NEWARK-BASED TECH STARTUPS SHOW OFF THEIR CREATIONS AT NVP’S SECOND DEMO DAY
Published June 28, 2017 | M. Brian
With Method Man and Redman’s song “Da Rockwilder” playing in the background, Tom Wisniewski, managing partner at Newark Venture Partners (NVP), introduced Mayor Ras Baraka to welcome the crowd that had gathered at Prudential Center for Newark Venture Partners’ second demo day and begin the festivities. (Later, Wisniewski was joined onstage by Don Katz, CEO of Audible and founder of NVP.)
The mayor proudly predicted that Newark would become “the next Silicon Valley” for the East Coast, and that tech would quickly join the arts as a top reason for people to visit the city and consider setting up shop here. Citing the city’s infrastructure, and specifically Newark’s valuable “dark fiber” asset (which enables super high-speed internet), Baraka proclaimed Newark as a natural migration point for tech companies.
This demo day showcased the work of NVP’s second graduating class, which consisted of 11 startups from as far as Germany and South Africa to as close as right here in New Jersey. The first class graduated in December of 2016 and, according to NVP, two-thirds of them have already gotten funding.
NVP touts their commitment to place-based venture capitalism, meaning they seek out companies on the cutting edge, regardless of where they are currently located, and bring them to Newark.
To date, according to Wisniewski, their companies have created over $5 million in local investments and brought over 4,000 visitors to Newark.
Here were a few standout demos from the day.
Founded by Lee Greene, Wearaway was the first company to present. Greene spent 10 years in the fashion business, and in the process was able to identify some of the toughest aspects of being a stylist.
She painted a scenario: Let’s say you need to shoot a commercial with 10 actors and you have a $10,000 budget to get it done. To outfit 10 actors, she said, you’ll need to have 10 outfits for each of them to try on. That is 100 different outfits total: 100 different shirts, 100 different pairs of pants, and 100 different pairs of shoes, all of which require a stylist to travel in order to source.
Wearaway says it fills a gap by creating an online presence for stylists to source wardrobes–a resource Greene said doesn’t currently exist. Wearaway will enable stylists to browse thousands of items online. They can search by category in minutes, place items they like in a bag and checkout from multiple vendors all at once. The items are then delivered to the stylist the next day.
Envested described themselves as “the evolution of workplace giving.” As a VP of Strategy and Investment for JP Morgan Chase, Isa Watson realized that bank branches with increased community engagement had lower employee turnover and better financial performance then branches with lower community engagement. Envested enables employees and organizations to identify and efficiently take part in community service opportunities.
Pomco is a key-chained sized personal safety device. After a childhood friend was tragically assaulted and killed, and realizing that 63 percent of cellular 911 calls do not share the caller’s location, Andrew Leehy had the idea to create a better system.
Depending on how one activates it, Pomco can alert campus police, a friend, or a family member when a person is in danger. In case of a real emergency, the user can alert the police and have their location and a photograph included with the alert. It can even enable a two-way voice call with a police operator.
If the stakes are a bit less serious–like getting separated from a group of friends at a large event–users can activate the device to send them a text message with a link to their current location. And for the bug-a-boo who can’t take a hint, users can even set the device to call their own phone to interrupt any awkward situations and conversations, complete with a designated caller ID, like “Mom.”
Pomco is currently being marketed solely to the $1 billion campus safety community at a cost of $65.00 per year per student.
This class of NVP companies were diverse across sectors. Here are their elevator pitches:
CircleLink Health connects telephone nurses to chronic condition patients for preventative care between doctor visits.
Claim It! is a platform for people and brands to share free stuff to create buzz, drive traffic, and promote the things they love.
DocDelta is a smart sales and marketing technology platform, created exclusively for the healthcare industry.
GitLinks monitors open source code for enterprise companies.
SAM.ai automates sales and marketing to help companies close more deals.
Trendalyze is the a Google-like search and monitoring platform for finding patterns in IoT (Internet of Things) and big data.
Veritonic is a marketing analytics platform for sound.
WellSheet is an artificial intelligence-driven platform that provides an intelligent, personalized interface for doctors at the point of care.
Newark Venture Partners is currently taking applications for its next cohort. If you or someone you know as an innovative tech company you can apply here.
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