Angels, VCs and Founders “Speed Date” at NJ EDA’s Founders & Funders Event, Part Three

Photo: Meetings taking place during the fall 2016 Founders & Funders event
  Photo Credit: Esther Surden
Meetings taking place during the fall 2016 Founders & Funders event
  | Esther Surden attended the most recent New Jersey Founders & Funders event, at the Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (North Brunswick) at the end of October.

Founders & Funders is probably one of the best-received programs that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) offers. It is based on a simple premise: startups in New Jersey need a way to obtain warm introductions to angels and venture capitalists, and angels and venture capitalists who want to invest in New Jersey need deal flow.

So, twice a year, the New Jersey EDA puts on a program that matches up angels and VCs with New Jersey tech and life-science startups. During the event in October, more than two dozen startup founders met angel and VC investors in 10-minute, one-on-one “speed dating” sessions to discuss strategy, business models and funding opportunities. spoke to some of the founders who participated. This is the third, and last, article in our coverage of the event, based on our interviews. The other two articles can be found here and here.

Photo: Sam Swaminathan of RevenueMantra Digital Media Photo Credit: Esther Surden
Sam Swaminathan of RevenueMantra Digital Media | Esther Surden

RevenueMantra Digital Media:

According to Sam Swaminathan, CEO of RevenueMantra Digital Media (Belle Mead), the startup is offering an ad platform to monetize e-commerce and e-business marketplaces. “We profile all user activity with a marketplace and dynamically pair it with all the product promotions the sellers are doing within the marketplace. Thereby, we engender significant advertising revenue for the marketplace,” he said.

Swaminathan is aiming his business at small and medium-sized marketplaces, and is monetizing it by taking a cut of the revenue that his software generates. The Amazons and the Alibabas of the world already have their own technology to do this, he said. “We are helping the tier-two marketplaces to monetize their traffic clicks, so that the marketplace host makes ad revenue, plus the seller gets to sell his product.”  He noted that his startup is already making money, and he’s looking for a Series A round of financing.

When we interviewed Swaminathan, he had already been to three 10-minute meetings with investors. “At least two were very interested in RevenueMantra. They all understood the proposition, but the first one didn’t have any synergy to our business.” Both of the investors with synergies asked to see the company’s investor pitch deck. Neither offered Swaminathan any advice, he said, he said, but they did want him to share more information about the company.

Photo: Mitch Arthur, founder of Armit Company Photo Credit: Esther Surden
Mitch Arthur, founder of Armit Company | Esther Surden

ArmIt Company:

ArmIt Company (Norwood) was represented by its founder Mitch Arthur, who told us that the startup is an internet-of-things service provider. “We operate a network platform that delivers services for all the things that connect to the physical world,” he said. And, “we deliver services based on solving problems with technology.” The company manufactures its own battery-powered cellular sensors that can detect water, temperature, doors opening and closing, fluid levels and motion, according to Arthur. The sensors don’t need to be plugged in and they don’t need WiFi, programs or network hubs to operate, he added. “They are fully autonomous devices that communicate back to our network.”

Arthur told us that he had had several meetings, noting that “it’s good to meet investors and tell them your story. You never know where, along your progress as you build your company,” you’ll need to have contacts with whom you can talk about your company.

He noted that “the feedback was positive mostly, but any feedback is welcome, whether positive or constructive criticism.” He said that he had asked each investor if there was any advice they could give him to better prepare him for his meeting with the next investor on his list. “They said to focus on only one of our opportunities, because 10 minutes really isn’t a long time.” He said that he appreciated the advice, and added, “I think it’s great that the Economic Development Authority is doing something like this for the businesses in the state!”

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