Mother Nature did all she could to put a damper on Propelify, the tech and innovation festival that took place on October 3, on Pier A in Hoboken.
But Aaron Price, founder of Propelify and the new president/CEO of the New Jersey Tech Council, was having none of that.
As he opened the festival, he asked the attendees to show their Jersey attitude, and the enthusiastic audience raised a defiant cheer.
“None of our investors, none of our speakers, none of our exhibitors bailed in the rain,” Price told the audience gathered at the Stage of Wisdom, one of the two active stages at the event.
“I think it shows the kind of heart and hustle that we have here!
“There is a lot of opportunity here for you to build your business and have a fun day, and I guarantee you it will be, but it’s really about bringing a unique opportunity for you to save time. It’s about doing something that might take three months or a year and kick off that process in a day. We have over 33 hours of investor meetings … happening all day long,” he said.
“I guarantee that somebody who is trying to get in touch with an investor certainly wouldn’t let rain stop them.”Aaron Price at Propelify 2019
“I guarantee that somebody who is trying to get in touch with an investor certainly wouldn’t let rain stop them.”
To those who hadn’t previously attended Propelify, Price gave a brief history of how he had gotten to this place on his journey. He noted that he had been an entrepreneur his whole life and found it an isolating lifestyle. Most of his friends took more traditional career paths, more normal jobs or jobs that had less risk. So, he started going to events across the river,
“I thought there have to be people in New Jersey who shared this similar crazy gene, and maybe we can hang out together and build our businesses.” Thus, he started the New Jersey Tech Meetup nine years ago. It’s since grown to 7,300 members.
“One day I had this crazy idea: Why don’t we get together at scale. Maybe we don’t need to go to South by Southwest … Maybe we all can get together and help each other build our businesses somewhere here.” In 2016, Price launched what was then known as the “Propeller Innovation Festival,” now called “Propelify.” And “it’s been really thrilling and humbling to see it grow each year,” he said.
“This summer we had the opportunity to join forces with the New Jersey Tech Council,” Price explained.
“This is the time when New Jersey has an opportunity to break free. There is an enormous amount of enthusiasm and energy about what we can do here to compete with people across the river.
“I’m super-tired of mediocrity, which is what we’ve mostly been living with in the last decade.”Aaron Price, Propelify 2019
“I’m thrilled that we have a huge opportunity to attack at the right time with the right leadership, with all of you enthusiastic about what can happen next, to raise the bar for the Tech Council. And that means really shaking things up! There’s a lot we can do to put us on the map, because there’s a lot that creates an ecosystem.”
Price noted that New Jersey is lacking press, lacking workspaces, and “lacking awareness.” While we have talent and businesses here in New Jersey, we are losing them.
“I’m super-tired of mediocrity, which is what we’ve mostly been living with in the last decade,” he said.
Price asked everyone attending to come aboard the Tech Council and add their enthusiasm for tech in the state, so they can make a difference.