Propelify, the tech and innovation festival, will be back on the Hoboken waterfront Oct. 6. Along with booths from companies and startups, Maxwell Place Park will be filled with ways to learn and make connections.
We spoke with Jasmine Hoffman, head of experience at TechUnited:NJ, to gain some insights on how to plan the day at Propelify. She told us what will be new at the festival, what talks could pique peoples’ interest and what new players will be on the scene:
1. The TechUnited:BetterX challenges. “The BetterX programs are engineered to produce opportunities for startups and emerging tech companies that are building a better future for all, [helping them] to connect with leaders and influencers in those industries to help them grow their businesses,” Hoffman said. There will be three challenges this year, up from two last year, with a total of $100,000 on the line.
The brand-new program is the TechUnited:BetterConnected Challenge Newark. “We’ll be announcing the winner at the event, after hearing three finalist startup pitches. They will take home a $25,000 cash prize for the best solution to support small businesses.” The focus here is on small businesses in Newark. In addition to the cash prize, Audible will incentivize the winner to take office space in Newark by subsidizing the first $10,000 of its office space rental costs. “We’re really excited to see that come to life,” Hoffman said.
She added that joining RWJBarnabas Health (West Orange) for the TechUnited:BetterWellness Challenge will be Labcorp (Burlington, N.C.), whose participation is new this year. PSEG (Newark) remains the sponsor of the TechUnited:BetterPlanet Challenge.
Take a Trip
2. Hoffman thinks that one of the discussions that will pique the community’s interest will be “Take a Trip: The Promise and Pitfalls of Psychedelic Healthcare,” featuring Daniel Karlin, chief medical officer of MindMed (New York), who will be talking to Lina Shihabuddin, chief population health officer at RWJBarnabas Health. Said Hoffman, “MindMed is a publicly traded company. And it’s been on a lot of folks’ radars for the past year or so because of what they’re doing with using psychedelics for treating different stages of medical and mental health illnesses. I would definitely recommend checking out that talk.”
3. Instead of a “Stage of Inspiration” this year, there will be a “Stage of Finspiration,” sponsored by Cross River (Fort Lee) bank, featuring fintech speakers. If you like controversy, check out the discussion between Jordan Nof, cofounder and managing partner at Tusk Venture Partners (New York), and Clara Krivoy, partner and head of the Digital Commerce Practice Group at the law firm Brown Rudnick (New York), called “Crypto Corruption: Will Congress Regulation Take Control.”
Or go to the one called, “How to Protect Blockchain from its Biggest Threat,” where Jade Scipioni, senior reporter for CNBC, will be paired with Ronghui Gu, cofounder and CEO of CertiK (New York), a blockchain security company. Last year, Scipioni had an animated discussion with Alex Mashinsky of Celsius (Hoboken), a crypto lending and trading company that was decimated by the drop in crypto prices this year and has filed for Chapter 11 relief.
Investor Meetings at Propelify
4. The Propelify Fundraising Forum is new, and there is still a bit of time left to apply. Instead of hectic five-minute “speed dating” meetings with investors, TechUnited:NJ is curating meetings between startups and funders. Powered by Captivate Talent (New York) and Tech Council Ventures (Summit), the Fundraising Forum meetings will take place in the Investor Lounge at Propelify. They will be scheduled by the Propelify team, which will match founders with investors based on each startup’s stage, industry and region. The goal of these meetings is to establish new founder/investor relationships and to continue previously established relationships.
5. There are no shortage of interesting opportunities for attendees. Samsung is going to be at Propelify this year for the first time, and it looks as if attendees will be able to check out some of that company’s newest devices and perhaps get a chance to play with devices that aren’t yet available. Meta will be back at Propelify, and this year will be bringing its Ray-Ban glasses for users to experience. These are Meta’s first generation of smart glasses, available in three frames with built-in cameras, open-ear audio and seamless social sharing.
6. In case you want another opportunity to network with others at the event, “We are actually introducing a new lounge called the ‘Lounge of Success’ this year, that will be a games and bar lounge, in partnership with some of our professional service providers like ADP [Roseland]. That will be a new opportunity to have a central location to connect and network,” Hoffman said. And the fireworks will be back this year to officially close the festival, she added. They were missed.
All in all, Propelify should be an awesome experience, where attendees can network, learn, grow and have fun. NJTechWeekly.com readers can get exclusive perks at Propelify. Register for a FREE General Access ticket or snag a $99 VIP Access ticket here by using the code “NJTechPropels.”