When Aaron Price imagined Propeller –a SXSW-type festival that would take place on a pier in Hoboken –there were a lot of skeptics. After all, who would come to New Jersey for such a thing? And who would sponsor it? Surely, it was too tall an order to pull off in a short amount of time. But Price –together with hundreds of volunteers and some professional help—brought Propeller to New Jersey and the result exceeded expectations by a longshot.
The region lacked a festival, a celebration of tech and entrepreneurship, Price told people. His goal was to launch an outdoor innovation event that would be so compelling that it would draw thousands of tech entrepreneurs, VCs, angels and others to Hoboken.
They would come from large companies and small startups. They would come alone or with friends. They would hear from 100 speakers including famous tech entrepreneurship pundits like Gary Vaynerchuk, watch or participate in drone races and pitch competitions, listen to the Bell Labs Human Digital Orchestra, visit booths set up for recruitment, booths dedicated to innovation and booths set up for tech fun, and see a musical performance by The Naked and The Famous.
And he pulled it off. Propeller drew 8,000 attendees to a regional festival on a beautiful day in May.
Propeller was exceedingly good for New Jersey as well as for the region.
“Hoboken is a perfect spot to unite the entire innovation communities of the Northeast and, having attracted a diverse attendee base in 2016, we proved it could be a source of pride for New Jersey and a unifying location for the entire region,” Price told us.
Propeller woke the region up to the idea that there was cutting edge tech happening in New Jersey, that there is a flourishing tech entrepreneurship culture here, that New Jersey could host thousands of tech enthusiasts in our thriving innovation ecosystem. Price says that 50 percent of the folks who attended were from N.J., 40 percent from New York and the rest from 43 states and 10 countries.
“We are the northeastern innovation event that happens to be in New Jersey. We want to inspire N.J. pride while also welcoming people outside of the region to feel like it's theirs too. At launch we were already among the top three biggest tech events ever in the New York area,” he added.
The good news is that Price is planning another Propeller for the spring. It’s coming back “bigger and better” he told us. We’ll have details about that when they become available.
Here are the articles NJTechWeekly.com published about Propeller:
Opinion: Why You Should Go to Propeller and Bring Your Employees By Esther Surden