We were pleasantly surprised to see that we were nominated for The Crunchies under the category "Best Bootstrapped Start Up". Click on the badge below to vote for us!
We are up against some very cool companies who have done some impressive work with limited resources. Best of luck to all the nominees.
We would like to thank Techcrunch, GigaOm, VentureBeat and Read/WriteWeb for nominating us and for hosting the awards.
Friday, December 28, 2007
We were pleasantly surprised to see that we were nominated for The Crunchies under the category "Best Bootstrapped Start Up". Click on the badge below to vote for us!
Posted by Danny at 3:27 PM
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The movie Gone Baby Gone begins with a voice over by Casey Affleck where he talks about community; the block you grow up on, the people who live there and the community it builds. It is an ideal that oftentimes gets lost in the towering urban cities we see today.
A new startup in New York, LifeAt, is working to change that. We are always looking at new startups that are approaching local in different innovative ways. At UpNext, we focus on cities. Other sites focus on neighborhoods. LifeAt starts at the building level. By creating individual secure websites for apartment buildings, LifeAt is trying to bring community to neighbors. In NYC, your building is oftentimes your "neighborhood" and knowing those around you builds that community.
In their words...
LifeAt creates private, password protected websites for exclusive use by members of residential communities. Residents use LifeAt sites to communicate with neighbors; post classifieds; and rate and review local retailers, restaurants, & delivery services. Property managers and building developers use the sites to post news and updates for residents and to attract potential buyers and renters. The success of each site is fueled by the active participation of its membership.It is a novel twist on an age old idea. It looks like they are growing rapidly and I look forward to having them in my building. Perhaps down the road, UpNext and LifeAt can work together to bring building communities together with local neighborhood businesses.
Posted by Danny at 1:14 PM
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
We went into silent mode back there for a while. Usually, the blogging dies down when we are iterating on features and working on make the user experience better. But a lot has been happened in the last couple weeks, we had to give an update.
1) UpNextNYC (FB App)
We officially launched the UpNext Facebook Application. Still waiting to get listed in the directory but just click on the link above and it should take you directly to the FB App.
Enjoy all the same functionality of UpNext.com within Facebook. The only difference is the size. Add the application, invite your friends to join you and share and discover the city together.
2) UpNext: Wicked 3D Maps of NYC on Facebook
We got a nice write up in TechCrunch last week, just before the Thanksgiving holiday. I think that is the first time we got "wicked" 3D map but we will take it.
Thanks Erick for taking the time to meet with us. Good stuff.
3) Interactive Local Media 2007 (ILM:07)
I will be speaking at ILM:07 on a panel on mapping. The official topic is "Maps: They're Not Just for Driving Any More". Ian White of Urban Mapping is on the panel with me. I heard him speak at the Where 2.0 conference and he definitely has some great ideas about maps. Looking forward to hearing what he has to say and hopefully making my own contribution to the discussion.
Feel free to introduce yourself at the conference. I will be there all day on Wednesday and Thursday. Would love to meet more people in this space.
Posted by Danny at 2:33 PM
Monday, November 5, 2007
Over the last couple weeks you may have noticed a Facebook login on our home page. This login allows you to access your Facebook network through the UpNext main site. Let me give you a little insight into why we do this.
Here is how we see user progression on UpNext.
1) Kicking the tires - Users enter without registering
We are a new website and people need to get to know us. So we let users just see what UpNext is all about before setting up a profile.
Just "Enter Now" and have fun flying around New York and exploring the city. There is enough value in the site for these non-registered users to bring them back for more.
2) Taking the test drive - Registered Users
Users now want to access the full capabilities of UpNext. Creating a profile allows users to share their city by writing reviews, rating businesses, adding favorites and marking places they have been. The information is now easily accessible in a user's profile.
On the flip side, other UpNext users can now see user contributions in a contextual basis. The profile description, favorite quote, even profile picture, provide contextual information around content, making it more valuable to others.
