Thursday June 21, 2018

NY Convergence ORIGINAL

Local Startups Try Out for the “Pitch Olympics” in New Jersey

By Esther Surden

At the Venture Association of NJ’s (VANJ) “Elevator Pitch Olympics” late last week in Whippany, NJ , startups gave 2-minute minute pitches to a panel of angels and VCs, who judged both the quality of pitch and the company’s fundability, providing advice about both. VC’s were urged by moderator Leonard Nuara of Greenberg Traurig, LLP to be honest with investors in order to teach them something about their presentations and to help their companies.

VC’s and angels voting included Steve Brotman, managing partner of GSA Venture Partners; Carol Curley, managing director of Golden Seeds, LLCCarter Weiss, Managing Director of Silas Capital; Paul Lewis, an angel investor and serial entrepreneur; Katherine O’Neil representing the  Jumpstart NJ Angel Network, and Jean Sullivan, a founding principal of Stardust Partners.

A handful of NY and NJ tech companies participated in the afternoon pitches, along with some tech companies from other areas. Among the “contestants:”

  • CFO-Book Inc., based in Princeton, offers B2B social media productivity tools for bankers using a cloud platform. The product solves a problem for banks, helping them keep in touch with their small business customers
  • InnRoad, a Southampton NY-based cloud software firm that lets independent hotels compete with larger chains using a single integrated platform. The company already has 220 customers for its system
  • Ladybug Teknologies, based in NY state, pitched wirelessly networked kiosks that let social drinkers test their alcohol levels at each bar they visit. The kiosks leverage social networking
  • Hoboken, NJ-based Netbook Navigator pitched a line of Windows operating system-based tablets that run most of the Microsoft applications already being used by consumers and business
  • Pheonix Bankware, a NJ company, was back at VANJ, perfecting its pitch for software that controls and monitors risks at small and medium sized commercial banks.

Tech company NewsIT, from the Washington DC area, won the “Olympics” with a pitch by CEO and Founder Melinda Wittstock for a mobile social network for aggregating, creating and sharing news based on content created throughout the web, including social networking sites.