TechLaunch, a New Jersey Technology Accelerator founded earlier this year, graduated its first class of entrepreneurs who they showcased at their first Demo Day which was held on November 14th at the Montclair State University Conference Center. Entrepreneurs, investors and a broad range of the New Jersey entrepreneurial ecosystem were on hand to listen to venture presentations, view exhibits and network.
TechLaunch LLC is a private public partnership formed in collaboration with the NJ Economic Development Authority (EDA), Montclair State University and successful entrepreneurs. The Accelerator provides seed-stage technology companies funding of $20,000.00, co-working space, mentorship, intense business training, key services and exposure to qualified investors. The business training includes an intensive full time 12-week program called the LaunchPad during which entrepreneurs learn over weekly dinners, receive regular exposure to notable speakers and investors, practice pitching, and have access to engineering experts, university professors and legal and accounting professionals–all providing guidance to start their venture. Mario Casabona, Founder and General Partner of TechLaunch, is also chairman of Jumpstart New Jersey Angel Network, a successful entrepreneur and owner of Casabona Ventures.
Demo Day is the culmination of the 12 week training program and those in attendance were treated to polished presentations from venture teams.
The venture presentations were:
- CodeSquare: A mobile solution for businesses to engage customers
- Echolocation: A mobile social application
- Flying Kick: Interactive mobile menu application
- LivinSport: A social media platform for athletes
- NickelBus: An online service for planning trips
- NuSkool: An online library of lessons for teachers featuring pop culture
- Pervasive Group: A mobile to mobile parental control solution for smartphones
- Photoflow: An event based sharing service
- QuickCliqs: A mobile platform for planning casual events
- SeamBliSS: An online platform to connect with emerging designers
In attendance was Kamran Hashmi, Venture Officer for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Kamran explained the EDA’s role, “The EDA entered into a partnership with TechLaunch to create the state’s first Technology Accelerator. EDA will make an annual investment of $150,000 over three years. EDA’s investment requires $300,000 private sector matching funds annually. We see this as an opportunity for the state to partner with the private
sector to fill a market need in New Jersey by helping promising entrepreneurs achieve success.”
Shawn Oates a presenting entrepreneur and co-founder of SeamBliss, felt “the Launchpad program far exceeded all expectations”. He and his co-founder Kristen Pagan felt the program schooled them very well on all the fundamentals of starting a business, while at the same time providing access to relationships that they foresee will help move them forward more quickly.
TechLaunch General Partner Mario Casabona and Executive Director Travis Kahn are looking forward to their next program. Mario acknowledged all of his supporters and most enthusiastically promoted New Jersey’s entrepreneurial ecosystem noting, “you do not have to go elsewhere to find excellent entrepreneurial talent and ideas. These teams right here in New Jersey show where the future is–we are here to work with them and help them succeed.”