3) Buying the car - Building a social network
Since a big part of discovery comes from your friends and extended network, we make it easy for users to make this happen.
Users can import contacts from any of the popular email applications. Or simply type in a friend's email address and ask them to join UpNext.
This allows users to share their city within a network. More importantly, it allows users to see reviews and favorites from people they know and trust.
But people spend a lot of time setting up and managing social networks on other sites. Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and the list goes on and on. So rather than force users to redo all their previous work, we simply leverage the existing social connection of the user.
Facebook API and Open Social are both tools that we can use to make life simpler for users. We don't believe our users actually care about the intricacies of either; they just want it to happened. So we will continue to make it easy for users to leverage these networks.
4) Avoid being a lemon - Keep users happy
At this point, users have "bought" UpNext and have driven it around for a while. The focus here is to keep users happy and add value through every use. We continue to add new features and improve existing features to keep users happy.
We solicit and encourage user feedback through direct emails, blogging and by reach out to the community. Having bought a car in the past, I know the worst feeling is sitting in that car 5 months down the road and realizing you bought a lemon. So we focus on not being a lemon.
Posted by Danny at 8:48 AM
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
There are a ton of internet startup books in the world. Searching for "start up" on Amazon returned 107,315 titles. Among the choices are books that profile the rise and (sometimes) fall of companies during the dotcom bubble. Some are standard "How To" books. I am sure there is even a Start Up for Dummies out there.
While all these can be useful resources, sometimes true inspiration comes from examples outside your industry.
I recently read Rebel Without a Crew (or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker with $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player). Written by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, Spy Kids), Rebel chronicles his adventures in making his first feature film, El Mariachi for $7,000.
There are some great example of thinking outside the box to make things work. Some of my favorites:
- He only had 1 belt for strapping blood pellets onto actors and it is a chest belt. So in the movie everyone gets shot in the chest. (SMS only allows 140 character --> create microblogging)
- He volunteers for a month long experiment at a pharmaceutical lab. Essentially, he is signing up to be a lab rat. For Rodriguez this is a Godsend. He is able to raise $3,000 for his movie, he saves money because the lab feeds and houses him for a month, and he has a month off to focus on writing his script. (I imagine this is similar to being an entrepreuner in residence at a VC firm sans the possible drug side effects and hourly blood draws.)
- He shot every scene in one take to save on film costs. This forced him to plan out his shots ahead of time and edit on the fly in his head. Flub and miscues were later edited out by cutting to different shots. This "quick cutting" was later deemed ingenious and stylish. (Craigslist probably started simple and basic out of necessity but is now praise for its minimalist and bare layout.)
The book is well written and is a fast read. I think you will find many parallels between low budget film making and internet entrepreneurship. At the very least it will help get your creative juices flowing while giving you a break from the tech rss feeds.
Posted by Danny at 9:11 AM
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The last two days, we were at NYC Startup Camp. It was a great event filled with excellent speakers and great discussions.
We also had a chance to meet a ton of New York based start ups. It is great to see such a vibrant tech community in NYC.
One of the events for the camp was the Best Startup Contest. It was structured like a speed dating event. Each startup (about 25) had a table and camp attendees went around to each table for a 5 min demo/pitch. Attendees then voted for their favorite startup by giving the company a wooden nickel.
The voting came down to the wire and we just edged out BricaBox for first place. (Keep an eye out for BricaBox and its founder Nate Westheimer. They are doing some very interesting work over there.)
Here is what we won: A Sun Fire X4200 Server
We were handed a large cardboard image of the server similar to the oversized check lottery winners receive. I got some interesting looks walking home with a big cardboard picture of a server.
Overall, the event was a success and we had a great time. We want to thank the organizers for bringing Startup Camp to the Big Apple. Looking forward to the next one.
Posted by Danny at 11:18 AM
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
In the previous post, I wrote about Virtual Worlds vs 3D maps and where people were pegging us. We think that UpNext falls into both categories, taking cues from each. Yet, Virtual Worlds and 3D maps are subsets of a larger category, The 3D Web. And this is really where we see ourselves.
