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Newark Venture Partners Demo Day showcases new tech companies

David Hutter | NJ Biz

Early stage venture capital firm Newark Venture Partners hosted Demo Day on Tuesday afternoon, showcasing companies who have grown under its direction.

Newark Venture Partners operates through a direct investment arm and a bridge-to-seed accelerator program called NVP Labs that funds up to 10 companies twice a year. Newark-based technology company Audible hosted the event at its Innovation Cathedral.

Tom Wisniewski and Dan Borok, managing partners at Newark Venture Partners, welcomed people to the event. They said Demo Day is for investors, business people, and portfolio companies. Companies who took part in the NVP Labs in spring 2019 are Sensor Transport, Search in Real Life, TalentWall, Time:Study, Vectorly, Augmented Review, PeduL, EVO and RiskCast.

These companies represent the industries of HRTech, insurtech, video compression, health tech, supply chain tech, marketplaces, augmented reality, and wayfinding, according to Newark Venture Partners. The companies were screened from over 2,100 businesses, resulting in a selection rate of less than 1 percent.

“This cohort shows Newark’s capacity to nurture founders and companies from all over the world, in a range of different industries,” said Borok. “Whether you are reinventing how video files are shared, or addressing the student debt crisis – there is no place better for a startup to put down roots than Newark, New Jersey.”

Woman’s work

Wisniewski said his company has invested $22 million in 65 companies, each one with “an exciting business idea.” “We are proud to say that more than half of those companies are led by females or people of color,” Wisniewski said.

A panel discussion featured female leaders from Newark companies. Joanne Lin of Newark Venture Partners moderated and asked each person to mention a formative career experience.

Audible Chief People Officer Anne Erni spent 15 years working on the trading floors of Wall Street. She recalled being tapped on the shoulder by the CEO of Lehman Brothers who encouraged her to form a network for female employees of Lehman Brothers to do professional and personal networking.

All Stars Project city leader Shadae McDaniel started a nonprofit to help young people.

Panasonic Chief Marketing Officer Lauren Sallata said she learned to walk in customers’ shoes.

Jennifer Velez, executive vice president of community and behavioral health at RWJ Barnabas Health, said she is from a family who received public assistance as a child. As Velez entered her career in government, she joined the largest health care organization with a focus on people, she said.

On another topic, Velez said she is the mother of an 18-year-old daughter who is heading into college.

“I told my daughter the job that she will land when she graduates from college does not currently exist,” Velez said. “Never say I cannot. … There is an amazing young generation of leaders.”

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