8 Tech Startups Highlight Newark’s Potential as East Coast Innovation Hub
Newark Venture Partners “Demo Day” at The Newark Museum Showcases Founders from Across the Country
On Jan 16, 2019
Newark Venture Partners celebrated the completion of its 5th NVP Labs cohort at “Demo Day” at the Newark Museum with a crowd of over 400 investors, founders, and community stakeholders. The event featured presentations from the founding teams of all eight companies that completed the 3-month bridge-to-Seed program: Ejenta, Exempt Me Now, Floss Bar, RankMiner, StackSource, Upsider, Talentegy and Team Mobot. Together, the cohort represents the industries of HRTech, Voice, Consumerization of Healthcare, HealthTech, Robotics and FinTech, with founders joining the Newark community from across the northeast, as well as North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana and California.
“NVP is part of a larger ecosystem that’s contributing to Newark’s turnaround,” said Don Katz, Audible founder and CEO, and the founder of NVP. “These startups have had access to the incredible domain expertise of Audible employees and our corporate partners, and I’m excited to see how this class of amazing companies contributes to our efforts to tether Newark to the elements of the economy that are creating jobs and taxable revenue and validates the profound business case for this city.”
As Newark’s reputation as a hub for east coast technology grows, NVP, its corporate partners and its community of founders are leading the charge to recast the city as home for innovators. For the first time Demo Day was held in the historic Newark Museum, celebrating Newark’s return to its roots as center of invention and the startups that hope to write its next chapter.
“This was a cohort of game-changing tech and allstar founders. We are proud to have put our stamp on these startups and look forward to helping each of them continue to grow and disrupt how the world does business – starting right here in Newark, New Jersey,” said Tom Wisniewski, managing partner at Newark Venture Partners.
This cohort marked a year of growth for the NVP Labs program. The 3-month bridge-to-seed accelerator program targets B2B tech companies with proven market traction looking to raise an institution seed round. It is now responsible for investments in 43 different startups, 70 percent of which have gone on to raise an institutions seed round. NVP’s complete portfolio, including its direct investment arm, totals 55 companies, 31 of which maintain a presence within NVP’s Newark coworking space. Cumulatively they have raised over $200M in capital.
“We select our founders based on pain points that our corporate partners identify within their own markets,” said Dan Borok, managing partner at Newark Venture Partners. “Once they complete the program, we get to to see their solutions reshape industries and reimagine how everyday operations can or should be done.”
NVP Labs invests an initial $120,000, with an additional $100,000 at the close of the program, and potential investment from NVP’s direct investment arm of up to $1 million in subsequent funding rounds. Companies also get space within NVP’s coworking offices housed in the same building as Audible and Rutgers Business School, as well as guidance from a robust mentorship and growth team. The fund’s corporate partners, Audible (an Amazon Company), Dun & Bradstreet, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Prudential Financial, RWJBarnabas, TD Bank through the TD Charitable Foundation, Fidelco Realty Group, and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority also regularly interact with NVP Labs companies, providing market-based insight, technology assistance, and high level networking opportunities.
“NVP Labs has been invaluable to Team Mobot’s growth. Because every company is different, rather than simply providing advice, NVP Labs provided 1-on-1 resources for each company around sales, marketing, design, finance and more. As a newer company, this was exactly what we needed,” said Eden Full Goh, founder and CEO of Team Mobot.
The selected companies were chosen from a pool of over 1,800 companies, more than 3 times the number of applicants for past cohorts. Notably, this cohort includes 6 female founders or co-founders, 4 of which are also the company’s CEO.
The graduating companies are:
Ejenta: Founded by Rachna Dhamija and Maarten Sierhuis in San Francisco, CA. The future of healthcare is care at home, an $18B market opportunity for remote health monitoring. Ejenta gathers data from wearable and IoT devices and from electronic medical records to create AI-driven analytics that help health providers to detect and predict which patients need care, resulting in reduced readmissions and increased patient satisfaction. Ejenta’s technology is exclusively licensed from NASA where the founder developed AI to monitor astronauts in space.