What is the 3D Web?
The definition of 3D Web is all over the map. Some restrict it solely to 3D applications while others include any site where users are immersed in an environment. For instance, Club Penguin, a virtual world for kids, is not truly 3D but it is definitely an immersive virtual world.
For us, the 3D web is simply the next level of progression in the evolution of the web. It is certainly not the only progression (see semantic web or programmable web) but definitely part of the changing landscape.
Consider these progressions of the web:
Text --> Text and Links --> Images and Pictures --> Video --> 3D
Bulletin Boards --> Webpages --> Social Networks --> 3D Web
The 3D web will not eliminate text and link based website, but for certain verticals it will become a better way to find information and interact with others. Giving users more information visually will make search better. Similarly, by immersing users in a 3D environment, social interaction will evolve.
Why 3D web now?
1) Hardware - The majority of computers can now handle 3D graphics. Even super light weight laptops have the video card capabilities and the processing power to render virtual worlds.
2) Social Networks - People now use the web as a primary communication device. We are past the tipping point of mass acceptance for social interaction over the web. We can now move towards providing users with better and more engaging environments for this interaction. Imagine the "social graph" of Facebook in a Second Life like environment.
3) Experience - Entertainment in 3D formats (video games and virtual worlds) has spanned across all demographics. These 3D environments lay the ground work in making users more comfortable with navigating and interacting in 3D. Thus, other 3D application, beyond entertainment, are now easily accepted and users see the benefits of these new environments.
There is a lot more to be said about this topic and there are people out there who have spent considerable amounts of time thinking about it. This blog is a good place to start:
3pointD - The Metaverse and 3D web from Mark Wallace
Please drop your thoughts in the comments or add links to other blog posts about this topic.
The next post, "3D Web - Part 2" will focus on 3D and local search, more specifically, what we at UpNext are doing.
Posted by Danny at 9:09 AM
Thursday, October 4, 2007
This morning, I read two blog posts that mentioned UpNext that made me think about how people view us.
The first post was from FredCavazza.net and his entry entitled, Virtual Universes Landscape.
He talks about the Virtual World landscape and how it is a real business opportunity (i.e. some of these companies are generating significant revenue). There is also a great map he made, dividing up the virtual worlds.
It is hard to see, but try to find us. (Hint: We are to the right of another small startup.)
The second post comes from Emad Fanous of Yellowbot on his personal blog. The post is entitled, The Future of Maps: 3D Immersion
This post groups us with 3D imaging companies that are working to put photorealistic images on the web. He talks about 3D immersive maps and how they might change the local landscape.
So where do we lie?
- Virtual World: Second Life, World of Warcraft, Google Earth...
- 3D Immersive Maps: Everyscape, Earthmine, Google Streetview...
Posted by Danny at 9:55 AM
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
BlinkGeo is a great website for geo-related news and stories. They were kind enough to post an interview with us. Check out the post to read more about why we started UpNext and where we are heading in the future.
BlinkGeo: An Interview with a Geospatial Startup: UpNext
Special thanks to Andres for taking the time to speak with us.
Posted by Danny at 10:12 AM
Thursday, September 27, 2007
We are happy to announce a new feature we recently launched, HotSpots
HotSpots are glowing lights that indicate what's UpNext in the city. These lights show events, new openings, festivals, and much more. Now you can visually see what's happening in the city.
Event Legend (on the right):
Blue = Nightlife
Red = Food/Dining
Purple = shopping
We will be adding more categories soon.
Click on any HotSpot to get more information about that event. Or you can click on the "What's UpNext" button on the top right and see the HotSpots in a list.
Posted by Danny at 7:42 AM
Monday, September 10, 2007
Since the focus of UpNext is a 3D cityscape of New York, we spend most of our time working on the 3D aspects of the site. Recently, we took a step back and re-examined the 2D features on our site. We saw some places where we were lacking and made some big improvements. So we give you...
