NVP introduces latest accelerator cohort of 9 up-and-coming tech firms

By ROI-NJ Staff
Newark | May 7, 2019 at 12:55 pm

The new class of nine Seed and Series A companies makes up one of the largest classes in the Newark Venture Partners Accelerator Program.

But the more impressive statistic regarding this spring’s cohort is how many rounds of cuts they survived to make the group.

More than 2,000 companies were screened by NVP during the process, and approximately 350 earned follow-up phone interviews and 57 produced demos before the final group was selected.

The process was arduous, but one that NVP founder Donald Katz feels is necessary in the group’s efforts to bring the next generation of talented tech companies to Newark.

Katz, the founder and CEO of Audible, is eager to do all he can to help.

“I’m thrilled about the quality of companies joining the spring class as NVP continues to make amazing progress to spawn the next Audibles in Newark that will create jobs and taxable revenue for the city,” he said.

“These early-stage companies will have access to the incredible domain expertise of Audible employees and our corporate partners, and they’ll discover — as Audible did in moving here in 2007 — that Newark is a frontier for innovation and growth.”

This class raises the number of companies in NVP’s portfolio from 55 to 64. To date, 31 of those companies maintain an operational presence in Newark. As of October, 67 percent of the program’s alumni startups have raised follow-on capital.

Tom Wisniewski, managing partner at Newark Venture Partners, said Newark benefits as much as the companies.

“With each cohort, we are seeing increased interest not only in the NVP Labs program, but in the city of Newark — and that shows a much deeper kind of traction,” he said.

“The NVP Labs program isn’t just growing B2B tech startups, it’s growing an ecosystem where all kinds of startups can thrive. That opens a world of possibilities for the Newark community.”

Admission to the program includes an initial investment of $120,000, space within NVP’s coworking offices, housed in the same building as Audible and Rutgers Business School, as well as guidance from an in-house growth team and robust mentorship network.

The fund’s corporate partners, Audible (an Amazon Company), Dun & Bradstreet, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Panasonic Corp. of North America, Prudential Financial, RWJBarnabas, TD Bank through the TD Charitable Foundation, Fidelco Realty Group and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority are especially engaged with NVP Labs companies, providing market-based insight, technology assistance and high-level networking opportunities.

At the close of the 12-week program, NVP guarantees a minimum additional $100,000 follow-on funding to participants in their next fundraising round, and potential to receive up to $1 million from its direct funding arm.

Dan Borok, managing partner at Newark Venture Partners, said he hopes this cohort is set up for success.

“This cohort was selected from our biggest pool of applicants yet, and it’s raising the bar for startups in Newark,” he said. “Having our corporate partners engaged with us from the selection process, through mentoring, and often pilots, gives our companies market validation that is really valuable as they get to scale.

“The best founders want to be where the best resources are — and you cannot find better than Newark’s corporate community.”

The selected companies:

