For this article, NJTechWeekly.com asked some N.J. tech startups to name one major goal for 2012. Their answers varied. Some are having a lot of trouble securing financing, so that objective is high on their radar. Others are looking to expand. To mix things up a little, we present their answers in reverse alphabetical order by company name.
Tivity emerged at the New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC) Venture Conference last March. The brainchild of two N.J.-based founders, the company was accepted in the NYU-Poly Varick Street Incubator program in September. CEO Jason Scherr says although his main office is in New York, “we still work out of N.J. and try to be as involved in the N.J. tech scene as we can.”:
2012 promises to be a defining year for Tivity. We released our new landing page (www.tivity.us) at the end of 2011 and will be using the data we gather to help mold our fully functional web product, to be released at the end of Q1 2012. We also seek to secure seed capital, continue the growth and expansion of our design and development team and expand Tivity as a brand and tool to help people find, schedule and share activities to lead an active lifestyle and enjoy it with others around them.
We spoke with Revelstone LLC at the recent Venture Association of New Jersey (VANJ) Elevator Pitch Olympics. The Parsippany company offers an affordable platform through which cities and towns can learn how they are performing vis-à-vis their peers. Kenneth Wolf, CEO:
Revelstone launched its performance-management and peer-to-peer networking platform for local governments earlier this year and has signed on about a dozen customers so far. Our major goal for 2012 is to get those customers to realize the solution’s full value by starting to benchmark performance data against their peers, find out where they are underperforming and learn from each other to improve operations. This milestone will be a great story for us and no doubt trigger a viral penetration in this well-connected space.
We first heard Peer Belt Inc.’s (Harrison) Krassimir Fotev pitch his company’s innovative search service that “helps people organize their digital lives” at the NJ Tech Meetup in September. His solution to information overload while searching isn’t so easy for people to understand, but Fotev is convinced its benefits will be apparent when they give it a try:
Peer Belt is looking forward to 2012. Existing solutions to information overload rely, in one form or another, on bookmarks. This “so last century” approach does not eliminate the information retrieval problem; it just transfers it from the Web to the smaller set of documents defined by bookmarks. Peer Belt remembers everything and organizes it by how you, the end user, have interacted with and perceived the content. Getting back to an interesting article seen through email, Twitter or Facebook has never been easier, faster or more convenient. Our solution is built with privacy in mind: all information collected resides on your local device and not in the cloud, where you have limited control over how it is used. 2012 is the year to put Peer Belt’s user base on exponential growth. Should you be interested in trying out Peer Belt’s software on Windows or Mac, request a beta invite. Among the product updates we will release in 2012 is support for mobile iOS devices. We are looking forward to securing Series A funding in 2012, which will further accelerate our growth.
Phoenix Bankware (Princeton area) was one of the B2B startups we learned of back in March, at an early VANJ event. There, Phoenix’s CIO Richard Gould pitched Loan Portfolio Edge, a bank loan portfolio compliance software system that helps small banks automate reviews of their loans. Today Gould is frustrated by his inability to secure funding:
It is all but impossible to obtain financing from regular sources like banks or via the investor community, since both appear to be allergic to even the most modest of risks these days. We are therefore left with only two options, moving forward: abandon the American Dream of having our own business or do it the hard way, scraping by, working multiple jobs to feed our families and pay the bills while devoting “spare time” to our business. We see our future as being in our own hands, and our goal is to launch Phoenix Bankware in 2012. Our faith in ourselves and our products is still as strong as ever, and we know that we can and will succeed, even if it takes much longer than we think is necessary.
Clean energy startup Fluitec relocated to N.J. from Belgium last year. Amar Pradhan, Vice President of Fluitec International, said:
2011 was a breakthrough year for Fluitec: we consolidated offices in Jersey City, doubled our US workforce, increased revenues by 80 percent, and raised significant venture capital and government funds! Next year we have many ambitious goals that capitalize on our past year’s successes, including new product launch, global growth, and company formalization. If we had to pick our one major goal it would be to expand our products and technologies into new geographies and industries: to diversify into adjacent markets. We see significant white and green-space in these adjacent markets, and look forward to bringing our advanced technologies to decrease costs, increase efficiencies, and drive sustainable use and production of energy.
In 2012, Artspan’s focus will be on putting the pieces in place to ensure future growth. To that end, the main goal is expanding our net membership by 1,000 at end of year, setting the pace for accelerated growth thereafter. Three elements will contribute to achieving this goal: expansion in North America, driven by special promotions, partnerships and increased online ad presence; the launch of Artspan.de in Q1, the next step in our European expansion, which began with the Artspan.co.uk launch this past fall; and improved artist member retention by adding more value to our services, the most important of which will be new site-wide e-commerce offerings.