(we are taking suggestions for a better name is you have any)
We made some significant improvement to the 2D pop up window on the map. The text is much bigger. The window has much more functionally, allowing users to do more directly on the map. For instance...
- Star ratings from reviews
- Read/Add Reviews button for easy review management.
- Add favorites with one click.
Find any business in any building in a snap.
The new Building Directory is easy to navigate and lets you see all businesses in one page.
We have some exciting new features that are almost ready for your eyes. Keep checking back with us. Also, keep sending us feedback to general [a t] upnext [d o t] com. We love to hear from our users and many of these changes are directly the result of users telling us what they want.
Posted by Danny at 8:25 AM
Friday, August 10, 2007
We are getting some mentions in blogs and press and we wanted to list some of them. We are happy to see that people are excited about UpNext and see the potential. If you see anything else, drop a link in the comments.
Upnext.com is a virtual cityscape that allows you to explore Manhattan’s shops, restaurants, and venues in 3-D. The site, similar to other city guide sites like Citysearch and Yelp, allows members to rate and review destinations and socialize with other users, but it also includes several additional features its predecessors don’t... (Read more)
Screenwerk - Greg Sterling
UpNext is a 3D cityguide that offers user ratings and reviews. A kind of cross between Yelp and Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D, the site only covers Manhattan currently but with expansions plans... (Read more)
A virtual rendition of Manhattan is now live, thanks to Upnext.com, a new site with social features that invite users to explore and review the city's plethora of shops, restaurants and venues in 3D... (Read more)
Its hard to get excited nowadays about a new 3D city model that is not either part of Google Earth or Microsoft's Virtual Earth. In many ways kml has become the standard language for web based 3D. So we were expecting not to be impressed by UpNext a newly launched 3D version of New York running in a web browser via Java... (Read more)
Digital Urban flags UpNext and its 3D implementation of Manhattan. Wow. Two things: One: It is blindingly fast (albeit by taking some game-engine shortcuts). Two: If they can come out of nowhere with a browser-based 3D client that works for the Mac, what's taking Microsoft so long?
This, I think is a taste of how we will mesh online and offline shopping and lead to all other meshing 'onoff' 'experiences' in the very near future. There's google earth but here's the newest user-friendly example upnext.com. We sign up, we see NYC as a 3D map with a built in search engine to guide you to anything you want in the city. You could and will take it so much further making a much deeper, more satisfying experience, leading to a detailed virtual 3D interpretation of a street or mall of shops... (Read more)
Posted by Danny at 8:47 AM
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Yes, it's true we only launched two weeks ago. So how can the site be new and improved already, you ask?
Well, we got a lot of user feedback and worked round the clock to address our users' needs.
Here is what is new on the site (in Q&A format).
Users: I don't want to register. I just want to see the map.
UpNext: No problem. Now you don't have to register.
You can directly go into the site as a guest. Non members, click "Enter Now" -->
But, we highly recommend you do create a profile eventually to enjoy all the features of UpNext (adding reviews, listing favorites, etc).
Users: Can you make the map any bigger?
UpNext: I guess size does matter. Wide screen mode for those of you with bigger monitors.
The map now resizes with your browser window. So, for most users you should see a bigger map. (For users with resolution 1024 x 768 or lower, the map will stay about the same size but it was big already.)
Users: How can I see latest reviews or the top reviewers?
UpNext: We made it easy for you to find this information by adding Top Lists.
Top Lists (Top UpNext Member, Latest UpNext Reviews) now appears on the side search results area once the site is loaded.
Click the "Top List" link in the upper right hand corner of the site to bring the leader board back up.
We are adding more top lists soon to help you find the businesses you want. Keep writing reviews and adding favorites show off you knowledge of the city.
If you have any suggestions for Top Lists, drop us a line in the comments.
Users: Can you re-interpolate road locations to facilitate micro matching and refactor the geocoders?
UpNext: Ok, so that was not a user's questions. But we did it anyways.
