By Bailey Beckett
Silicon Valley has long been the breeding ground for new tech, especially apps, but New York is increasingly seen as an essential laboratory to test new platforms. From Glam Squad, which connects users to beauty treatments on-the-go, to Via, the fast-growing ride-sharing choice, the Big Apple has born some of the biggest names on your Smartphone.
“New York is the most important market but hasn’t traditionally been an incubator for new tech. It’s a short runway, you need to take lift instantly,” said Beth Feldman, a prominent New York media executive who has worked with brands like Pinterest. “But there’s no shortage of talent and money, and the audience is near captive. That’s why you’re seeing more come out of the city.”
Seizing on those opportunities is a new app called Romio, which combines category-specific services like babysitting, dog-walking, fitness training and handyman into one easy-to-use platform. Developed by tech entrepreneur Tarik Sansal, the app launched in March and already offers 1,200 unique services from a bench of 3,500 pre-qualified providers.
“We have distinguished more than 100 locally and nationally known experts in their field to recommend only the best,” said Sansal. “You cannot get listed as a service provider unless you’ve been personally invited. It’s the anti-Craigslist.”
Among its stable of experts are parenting authorities Lyss Stern and Cherie Corso, as well as prominent veterinarian Lisa Lippman and yoga guru Kristen McGee. Thanks to them, users can find an extensive collection of service providers, including Anna Wintour’s dog groomer Laverne Campbell. “We like to say we’re bringing trust back online,” Sansal says. “We’ve done the homework for you, so you don’t need to worry about who’s watching your kids or walking the dog.”
Building its repertoire of talent took more than a year and a lot of lobbying. “As experts, we all have national profiles and lending that credibility to an untested app takes a lot of convincing,” said Corso. “But they did it smartly: quality begets quantity. There are some great services on Romio, and you can book and pay from your phone.”
For more information on Romio, visit romio.com.
While Romio may give you peace of mind, a new app for women provides peace in general. Womaze, also available on Apple and Android devices, is a national platform that features female-centric channels about body image, career, relationships, self-care, spirituality, mental health, sexuality and more—perfect outlets for New Yorkers dealing with the hustle and bustle of the city.
Additionally, subscribers can find content geared toward their specific moods, many of which are curated by thought leaders, entrepreneurs and celebrities like self-help eminence Nitika Chopra and handbag designer Rebecca Minkoff. Founded by Corin Wiser and her three daughters, Becca (21), Leah (21) and Hannah (17), the Womaze idea arose out of the Wisers’ sharing videos, articles, and quotes in their morning group chat, which they sent to friends. Before long, the exchanges went viral, and the family had a business.
“New Yorkers are very busy people,” explains Becca. “To have a place to escape all the noise of the web (and the world) and mindfully scroll through content that leaves you feeling better can be life-changing. Especially in an emotionally, socially and politically charged climate. “Movements like #MeToo and Times Up have shown that women are more fired up than ever,” said Becca. “More and more women are sharing their stories, raising their voices, and—in turn—creating social change. We built our platform for women to feel supported, inspired, and empowered so we can go out and build our world.”
For more information on Womaze, visit womaze.com.