Tech Launch has graduated its first accelerator class, including MMGuardian Parental Control. What is next for the startups?
On November 14, 2012, Tech Launch — the first tech accelerator supported by the state of New Jersey — graduated its first class of companies during a Demo Day that clearly showed how an intensive education and mentoring program like Tech Launch can help entrepreneurs turn an idea into a business.
It goes without saying that the 10 teams enrolled in Tech Launch have come a long way since they presented their ideas, hoping to be accepted , to Mario Casabona and his group at the accelerator.
Some background on Tech Launch: in the summer of 2011, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), in conjunction with the N.J. tech and angel investment communities, devised the idea for the Edison Innovation Tech Accelerator Initiative.Under the plan, the state would contribute $150,000 per year for three years to partially finance a program through which innovative tech startups could be nurtured and receive funding. An industry partner would contribute equity and administer the program.
After a lengthy selection process, Casabona, of Casabona Ventures (Kinnelon), was chosen to organize the accelerator program, which he named Tech Launch. He called the program’s training component LaunchPad. In late April, Tech Launch began accepting applications, and in August, the accelerator announced its first class. It included the startups CodeSquare, Echolocation, Flying Kick, LivinSport, NickelBus, NuSkool, Pervasive Group, Photoflow, QuickCliqs and SeamBLiSS.NJTechWeekly.com covered the new companies’ interim pitches in a two-part article here and here.
Given all the press coverage following Demo Day (links provided at end of this article), NJTechWeekly.com wanted to present a different spin on things — the companies’ plans going forward.
Specifically, we asked if the companies were staying in N.J., the state that had nurtured their fledgling ideas. This was important given the Garden State’s participation in financing these young companies. Yet N.J., wisely, had attached no strings to financing the startups, not requiring them to stay within the state’s borders.
Most of the companies enthusiastically replied that they would be staying in the Garden State.
CodeSquare, for example, said, “We are! Jersey City is where we call home. We have great connections to the shore, New York and Philadelphia. And New Jersey is as close as you can get to Silicon Alley while keeping your New Jersey license plates.”
Flying Kick, whose product is ZenMenu, is also staying here. Cofounder Luis Croussett said, “We are currently in Clifton but would love to be in the Jersey City/Hoboken area.”
LivinSport plans to relocate to the NJIT Enterprise Development Center (Newark). “We want to be part of this growing tech community in New Jersey and contribute toward that,” founder Jason Webley said.
Pervasive Group, the company that makes the MMGuardian app, will be located in Montclair until January but is looking for coworking options in Hoboken and Jersey City.