What does it mean? It means that UpNext is better and easier to use. We are always working to make the site better.
Posted by Danny at 8:06 AM
Monday, July 30, 2007
Want to quickly move from Chelsea to the Financial District on UpNext?
To move easily from neighborhood to neighborhood, zoom out to the neighborhood view. Then click on the area you want to explore and the map will zoom back into the 3D view.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Note: My Locations only appear on your profile and are not visible to others when they view your profile. (So go ahead and add “Lover”.)
Thursday, July 19, 2007
- Enter an address, intersection, business name, etc. in search bar
- Hit "GO"
- The map will glide to the desired search result
Discovery Searches - categories, descriptions
- Enter keyword(s) in search bar
- Hit "GO"
- Navigate around the city as result update in the viewing area
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Everyone has favorites! Share with your friends!
1) Search for your favorite bar, restaurant, or store.
2) Click on "More Detailed Info" in the pop up window on the map.
3) Click on "Add to Favorites" button on the expanded sidebar.
4) Done! That business is now a favorite.
Now view all your favorites on the map.
1) Expand "My Mini-Profile" (located in the profile tab) to the sidebar.
2) Click on the Favorites button and watch your favorites light up on the map.
3) Try clicking on your friend's favorites. See what they love about the city!
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Simplify your life! Search by categories!
1) Click on any category medallion you wish to have displayed on the map.
2) Refine your search by clicking on subcategories or click "Show All"
3) Move around the map and the category will update on the map as you move.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
UpNext has officially launched! We are now open to all users (no more invitations needed)!
We are very excited about this launch and the feedback has been fantastic. So get out there and explore New York and tell your friends to check out UpNext.
- Favorites and Reviews - Keep track of those memorable places. Add bars, restaurants and, stores to your profile favorites. Also, write reviews about any business.
- Profiles - Add a photo, add "My Locations", see your favorites and reviews on the map.
- Community - Add friends and see their favorites and reviews on the map. Explore the city together with your friends through UpNext.
Also, we want to hear from you, our users, on bugs, feedback, suggestions, etc. Email us at:
general [at] upnext [dot] com
bugs [at] upnext [dot] com.
Lastly, we want to thank the NY Tech Meetup for allowing us to present at their meetup last night. We had a great time and it was the perfect platform to launch the site.
Posted by Danny at 10:55 AM
Monday, July 9, 2007
As you can see, we have not posted on our blog for a while. Apologies for the silence. We have been working very hard on getting UpNext ready for open launch which is coming soon, very soon...
For those in the New York area, we will be presenting tomorrow night at the NY Tech Meet Up. Here are the details:
- "On the 1st Tuesday each month at 7PM, 6 people get 5 minutes each to demo something cool to New York's tech community (geeks, investors, entrepreneurs, hackers, etc)"
- July 10, 2007
- 7:00 PM
- The Great Hall
- Cooper Union
- 7 East 7th Street
- New York, NY 10003
Posted by Danny at 1:44 PM
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Google Earth Blog
upnext.com - Also still in beta - this web site was presened by Danny Moon. I'm highlighting this one because they have developed a custom Java plug-in for visualizing New York City in 3D in a very Google Earth-like fashion. They have a large percentage of the buildings modeled in a artistic style which looked quite good. Their web site is focused on building real-world social network by tying event information (festivals, parades, parties, whatever) to location on a map. Allowing you to hook up with friends or make new acquaintances. They also showed off that they have real-time lighting including sunrises and sunsets in their app. Definitely worth a look after they come out of beta.
Something new... only available for New York users at this time... UpNext is a 3D virtual cityscape where users can explore and discover their city. UpNext empowers users to search visually, straight from their web browser, to find what’s UpNext in their city. Explore and discover your city in 3D. Search by address, street intersection, … uses MS local search API.. users can add restaurant or business reviews.. search by category or medallion (ie. Night life) think 3D search, fast panning (AJAX), locate events, read user comments and reviews, See what’s going on in New York! See upnext.com - WOW!
