Tripkicks, add-on for biz travel programs, is winner of TechLaunch’s BullPen #20

Tripkicks, an ingeniously simple add-on for business travel programs that provides actionable insights for trips, guidance on appropriate spend and behavior and an enhanced traveler experience, was named the winner of the BullPen #20 event by TechLaunch, held last Thursday.

The Investor Award comes with approximately $15,000 in professional services from TechLaunch’s topline sponsors: Jumpstart NJ Angel Network, Tech Council Ventures, Gibbons P.C., Withum, Gearhart Law and Casabona Ventures.

Tripkicks also earns pitching slots at upcoming meetings of Jumpstart NJ Angel Network (one of the state’s preeminent early-stage investor groups) and New Jersey’s own Tech Council Ventures (a venture capital investment group).

Mario Casabona, TechLaunch’s founder and managing director, said the group was overwhelmed by the quality of applicants.

“Despite lockdowns and an all-virtual business landscape over this past year, TechLaunch is seeing a continuing uptick in the sheer quality and value of the applicants to our Business Program, which culminates in increasingly competitive BullPen events,” he said.

Casabona noted the quality of the two runners-up.

WearWorks: A groundbreaking and humanly impactful wearable tech company that builds products that communicate critical information through touch. Its first product, Wayband, is a wristband that gently guides a user to a destination using only vibration, without the need for any visual or audio cues.

In 2017, Wayband helped the first visually impaired person to run in the NYC Marathon without sighted assistance. The presentation was delivered by co-founder Keith Kirkland.

Viora Health: A strategic and timely solution that reduces disease progression (and episodic costs of care) by addressing rising risks due to social and behavioral determinants of health.

Viora’s personalized SBDOH solution uniquely combines algorithms with programming and facilitation to engage underserved populations to be successful with their health. Deboleena Dutta, founder and CEO, gave a strong presentation, Casabona said.

Tripkicks CEO Jeff Berk said he was honored and humbled to be selected.

“Twelve months ago, our team met together in Orlando at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “Since then, we’ve worked to create a product that would help companies restart business travel and provide employees with everything they would need to confidently travel again.

“We’re incredibly grateful to TechLaunch for giving us the opportunity to create new connections and continue to make business travel better.”

The BullPen #20 panel of judges:

  • Abran Maldonado: The co-founder of Create Labs, a social venture that brings tech opportunities to underserved communities. He is also a “graduate” of the very first TechLaunch cohort several years ago.
  • Cheryl Kallem: Managing director of Golden Seeds, an angel group that invests in early-stage, women-led companies.
  • James Barrood: Renowned leader in the New Jersey entrepreneurial ecosystem who helps companies, higher ed institutions and communities grow and drive innovation.
  • Jessica Gonzalez: A Latina serial entrepreneur who pandemic-pivoted her business acumen into creating Lux Disinfect, a company offering a complete suite of tools, products and services to help others safely reopen their businesses.

Tech startups that would like to pitch at BullPen #21, scheduled for mid-June 2021, can apply here. Applications are screened on a rolling basis.

TechLaunch was formed in 2012 to drive the commercialization of emerging technology. It has served over 100 tech-focused companies and mentored over 200 aspiring entrepreneurs.

Its focus is to screen, select and nurture early-stage tech ventures to accelerate their growth opportunities via mentoring, coaching, networking and providing access to resources and capital. Its core objective is to generate quality deal flow for early-stage investors and prepare entrepreneurs for the investor presentation.