Exempt Me Now: Founded by Sevetri Wilson New Orleans, LA. The number of nonprofits being created in the U.S. each year has more than quadrupled over the last decade. ExemptMeNow seeks to reduce the hassle it takes to become tax-exempt, and connect the dots between grantees and grantors by providing a SaaS solution that simplifies the creation, maintenance and compliance processes for non-profit organizations. ExemptMeNow currently counts over 5,000 nonprofits as customers, but it is planning on deploying an enterprise software solution more widely in 2019. As part of this pivot, the company will also be rebranding as Resilia in 2019.
Floss Bar: Founded by Eva Sadej in New York City. Floss Bar is making in-office dental care the newest Future of Work Trend by eliminating inconveniences like wait and travel time, along with pressure and pain often associated with dental visits. With a model flexible enough to work with clients of any size, they provide dental services on site for employees, members, and tenants. For anything non-routine, they have a referral network of dental offices vetted and compliant with the company’s ethical standards. Floss Bar turns dental care into a key workplace wellness initiative that everyone can appreciate.
RankMiner: Founded by Preston Faykus in St. Petersburg, FL. Voice analytics is growing at a CAGR of 28.82%, expected to be $3.69B by 2023. However, a missing element for companies is to automatically predict agent and customer behavior. RankMiner does exactly this by analyzing 383 signals to extract the emotions and behaviors expressed in phone conversations that lead to business outcomes. RankMiner’s national and international clients have realized business improvements of up to 200% using the RankMiner solution.
StackSource: Founded by Tim Milazzo and Nathan Wall in New York City. The $3 trillion commercial loan market is currently run by brokers who are more motivated by commission than by transparency. StackSource’s digital marketplace provides a superior solution: immediate lender matching, data system integration for instant diligence, and a platform to manage the underwriting process end-to-end. StackSource has underwritten hundreds of millions in commercial lending as of today with 200+ lenders actively involved on the platform.
Talentegy: Founded by Shawna Berthold, Dwaine Maltais and Stephanie Ralston in Dover, DE. Over 50% of candidates will sever a business relationship with a company due to a poor candidate experience and over half will abandon an application process because of a technical issue. That poor candidate experience has bottom line business impacts and can cost companies millions of dollars each year in lost revenue or brand loyalty. Talentegy solves this problem by applying AI enhanced talent analytics and engagement technology that continuously monitors the candidate journey to provide data-driven insights for improvements.
Team Mobot: Founded by Eden Full Goh in New York City. As a former Product Manager in the data, medical and energy software industries, founder Eden Full Goh became tired of flawed automation approaches to QA (quality assurance), which often rely on slower, costly, manual testing. To address this $10B industry, Team Mobot deploys teams of robots powered by computer vision to test software across different devices, use cases and integrations. As a solution for the enterprise, Team Mobot aims to cut QA costs in half and deliver test results on demand.
Upsider: Founded by Josh McBride and Xuan Smith in Ho-Ho-Kus. Talent acquisition professionals spend over 60% of their time on ineffective job boards and manual search tools, trying to identify relevant candidates to engage for their open roles. Upsider turns sourcing into a science, by leveraging AI technology to identify a comprehensive set of candidates which align with their business and role requirements, resulting in a more strategic understanding of the best possible talent for the job. Upsider also offers a set of communication tools to engage candidates. Current clients have found that talent pipelines are filled 5x faster, and they are able to execute a more predictable, data-driven recruiting strategy.
The event included presentations from Colin Newman Vice President of Public Policy at Audible; Joe Scott, Executive Vice President, Office of Health Care Transformation at RWJ Barnabas Health; and Dele Oladapo, Chief Technology Architect and Innovation Officer, Prudential Financial, all part of the NVP network of corporate partners. The event had more than 450 RSVPs, including top east coast investors, founders from across the country, and decision makers from corporate players in New York/New Jersey region.