New Jersey Tech and Entrepreneurship Meetups are Back after Post-COVID Rocky Start

It looks as if tech and entrepreneurship meetups in New Jersey­ — some of which continued online or in person during and after COVID, while others disappeared — are fully back and are drawing engaged crowds.

We’ve seen that the Jersey City Tech Meetup made a comeback with a recent discussion featuring notable entrepreneurs; that Montclair Starts Up has held a couple of meetings that attracted big crowds, including one on artificial intelligence (AI) for startups; that the Princeton Tech Meetup announced a November event at a new venue; and that Startup Grind Princeton will be holding numerous meetups this year, the next one featuring PureLi Clean Tech founder Sean Zheng on Nov. 16.

Montclair Starts Up

In September, NJTechWeekly.com visited Montclair Starts Up (formerly “Montclair Entrepreneurs”). There representatives from Google and NVIDIA spoke about their companies’ approaches to AI and then joined with the audience in a spirited discussion about AI in general. (see the story here.)

Zack Rosenberg, cofounder and CEO of Qortex (New York), and one of the organizers of Montclair Starts Up, sees this meetup as a way to bridge entrepreneurs based at Montclair State University with the surrounding community. Even though the university’s entrepreneurship center, with all its resources, is right down the street from Montclair, no one was apparently aware of the amazing facilities and top-tier talent available there, he said.

“During the last few events, we have highlighted several startups founded here in New Jersey,  as well as several entrepreneurs who have hit it big, such as Craig Dubitsky, the founder of Hello Products [Montclair]; Dan Reich, of Troops [New York] and TULA cosmetics [New York]; Joe Apprendi, of Revel Partners [New York]; and with our most recent ones, speakers from NVIDIA [Holmdel] and Google [New York], who talked about how AI will impact your lives and your business,” he said.

“We look forward to finding more ways to highlight the startup community in the area and seeing more of us succeed.”

Princeton Tech Meetup

According to Venu Moola, one of the organizers along with Chris Boraski of the Princeton Tech Meetup, the group, recognized as one of the largest tech communities in New Jersey, is set for a spectacular comeback.

Scheduled for Nov. 16 at the McCarter Theatre Center, in Princeton, at 5 p.m., the event marks the return of this vital platform for collaboration and innovation. “The Princeton Tech Meetup has always been a hub where ideas flourish and professional networks expand, making this event an essential destination for anyone engaged in technology, entrepreneurship and the forward march of innovation,” Moola said.

This isn’t just a meetup, it’s a celebration of the tenacity and passion of New Jersey’s tech community and a harbinger of future collaborations and breakthroughs, he added. “Whether you’re an industry veteran, a rising entrepreneur or a tech enthusiast, the Princeton Tech Meetup invites you to be part of this significant occasion,” he said.

Jersey City Tech Meetup

Ben Yurcisin, an organizer of the Jersey City Tech Meetup (aka “#JCTechMeetup”), said that his meetup’s event in October, “How You Built This,” was a huge success. “It was great to see the community come together! Everyone was out … from the corporate side hustler to the gritty solo founder and even a few visionary investors.”

He added, “We caught up. We talked tech. We heard from three awesome founders about their entrepreneurial journeys to date and where they hope to take things. 

Here are the entrepreneurs who presented at the Jersey City Tech Meetup in October:

  • Jonathan Bednarsh is a cofounder of RIPT Dispensary, Jersey City’s first recreational/medical cannabis store, and the COO of Social Bulldog (New York), a specialized performance marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition and revenue growth for digital e-commerce brands. 
  • Mikhail Gofman is a cofounder and CEO of Green Think Energy (Hoboken), a bootstrapped startup that commenced with an initial investment of $200. In 2021, the company was successfully acquired by Enphase Energy (Freemont, Calif.), an S&P 500 corporation specializing in solar and electric-vehicle-charging hardware. Green Think Energy has developed software to streamline the creation of the engineering drawings necessary for obtaining approval for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.
  • Steve Buryk is a cofounder of Session Tracker (Jersey City), a client management app built for small businesses and side hustles, with most of the current customers specializing in fitness. He started Session Tracker as a passion project to learn about software development, and has helped thousands of businesses along the way.

Startup Grind Princeton

According to the group’s website, “the Startup Grind Princeton Chapter promotes the NJ and regional startup ecosystem and holds fireside chats, workshops, pitch events, and parties. We strive for inclusion and making the startup and venture community more accessible. David Stengle, the chapter director, is the only Startup Grind Director to receive both the Startup Grind Lifetime Achievement Award and the Startup Grind Inclusivity Award. Princeton is consistently one of the most active chapters worldwide.”

According to David Stengle, chapter organizer, Startup Grind Princeton feels bullish about the NJ startup ecosystem. “We held our 121st event last month and see growing momentum in NJ. In the last couple of years, new foundational pillars of our state ecosystem launched. SOSV opened  HAX, a world-class hard tech accelerator in Newark. The HELIX NJ initiative received more than $700m in funding. The National Science Foundation I-Corp Hub Northeast Region provides a commercial on-ramp for translational research with participation from NJIT, Princeton, Rowan, Rutgers, and other regional schools.  The Murphy administration is providing strong support with new and expanded programs from the NJ EDA and CSIT, among others.”

“I see founders raising venture money and new entrepreneurs preparing to launch their next startups. Pathways to institutional money exist for good businesses and non-dilutive funding is better than ever. We welcome anyone interested in joining the startup ecosystem to our events and Tigerlabs in Princeton and try to live our value of ‘make friends, not contacts’ every day”

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