Propelify Attendees Defy Rain to Make Connections, Find Investors and Soak up Inspiration

Rain and plummeting temperatures did not put a damper on the Propelify attendees, who braved the elements in Hoboken to hear nuggets of tech wisdom and to pitch their projects to potential investors.

Among those at the festival:

Cynthia Lee, a software engineer at iconectiv, a Bridgewater-based telecommunications company, who is starting a tech-enabled business

Cynthia Lee at Propelify 2019 | William Swayze

“I think a key takeaway from this event is that if you press towards your goal, good things will come from that. The weather deterred some people from coming out today, but I had this set in my mind to be here today. I took the day off. I planned to be here. I have really been blessed by it so far. I have heard a lot of great speakers,” she said.

“One of the speakers talked about delegating as much as you can and being okay with their doing things differently than you might do them. That is definitely important because, as someone who has a small business and is trying to start up with a project idea, yes, we do things a lot of things on our own. But then you sometimes need to reach out and ask for help, and be good with the fact that it may not be done exactly as I would have done them, but it still is getting to that same end zone.”

David Barnett, CEO of of Datafy Health, a Livingson-based company with a compliance data platform that streamlines and automates vendor IT assessments, saving hospitals and their vendors time and money

David Barnett of Datafy Health | William Swayze

“New Jersey has a great and growing technology ecosystem. Despite the rain, you see more vendors here and more startup companies here. It is wonderful for our economy and certainly the tech ecosystem,” he said.

“I was surprised how many people showed up here,” he added, echoing a sentiment everyone seemed to share.

Abir Chermiti, a software engineer from Tunisia who works in the IT department of a nonprofit organization, focusing on software development during a one-year fellowship

Abir Chermiti at Propelify | William Swayze

“This is the first time I’ve attended such a big tech event in Jersey. I’m glad I took off. The weather didn’t hold people back. They keep coming.”

She noted, “Nothing can stop creativity. The people here I met and the level of support I have received as a woman in tech is incredible. Everyone is talking about diversity and inclusion and ideas and innovation. There are so many young people who have a lot of ideas and want to take over the world.”

Surinder Singh Anand, CTO and vice president of product management at Kirusa, a New Providence-based company, where he oversees software product development with a focus on communications solutions

Surinder Singh Anand of Kirusa | William Swayze

“This just shows that New Jersey is a hub for innovation. There is a lot of innovation happening and there are startups here. In spite of the weather, you have such a crowd, with people meeting people, listening to their success stories, their failures and challenges.”

Sama Jashnani, cofounder and CEO of DownToDash (New York), which connects people for social activities, sports, movies or travel; who raised $50,000 before attending Propelify, and attended the festival in the hope of raising more.

“They talk about the power of networking and how important it is to have the right connections and go out to events like this,” she said.

“It is amazing. I have met some investors and aspiring entrepreneurs. It is so great that, on a day the weather is so bad, there have been so many people who made it out here. That shows how enthusiastic and excited people are about technology and about learning more about accelerators.”


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