11, 2013

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, December 11th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

modibotsJust in time for the Holidays, the December Geek Dinner will feature the ultimate stocking stuffer: Modibots.

Providence-based toy designer Wayne Losey’s resume reads like a who’s who of action figures: Stars Wars, GI Joe, Jurassic Park, Teenage Ninja Turtles, and on and on. But when he left Hasbro, he decided that rather than working on more “one-off” action figures, he wanted to create an action figure platform — a system of interlocking components that could be remixed and extended by anyone. Think action figures meets Lego meets 3d printing.

The result is Modibot, and it’s stunning.

At Wednesday’s Geek Dinner, Wayne will tell the Modibot story, talk about how his system blurs the line between analog and digital, and give us a sneak peek at where the Modibot army is headed next.

Also at next week’s Geek Dinner, we’ll have the annual Geeks for Good Food Drive. We will be collecting non-perishable food items and donations at the meeting, and donating them to the Rhode Island Food Bank. Learn more about the best items to donate.

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Providence Launches ‘Open Meetings Portal’

The City of Providence [on Wednesday] launched its Open Meetings Portal – a single, public access point for public meeting information.

The site fulfills a recommendation of a special commission established to find ways the City can use technology to engage residents, and is the result of several months of collaboration between the City Clerk, City Council, and the administration of Mayor Angel Taveras.

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Providence Geeks – November 13, 2013

Providence Geeks Providence Geeks
Wednesday, November 13th, 5:30 – 8pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

This month’s Geek Dinner features an international story (3 continents and counting)!

locusplayEarly this year, two co-founders of Bangalore-based LocusPlay moved halfway around the world to participate in Betaspring’s Winter 2013 session. In those 3 short months, CEO Rahul Rajguru and CMO Chirag Bodar came to like Providence so much that they decided to stay on and relocate LocusPlay’s headquarters here.

It was a smart decision. Over the past half a year, the fast-growing startup both tripled its business and raised money from Providence and Boston angels.

LocusPlay provides a mobile and cloud based gaming platform that enables small and mid-size lottery operators to transform their traditional paper-based lotteries into modern digital/online lotteries. To date, LocusPlay has helped lotteries in the Carribean and Africa, with Asia soon to follow.

On Wednesday, Rahul and Chirag will tell the LocusPlay story, demo the impressive platform, and talk about where they’re headed next.

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News & Notes

Bixi

Montreal’s bike share system, Bixi. Photo (cc) arcsi

CBC: Bixi to continue despite financial problems

A member of Montreal’s city executive committee says he cannot guarantee the municipal administration will put more money into Bixi if it requires financial assistance.

The bike-sharing program has struggled to make ends meet since it first hit Montreal streets in 2008.

Jean-François Lisée, the provincial minister responsible for Montreal, said Bixi was a valuable service and deserved to be helped out. He said the Quebec government is working on a $5-million bridge loan for the program.

See also: The Atlantic Cities: In Paris, Thefts and Vandalism Could Force Bike-Share to Shrink


The Walking Bostonian: Car-free housing in Boston is natural

I feel strange explaining the concept of a market to someone as old as Tom Keane. The idea that residents could rent or purchase a parking space in a nearby garage should not be that difficult to grasp, and it’s not much different from the many other transactions which take place between residents and local businesses. For example, most apartment buildings are not constructed with grocery store requirements. However, most people seem to understand that when a resident wants a bottle of milk, they can walk down to a nearby store and buy one. We do not need to build “minimum grocery store requirements” into the zoning code because those products are handled perfectly well by normally operating markets. And parking spaces are no different. They are just one type of land use, among many, that can be purchased or leased on the real estate market.

Continue Reading →

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Providence Geeks – September 25, 2013

Wednesday, September 25th, 5:30pm– 8:00pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

stem-LogoIn the spirit of back-to-school, the September Geek Dinner will feature local EdTech startup STEM2O.

Providence-based STEM2O builds simple but powerful, standards-aligned simulation authoring tools that help teachers re-kindle students’ interest in math and science. With STEM2O, teachers can easily build interactive simulations that demonstrate complex science and math concepts like figuring out how a pendulum would swing on Mars, or finding the liquid density required to make iron float.

On Wednesday Co-Founder & CEO Rushikesh Bandekar will tell the STEM2O story and give a sneak peek at their impressive simulation platform.

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News & Notes

Walking in the ditch

Photo (cc) Transportation for America

Greater Greater Washington: When we lost the War on Pedestrians

Every new bike lane, speed camera, or change in parking requirements becomes an attack in what organizations like AAA decry as a “War on Cars.” But in the 1920s, there was a different war over our streets. And pedestrians lost.


Cincinnati Business Courier: City tosses out residential parking requirements

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory (D) has approved an amendment to the city’s zoning code that eliminates parking requirements for many residential developments and substantially reduces them for others.

Under the new regulations, any residential development with 20 or fewer housing units would not have to provide any parking, while those with more than 20 units would have to provide 0.75 spaces per housing unit above 20. That means a development with 32 housing units would need to provide nine parking spaces.

“The goal of the ordinance is to encourage development in the urban core by permitting developers to determine their own parking needs for downtown developments,” explained Simpson, who is vice chair of council’s Livable Communities Committee. “I firmly believe that the market will work to meet parking demands better than government minimum parking requirements.”

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Providence Geeks – July 17, 2013

Wednesday, July 17th, 5:30pm– 8:00pm
AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
FREE (buy your own food and drink – it’s cheap)
RSVP at Facebook

Join Providence Geeks Wednesday the 17th for the last Geek Dinner of the summer (like all other RI’ers, Providence Geeks take August off).

shuttercalShutterCal is creating waves in the family photo market. They’ve created THE place for photo-a-day projects, supplying inspiration and making this positive daily habit more accessible to everyone. The Providence-based startup provides its users — everyone from new parents to world travelers — with a beautiful interactive calendar and mobile tools for posting their favorite photo from each day. Shuttercal tops it off with their gorgeous print services — everything from postcards to gallery prints, but most prominently their unique ShoeBox and monthly print service.

On Wednesday, Co-Founder and CEO Scott Harris will tell the ShutterCal story, demonstrate their service, and give a sneak peek of where they’re headed next.

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