Each year, the New Jersey Entrepreneurial Network holds a “Posters, Pitches and Prizes” event at Princeton University. The event brings startups face-to-face with investors and other influential members of the New Jersey tech community. At the March 1 event, there were companies that NJTechWeekly.com had seen before and new ones that we hadn’t.
Entries were judged for best pitch, closest to funding, and audience choice. The winners received provisional patent application preparation from the intellectual property law firm of Volpe and Koenig.
“Best Pitch” award went to Angelo Campus and Aaron Schwartz, cofounders of Terra-CORE (Princeton), for their poster, “Community Owned Renewable Energy.” The two founders are part of the Princeton Keller Center’s Entrepreneurial Hub. Campus told us that his product was a self-contained energy system that’s transported in a 20-foot shipping container.
It can be delivered to remote locations and set up in less than a day without any specialized equipment. The product provides up to 15 kilowatts of power at a fraction of the price of a diesel generator, he said, and can provide a community of 100 people with lighting, refrigeration and communications.
“This was originally designed for disaster relief, but the current market we’d like to go into is rural electrification,” Campus said. “There are 1.3 billion people who have no access to electricity right now.”
Winning “Closest to Being Funded” was PSC (Trenton) for its poster “Prevent Cyber Attacks with Military Grade Technology,” Robert A. Cross, cofounder. Cross told us that his company has been around since the 1990s, but is now recast into the “role of a startup as it commercializes a technology that was incubated within the Department of Defense for the past couple of years.” The government has invested $6 million in the technology, but “we are launching back into the private sector,” he said.
The “People’s Choice” award winner was “Waterproof Drones Position You for the Big Catch,” by Tim Doelger, founder and CEO of Cast Further (Long Branch), who is aiming his product at all fishermen who like competition. Doelger started the company in 2010 to solve the problem of how people can catch fish from a long distance away. It “morphed” into a platform that lets fishermen compete with their buddies, he said.
Sensors and devices allow the platform to measure the difficulty of each catch in terms of time, distance and the amount of pull on the line. And points are calculated from this. “We also built a waterproof drone that can cast up to 1.2 miles and drop off the line. You don’t have to use a drone,” he added. “That’s for the advanced guys. … We also have a web camera that records this [action] live,” he told us.
Ben Reytblat, founder and CEO of 3D-printer maker 3DMonstr (Princeton Junction), showed his poster, “Size, Versatility, Power To Create – 3D printing grows up.” His company makes big 3D printers with multiple extruders. Reytblat told us that 3DMonstr wants to raise additional money for a new product that can do 3D printing with metal and glass. “Our machines are already pretty unique,” he said, “but this is our next step. I want to be developing the next generation of 3D printers.”
Yuan Gu, of NJIT’s Department of Physics, presented a poster called “Environmentally-Friendly Flexible Lithium-Ion Battery.” He told us that the flexible batteries can be printed on cloth or even leather. Applications for this device include wearables, smart watches and even flexible phones, he said.
MaryJane Salvato, founder and CEO of webFlutter, an NJIT EDC company, showed off her poster, called “A video message platform, jumps ad blocking technology and amplifies word of mouth.” She said that this is an advocacy marketing platform that takes the most valuable part of marketing, which is video, and integrates it into a platform that consumers can use to provide reviews.
“The consumer goes onto a mobile platform, adds their picture into an animation, and records a 15 second video.” The video can then be shared with friends on a social platform where people will view it as a message from a friend, capturing word of mouth. “People will always take a message from a friend, but they ignore advertising online,” she told us.
Chuck Daniels, founder and CEO of D3 Unified Communications, an NJIT EDC company, talked about his poster, “Using MSPs to Growth Hack the SMB Market for Phone & Unified Communications.” The poster was arranged logically to take the user through the company’s business plan, showing how the company could scale to make money for managed service providers and itself by never selling directly to small businesses.
Two of the founding team from TOMO!, the startup that solves the problem of multiple social media “handles,” were on hand with their poster, “TOMO! Your first step towards social pollination.” They said that they had enjoyed the event and had received a lot of great feedback from the judges and others who came by their poster.