Diversity, diversity, diversity: Newark Venture Partners’ latest cohort covers many industries — and half of its companies are led by female CEOs

By ROI-NJ Staff
Newark | Jan 16, 2019 at 1:32 pm

Don Katz, the founder of Newark Venture Partners, summed up the importance of the startup community the group is fostering in Newark this way.

“NVP is part of a larger ecosystem that’s contributing to Newark’s turnaround,” he said.

Katz, the founder and CEO of Audible, was part of a group of more than 400 that celebrated the graduation of NVP’s fifth cohort Tuesday afternoon at the Newark Museum.

The event featured presentations from the founding teams of all eight companies that completed the three-month bridge-to-seed program: Ejenta, Exempt Me Now, Floss Bar, RankMiner, StackSource, Upsider, Talentegy and Team Mobot.

Together, the cohort represents the industries of HR tech, voice, consumerization of health care, health tech, robotics and fintech, with founders joining the Newark community from across the Northeast, as well as North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana and California.

“These startups have had access to the incredible domain expertise of Audible employees and our corporate partners, and I’m excited to see how this class of amazing companies contributes to our efforts to tether Newark to the elements of the economy that are creating jobs and taxable revenue and validates the profound business case for this city,” Katz said.

As Newark’s reputation as a hub for East Coast technology grows, NVP, its corporate partners and its community of founders are leading the charge to recast the city as home for innovators.

For the first time, Demo Day was held in the Newark Museum.

Tom Wisniewski, managing partner at Newark Venture Partners, said the group wanted to celebrate Newark’s return to its roots as center of invention and honor the startups that hope to write its next chapter.

“This was a cohort of game-changing tech and all-star founders,” he said. “We are proud to have put our stamp on these startups and look forward to helping each of them continue to grow and disrupt how the world does business — starting right here in Newark, New Jersey.”

This cohort marked a year of growth for the NVP Labs program.

The accelerator program targets B2B tech companies with proven market traction looking to raise an institution seed round.

According to Newark Venture Partners, it is now responsible for investments in 43 different startups, 70 percent of which have gone on to raise an institutions seed round.

NVP said its complete portfolio, including its direct investment arm, totals 55 companies, 31 of which maintain a presence within NVP’s Newark coworking space. Cumulatively, they have raised over $200M in capital.

NVP Labs said it invests an initial $120,000, with an additional $100,000 at the close of the program, and potential investment from NVP’s direct investment arm of up to $1 million in subsequent funding rounds.

Companies also get space within NVP’s coworking offices housed in the same building as Audible and Rutgers Business School, as well as guidance from a robust mentorship and growth team. 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, also regularly interact with NVP Labs companies, providing market-based insight, technology assistance and high-level networking opportunities, organizers said.

The selected companies were chosen from a pool of over 1,800 companies, more than three times the number of applicants for past cohorts. Notably, this cohort includes six female founders or co-founders, four of which are also their company’s CEO.

The graduating companies:

  • Ejenta (founded by Rachna Dhamija and Maarten Sierhuis in San Francisco): The future of health care is care at home, an $18 billion market opportunity for remote health monitoring. Ejenta gathers data from wearable and Internet of Things devices and from electronic medical records to create artificial intelligence-driven analytics that help health providers to detect and predict which patients need care, resulting in reduced readmissions and increased patient satisfaction. Ejenta’s technology is exclusively licensed from NASA, where the founder developed AI to monitor astronauts in space.
  • Exempt Me Now (founded by Sevetri Wilson in New Orleans): The number of nonprofits being created in the U.S. each year has more than quadrupled over the last decade. ExemptMeNow seeks to reduce the hassle it takes to become tax-exempt and connect the dots between grantees and grantors by providing a Software-as-a-Service solution that simplifies the creation, maintenance and compliance processes for nonprofit organizations. ExemptMeNow currently counts over 5,000 nonprofits as customers, but it is planning on deploying an enterprise software solution more widely in 2019. As part of this pivot, the company will also be rebranding as Resilia in 2019.
  • Floss Bar (founded by Eva Sadej in New York City): Floss Bar is making in-office dental care the newest ‘Future of Work Trend’ by eliminating inconveniences like wait and travel time, along with pressure and pain often associated with dental visits. With a model flexible enough to work with clients of any size, it provides dental services on site for employees, members and tenants. For anything non-routine, it has a referral network of dental offices vetted and compliant with the company’s ethical standards. Floss Bar turns dental care into a key workplace wellness initiative that everyone can appreciate.
  • RankMiner (founded by Preston Faykus in St. Petersburg, Florida): Voice analytics is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 28.82 percent and is expected to be $3.69 billion by 2023. However, a missing element for companies is to automatically predict agent and customer behavior. RankMiner does exactly this by analyzing 383 signals to extract the emotions and behaviors expressed in phone conversations that lead to business outcomes. RankMiner’s national and international clients have realized business improvements of up to 200 percent using the RankMiner solution.
  • StackSource (founded by Tim Milazzo and Nathan Wall in New York City): The $3 trillion commercial loan market is currently run by brokers who are more motivated by commission than by transparency. StackSource’s digital marketplace provides a superior solution: immediate lender matching, data system integration for instant diligence and a platform to manage the underwriting process end-to-end. StackSource has underwritten hundreds of millions in commercial lending as of today, with 200-plus lenders actively involved on the platform.
  • Talentegy (founded by Shawna Berthold, Dwaine Maltais and Stephanie Ralston in Dover, Delaware): More than 50 percent of candidates will sever a business relationship with a company due to a poor candidate experience, and over half will abandon an application process because of a technical issue. That poor candidate experience has bottom line business impacts and can cost companies millions of dollars each year in lost revenue or brand loyalty. Talentegy solves this problem by applying AI-enhanced talent analytics and engagement technology that continuously monitors the candidate journey to provide data-driven insights for improvements.
  • Team Mobot (founded by Eden Full Goh in New York City): As a former product manager in the data, medical and energy software industries, founder Eden Full Goh became tired of flawed automation approaches to quality assurance, which often rely on slower, costly, manual testing. To address this $10 billion industry, Team Mobot deploys teams of robots powered by computer vision to test software across different devices, use cases and integrations. As a solution for the enterprise, Team Mobot aims to cut QA costs in half and deliver test results on demand.
  • Upsider (founded by Josh McBride and Xuan Smith in Ho-Ho-Kus): Talent acquisition professionals spend over 60 percent of their time on ineffective job boards and manual search tools, trying to identify relevant candidates to engage for their open roles. Upsider turns sourcing into a science, by leveraging AI technology to identify a comprehensive set of candidates which align with their business and role requirements, resulting in a more strategic understanding of the best possible talent for the job. Upsider also offers a set of communication tools to engage candidates. Current clients have found that talent pipelines are filled five times faster, and they are able to execute a more predictable, data-driven recruiting strategy.
ROI-NJ Staff | editorial@roi-nj.com | @ROINJNews