At the Posters, Pitches and Prizes event sponsored by the New Jersey Entrepreneurial Network (NJEN) at Princeton University last week, almost 40 hopeful tech and biotech startups set up easels sporting posters depicting their products. They then set about explaining their business ideas to venture capitalists, consultants, incubator and accelerator representatives and the curious.
A good variety of N.J. life sciences and digital technology was represented at the meeting. NJTechWeekly.com came across some companies we have encountered before and several others that were new to us. Some presenters boasted just a sliver of intellectual property that could be the seed of a business, while others showed full-blown business plans.
Several N.J. universities sent their students to the poster session. New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) was represented by about nine presenters, and a more modest number came from Stevens Institute of Technology, Rutgers and Princeton. Many companies presenting had no university affiliation and were there to get their ideas in front of investors.
Walking around the room, we first spoke with Elwing Corp. a Princeton-based firm which uses disruptive technology in the design and commercialization of advanced electric propulsion systems for satellites and spacecraft. The company was touting its electrodeless plasma thruster technology.
TAG Optics, also of Princeton, offered a unique lens that can change focus in submicrosecond resolution, ideal for applications for which fast variable focus is critical. The company is starting to sell some of its lenses, CEO Christian Theriault told us.
Sanford Roth, Medsonics US (Newark), brought his portable ultrasound diagnostic device, which uses advanced digital signal processing technology. The device is used to diagnose sports injuries.
uFeud.com (Mt. Laurel), a social-networking site turned tech company, says it hopes to place its uFrame and uScore technology on every website in the world. Founder and CEO Jared Scherz told us his “personal hope is to improve the way debate and conflict are handled globally.”
Princeton University-developed technologies nabbed two of the lucrative first prizes: the preparation and filing of a provisional patent application donated by Philadelphia law firm Volpe and Koenig. The winner for best pitch was “Tunable Acoustic Gradient Technology: Using Sound to Shape Light,” Christian Theriault, TAG Optics, and Craig Arnold, Princeton University. The investor’s choice award went to “Revolutionary Personal Mobility Assistance Through a Radical Re-invention of the Walking Cane,” Ron Goldberg, CEO, Kineticane.
Attendees were given the chance to vote for best poster presentation. That “people’s choice” award went to “An Exhaled Nitric Oxide Analyzer for Point-of-Care Monitoring of Asthmatic Patients,” Yin Wang, Jianhua He, Gerard Wysocki, electrical engineering department, Princeton University.
An NJIT group took two of the runner-up positions, receiving Starbucks gift cards in hopes of holding “productive meetings with investors and collaborators.” The runners-up for best pitch and people’s choice for best poster went to “OTECCS—Organics to Electricity Coupled Cell System,” Nevedha Rajan, sophomore, biology; Asim Zaman, sophomore, civil engineering; Lindsey Oh, sophomore, mechanical engineering; Margaret Christian, sophomore, biology.
The investor’s choice runner-up was “Image-based Risk Score (IbRiS): Predicting Outcome, Risk, and Treatment in ER+ Breast Cancers,” James Monaco, Ph.D., co-founder, and Anant Madabhushi, Ph.D., co-founder, Ibris Inc., Rutgers University.