With the pandemic seemingly coming under control — and the state beginning to reopen — many think people are ready to go out and cut loose.
So, perhaps it only makes sense that the winner of the Investor Award at BullPen No. 21 from TechLaunch was the first entertainment company to take the top prize.
TheClub, an interactive live streaming app for partygoers to find and enjoy DJs and parties, was selected as the winner.
The company, formed in 2020 during the pandemic, has raced to fruition with its creation of an ideal simultaneous virtual party to help nightclubs and DJs better engage and monetize their audiences.
TheClub founder and CEO Darrel Frater said he was happy to take the top prize, happier still for the experience.
“It was a pleasure working with my mentor, Cristian Ossa, and the feedback provided by the judges during the competition was absolutely phenomenal,” he said. “The entire experience was very helpful for me as I continue to iterate on my pitch and my business.”
The victory will give TheClub $15,000 in professional services from TechLaunch’s elite band of New Jersey-based event partners: Jumpstart NJ Angel Network; Tech Council Ventures; Gibbons Law; Withum; Gearhart Law; and Casabona Ventures.
TheClub also gets a pitching slot at upcoming meetings of Jumpstart NJ Angel Network and the venture capital investment group Tech Council Ventures.
TechLaunch founder and Managing Director Mario Casabona said the depth of talent of the presenters was impressive.
“These presenters truly highlight TechLaunch’s reach and impact in an increasingly diverse community of startup technologies,” he said. “I’m continuously impressed with the degree of talent and passion among our BullPen applicants, and eternally grateful for the generosity of our mentors who make such a difference in these entrepreneurs’ futures.”
Casabona pointed to two others of note:
Cultivate Health Systems: Presented by CEO Owen Burns, Cultivate Health Systems offers a hands-free health care voice-assistant technology called EMT ASSIST, which provides real-time actionable guidance for emergency health care clinicians in the field. Burns said its interoperable data makes health care networks both safer and more efficient for greater pre-hospital experiences with more positive patient outcomes.
Trustd: Presented by CEO Murat Sonmez, Trustd offers a business-to-business solution for property managers to solve the problem of guests behaving badly. Sonmez said the system seamlessly integrates with partner booking systems, helping property managers to mitigate guest risks and lower their operating costs on rental properties.
The following served as judges:
- David Stengle: Founder and CEO at Board++ and Princeton director at Startup Grind;
- Jessica Gaffney: founder and CEO at WAVEWORK Inc.;
- Will Lutz: General manager for entrepreneurship, commercialization and enterprise development at New Jersey Innovation Institute;
- Sharon Waters:Managing director of JumpStart NJ Angel Network and CEO of Waters Strategies.
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