NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- At the Web 2.0 Expo in New York City this week, executives from big sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pandora all spoke about industry trends. But the showcase of 27 startup tech companies stole the show.
One clear trend emerged among the new companies: A handful of startups focused on apps tied to highly localized information, be it about specific neighborhoods or even physical objects.
Here's a look at five of the most promising startups.
Roadify: Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Roadify is a social transportation company. Users text "road" to 95495, and they can get real-time information from other users about a full parking lot or a delayed subway. For example, a member can ask if a bus is running late; another user can respond that she just saw the bus six blocks away.
Roadify relies on social karma and discounts as an incentive for users to offer tips. When users post a message about an open parking spot or a bus location, they'll get points to use toward local freebies and deals. Roadify also gives easy access to official data sources like Google Transit. The service is available only in Brooklyn for now, but the company hopes to expand soon. Text-messaging rates apply, but the service itself is free.
NabeWise: NabeWise is a startup that aims to give users the ability to explore any neighborhood on such a local level that it feels as if they've already lived there -- even if they've only explored it online. The goal is to help members find neighborhoods that are perfect for them.
To do that, NabeWise lists real-time neighborhood rankings across 65 key attributes "that people really talk about" -- like trendiness, safety and even "hipster levels."
Users can also use the NabeFinder, a tech-driven tool that uses data and algorithms to display heat maps of the best nabes for their specific combo of preferences. It's currently in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle and Chicago but promises to expand "in the coming months."
Intersect: Intersect adds a social, storytelling aspect to neighborhoods. Users can upload photos and stories about anything in their lives, linking the posts to a specific date and location. Stories can be shared with the whole site or with specific groups.
Users can search by place or time to see if their stories "intersect" with anyone else's. People can post as many stories as they want on their timelines, and Intersect says it hopes the project will help foster community connections. The site's in beta testing now, but the company accepts email requests to become a tester.
Itizen: Like Intersect, this startup also revolves around stories. But Itizen focuses on the "life stories" of physical items like keepsakes and gifts -- perhaps how it was made, or why it's special. If people receive items with an Itizen "TrackIt Tag" (a two-dimensional QR barcode), they can scan it with their mobile app to read the object's story -- and add another tale to the webpage.
SoBi: The Social Bicycle System says it's the first public bike share system that attaches tracking and security systems to the bicycle itself, thanks to GPS and a secure lock. Anyone can join SoBi by downloading the smartphone app, which lets users to locate nearby bikes and unlock them with a PIN.
Users can also create profiles to share their experiences with other SoBi members and check if friends are nearby, as well as track calories burned and greenhouse gases saved by biking rather than driving. A beta test is coming to New York City in the fall.
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