Startup Roundup: City of Newark Deploys Phone.com Service and iubble Pivots, Is Acquired
Phone. com: The City of Newark will be using Phone.com‘s cloud-based phone service for portions of City Hall and municipal offices and departments across town. Phone.com is a startup based at the NJIT Enterprise Development Center, in Newark.
As part of its ongoing technology project, the mayor’s office was looking to update and upgrade the phone service at various city departments, and to reduce the total cost of phone service ownership, said Seth Wainer, CIO of the City of Newark.
“After evaluating and testing several options, we chose … Phone.com because of its ease of use, speed to add new phone extensions, and the wide variety of features and customization it offers.
“We formed a true partnership with Phone.com that will indeed lead us to many opportunities in the year and years to come that all take advantage of 21st century communications,” Wainer continued in a prepared statement.
“What is unique about this deployment is that it serves the different needs of each department — from the city call center to police precincts, all with their own special needs, and all from the same platform with centralized management.”
Ari Rabban, founder and CEO of Phone.com, said, “We knew our service capabilities and flexibility would match the scale and needs of the City, and we look forward to furthering our collaboration.”
Rabban added that Phone.com’s service is not simply about replacing a business phone system. It also opens the door to other communication projects that will benefit the residents, employees and visitors to Newark.
“This is in-line with Newark’s overall technology enhancement projects that include recent deployment of the world’s fastest large-scale outdoor public Wi-Fi system, enhanced public information kiosks and more,” Rabban noted.
iubble: Hoboken-based iubble, a startup that came out of Stevens Institute of Technology, has been acquired by FinTech Studios (New York). FinTech Studios is a cloud-based network of curated FinTech apps, investment research and big-data analytic products operated in partnership with FinTech startups, financial institutions, data providers and strategic partners. Details of the terms of the acquisition were not released.
The startup was founded in 2014 by Kevin Barresi, a graduate computer engineering student at Stevens Institute of Technology, and Dr. Mukund Iyengar, an assistant professor of computer engineering at Stevens. Initially, iubble developed an advanced web browser and messenger app for Web and mobile devices, which NJTechWeekly.com briefly covered here, when the company was a 2015 New Jersey Technology Council Venture Conference winner for Best Early Stage Company.
The startup pivoted after partnering with FinTech Studios, which became an investor and business partner and worked closely with iubble’s founders to develop a new technology called “Apollo.” As part of the transaction, Kevin Barresi has become the CTO of FinTech Studios.
Apollois a “big-data” investment-news, research and analytics platform designed for investors, portfolio managers, research analysts, hedge funds, banks, brokerage firms, registered investment advisers, financial advisory firms, private equity firms, venture capital firms, family offices, media companies and corporations. Using proprietary machine-learning and natural-language-processing technology, it searches through news, financial data, research and blog sites to intelligently “discover” and “Smart Tag” highly relevant, actionable information and financial statistics. Apollo dynamically links any entity (company, person, place or topic) detected in any story with other relevant entities, financial information, apps, data or related links.
FinTech Studios, led by Jim Tousignant, who for a brief time ran a FinTech accelerator in collaboration with Stevens and Scivantage, curates and distributes a collection of Web and mobile FinTech apps, financial data, tools and analytics in the FinTech Studios cloud. This announcement implied that there would be further collaboration between Stevens and this accelerator.
According to the FinTech Studios website, it shares “revenue with our affiliate partners from the sales of Web and mobile FinTech apps, financial data, tools and analytics sold by FinTech Studios.” It also provides affiliate partners with preferred access to a global network of customers, mentors, entrepreneurs, venture capital firms, financial institutions, data providers and strategic partners.