  • Augmented Review: Brooklyn, New York — The product design process takes collaboration from numerous stakeholders across global teams. Unfortunately, 3-D modeling software is not built for any form of collaboration, so the solution today is to render a 3-D print or physical mockup manufactured abroad. This delays projects by months and adds substantial costs. With Augmented Review, industrial designers can share any 3-D model to a colleague in a WhatsApp-like platform where it can be viewed in Augmented Reality and commented on in real time. With partners such as American Standard, design validation happens anytime, anywhere and from any device.
  • EVO: Atlanta — Traditional life insurance companies are feeling threatened by data-driven insurance startups that use connected health data to price policies more affordably and without blood testing. EVO brings this capability to the traditional players with an off-the-shelf health engagement platform and proprietary data insights, allowing for insurers to track member behaviors and improve upon existing risk assessment models. On behalf of top reinsurers and carriers globally, EVO has collected data from over 20,000 members across 29 different countries with proven engagement of 3x higher than previously observed.
  • PeduL: Newark — Corporate recruitment for student talent is more competitive than ever, and wide-reaching efforts must be made in order to get access to a diverse student population. PeduL transforms this effort from a physical, laborious one to a digital solution. With a network of over 500,000 students looking for financial support to further their educational goals, PeduL contracts with Enterprises to market custom financial scholarships where corporates can engage with thousands of applicants and convert best-fits to internship and full-time positions. PeduL has been featured in Forbes, NBC, Inc., Cheddar and Bloomberg.
  • Riskcast: New York — Over 70% of construction companies still use paper and pen for field data collection. This results in weeks of delay in field labor and production insights, resulting in more than 80% of projects exceeding budget and $178 billion spent on inefficiencies. RiskCast collects and analyzes real-time job site data to predict and forecast risk on construction projects. With a co-founding team with 40-plus years of construction tech experience, RiskCast is currently active on over 50 projects and proven to cut payroll errors to below 1% and decrease spend on inefficiencies by more than 50%.
  • Sensor Transport: Hoboken — Billions are lost every year due to lost or damaged goods during transport. While consumer shipment tracking is quite robust, cargo shipments are still manually delivered using pen and paper. The people doing the delivery are disconnected and anonymous. Therefore, when issues arise, managers need to sort through stacks of paperwork and old text chains with dispatchers. With SensorTransport, shippers extend their existing operational systems into the hands of the people actually doing the delivery. This digitized delivery combines seamlessly with IoT sensors to ensure the cargo is undamaged. SensorTransport is active in USA, Mexico, EU and Asia and is backed by Maersk Growth.
  • SIRL: New York — While brick-and-mortar retail is a $20 trillion market, data into shopper behavior and identity is lacking, especially when compared to the optimization and retargeting that happens on e-commerce sites today. SIRL is the only company that can track a user’s indoor movements to less than 30 centimeters via its proprietary Bluetooth low energy technology. Currently working with one of the largest global retailers and one of the largest CPG companies, SIRL provides user level data to identify missed sales opportunities, to improve operational efficiency and to retarget the shopper after leaving the store.
  • Talentwall: Chicago — While startups and enterprises have embraced the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to log and track candidate activity, these platforms are not optimized for the way recruiting has evolved into a team sport. Recruiting leaders, hiring managers and executives need fast visibility into funnel volume, diversity, candidate communications and conversions to make quicker, more informed decisions. TalentWall sits on top of the ATS and brings all of this most relevant data to the surface in a simple, single glance interface. Hiring teams from WeWork to Flexport to Peloton use TalentWall as their daily source of truth, and as a result are saving hours per week, reducing their average time to hire and improving candidate experience.
  • Time Study: New York — A large portion of the $300 billion in hospital administrative expenses can be attributed to time tracking across dozens of criteria to meet financial requirements for areas such as Medicare reimbursement and grant compliance. The current solution for administrators is to manually gather data from over 100 different hospital stakeholders and to painstakingly calculate reports. Time Study leverages machine learning and predictive analytics to automate time submissions, tracking and reporting, all via one platform and with a few clicks. Time Study is implemented in over 30 hospitals within the largest health systems, saving time for over 20,000 end-users and avoiding millions in potential fines for noncompliance.
  • Vectorly: New York and Bangalore, India — Online video accounts for 80% of online traffic, and consumers are ever more demanding for a fast, smooth and easy user experience. Video companies spend $15 billion a year on cloud infrastructure, and this will only continue to grow as more people watch 4K content on 5G networks. Vectorly leverages patented AI and computer vision technology to transform video from pixels to mathematical equations, compressing videos by 50x while also improving quality. Hailing from MIT, the Vectorly team is currently piloting with a handful of beta clients with major video players waiting for access.

This cohort will have access to an expanded growth team. In addition to the program’s full-time growth director, sales adviser and its team of subject matter experts, the fund recently hired Sean Simons, an Essex County native, to manage a team of entry-level sales development reps to assist in outbound prospecting.

The group of four students are studying subjects including international business and finance at Rutgers-Newark, Rutgers-New Brunswick and Montclair State University.

NVP Labs Director Allison Williams expects the additional services to pay off.

“Our in-house growth team and go-to-market strategists are part of what makes NVP unique,” she said. “Adding some fresh, eager talent to the mix is a great way to boost that support for our founding teams, and it’s the kind of learning experience that can really fast track the start of a career.

“By the end of this program, we expect to see significant growth within each company, and in our capacity to support the next class of startups.”

The program aims to guide the companies to achieve in-depth strategic plans and scalable marketing and sales operations. The NVP mission is to help innovative entrepreneurs build distinctive B2B tech companies while catalyzing the technology ecosystem in the city of Newark. This is the sixth time NVP has run the accelerator program since its inception in 2014.

Newark Venture Partners was founded by Katz to grow Newark as a hub for East Coast technology and recast the city as a pioneering innovation zone and ultra-bandwidth tech center. With billions of dollars earmarked for construction projects, affordable housing, new retail development and 21st-century work spaces, Newark’s community of entrepreneurs and young talent is growing, as they look to reach New York City’s resources without its legendary cost of living and doing business.

ROI-NJ Staff | editorial@roi-nj.com | @ROINJNews