Back in August, NJTechWeekly.com stopped by the final installment of the New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC) 2013 Tech Idea and Demo Days, held at Cowerks (Asbury Park). The Aug. 8, 2013, event featured a preliminary round, then a final one in which previous top Tech Idea and Demo Days winners competed. We covered the earlier events here and here.
The August preliminary-round competitors were Bizratings.com (Cranbury); Infinal Technologies (Newark); Inventions Oasis (Princeton); Kuratur (Red Bank); LearningTaxi.com (Asbury Park); Marlabs (Piscataway); and Medical Strategic Planning (Lincroft), which has an innovative data storage solution.
Kuratur’s Kirsten Lambertsen was selected to compete in the final round. She presented her curation tool, which allows bloggers to add pages of constantly updated, selected, custom-curated material to their blogs, meeting their need for fresh, relevant content and their readers’ need for selective information.
Competing in the finals along with Kuratur were the top companies from previous rounds. Alternate Energy Source (Landing) offers warehouses and other large facilities a retrofit for their T5 fluorescent bulbs. According to the company, the installation alternative saves energy and costs. Illumination Machines (Mt. Laurel) says it has a better LED lightbulb aimed at disrupting the retail display-lighting market. MicroDysis (Bordentown) is the creator of an desktop oligonucleotide synthesizer. Revelstone (Parsippany), a government analytics software as a service firm, offers big government analytics to small towns and to counties. Starship Enterprises (Boonton), which has created clever devices aimed at helping the disabled and elderly, also presented.
The grand prize winner of the event was Rentricity (New York), the in-pipe hydro energy recovery company. Frank Zammataro, Rentricity president and cofounder, represented his company through the regional selection process. The firm has New Jersey connections, Zammataro told NJTechWeekly.com in an interview from the SXSW eco conference, where his firm was competing for another prize.
Zammataro lives in Chatham and works from his office there two days a week. In addition, the first companies to help Rentricity fine-tune its technology model in the early days are located in New Jersey: American Water, whose corporate headquarters is in Voorhees, and United Water, formerly Hackensack Water. Said Zammataro, “American Water was terrific to us. Their R&D director at the time allowed us to visit their sites in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and … Alexandria, Virginia. They helped us to flesh out the technology.”
Rentricity, a renewable energy company, uses unique energy recovery configurations to transform untapped energy within various manmade water, wastewater and industrial infrastructures into electricity. The energy recovery systems convert excess pressure in water mains and conduits to clean electric power. Since this electricity can be sold on the grid, Rentricity provides its customers an additional source of revenue and a way to offset rising electricity rates while supporting local renewable energy goals, Zammataro said.
Rentricity’s prize included a range of in-kind services: 10 hours of accounting support from WeiserMazars (Edison), IP planning and strategy sessions with two Woodcock Washburn (Philadelphia) attorneys, a strategic planning meeting with the managing director of Pearl Advisory Partners (Asbury Park), marketing consulting with Green Brook-based Plan B Marketing Communications (now Orange B Strategic Marketing), a crowdfunding consultation and one-minute pitch video from StartupValley (Saddle Brook) and a feature article in the September issue of NJTC publication TechNews.
NJTechWeekly.com attended an alternative energy working session during the event which featured insights from Tanja Lewit, President, Alternate Energy Source and Derek Shannon, Director of Business Development,Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Laboratory, on the state of the alternative energy industry.