Chris on eParticipation
- UpNext definitely impressed me by offering a great 3D enviroment (only in Manhatten so far though) to explore what's going on in your city. The unique thing is that all information is contained by the building rather than a point on the map and the look and feel of searching and exploring the content is amazing. Definitely a next step in visualizing local content in the third dimension.
UpNext showed a 3d cityscape of New York. It allows you to zoom around the space and select what kind of data it show. It pulled in restaurants, nightlife, shopping as well as a mashup from upcoming.org. You can click on any building to find out what is in it, as well as tag buildings.
The demo looked really neat with a quite usable 3d interface. From my point of view, the question is if consumers will prefer the 3d ability to zoom around, or prefer more traditional 2d maps.
Just to address the last sentence. We think there is a place for 2D and 3D maps on the web. But for local discovery and exploration, we think users will prefer an immersive 3D environment. Also, based on the number of 3D applications at the Where 2.0 conference, there appears to be a big push towards the 3D web.
If you find anything else on us that we might have missed, drop us a link in the comments.
Posted by Danny at 9:48 PM
Where 2.0 is done. It was a bit of a whirlwind but we had a great time. There were some really interesting presentations over the last couple days.
- We never thought that sounds would enhance a map, but they do.
- The Iphone made a random appearance.
- There are a lot of ways to let the world know where you are through mobile devices.
- Lots of API's, open maps, sharing data, one world, one love going on.
All in all a great conference.
We have a limited number of invitations available. Email us at general [at] upnext [dot] com.
Posted by Danny at 9:26 PM
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
We just finished presenting at the Launchpad/Ignite event at Where 2.0. It was a great experience and we had lots of fun. There were some very interesting demos and talks.
Here is a picture of us presenting. We had to scramble a bit in the beginning but overall it went well.
We were really impressed with the location and the set up. Also, we want to thank Brady Forrest for the opportunity to present. He did a great job of moderating the event and kept the presentations moving along.
Thanks for all the support and great feedback. We will be at the main conference so if you see us in the hallways or exhibit rooms, say hello and ask us for an invitation to UpNext.
Posted by Danny at 12:05 AM
Sunday, May 27, 2007
The UpNext team arrived in San Jose, CA this afternoon to prepare for our demo at Launchpad tomorrow night.
We have some exciting new features ready to show at Where 2.0.
- More content (reviews, links, pictures)
- Tagging the city
As you can see we are working hard to get things ready...
Posted by Danny at 11:42 PM
Monday, May 21, 2007
We are officially launching the site at the Where 2.0 conference. We have been selected to demo our site at Launchpad on Monday, May 28th at 7pm. Launchpad and Ignite are open to the public. The conference is at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, CA.
We are very excited for this opportunity. We look forward to getting feedback from the geo community out there. Based on the sponsors and past participants, it looks like it will be a great conference.
Posted by Danny at 8:55 AM
Welcome to the UpNext blog. We set this up for our users, friends and others to stay up to date on UpNext.
So what is UpNext?
UpNext is a 3D virtual cityscape where users can explore and discover their city. UpNext empowers users to search visually, straight from their web browser, to find out what's down the block, in the neighborhood, or all the way across town. We bring the immersive and explorative qualities of virtual worlds to local search.
More informally, UpNext is a platform for you to explore and discover great restaurants, bars, shops, and events, through stylized renditions of each city. Looking for a bar in the East Village with happy hour specials? Just click our spotlight icon and they'll all glow blue. No clutter, no detailed rooftop imagery, only what counts: what and where. Once you try it we think you'll have a hard time going back to text-and-buttons keyword search.
UpNext is also about community. Write reviews, list your favorite places, and add events for your town. Create a personal network and share all your neighborhood favorites with friends. In return, we'll show you what the rest of the community thinks.
We are currently in a closed beta launch but will be opening up the site to more users soon. Stay tuned...
Posted by Danny at 8:41 AM