The New Jersey Startup Story Roundup 2014
With so many stories this year for the New Jersey startup ecosystem, I’ve handpicked the highlights from our New Jersey Startup Digest
Every two weeks, Charlie and I write an issue of the New Jersey Startup Digest. This is meant to give the startup community a voice that reaches across the state and beyond. We go through great lengths to make sure that all of the latest and greatest stories are covered, and that startup milestones are known. If you would like to view all of the past issues, as well as check out the new ones that come out every two weeks, subscribe here.
January: Hackensack startup LiveU’s technology is heavily used in Super Bowl XLVIII
As many as 50 of the LiveU packs broadcasting everything from warm-ups to press conferences to locker room footage were featured in the Super Bowl. LiveU, a VC-backed startup, makes hardware and proprietary software that creates a broadband video uplink from a backpack. This allows broadcasters to report live from pretty much anywhere in the world.
February: Vidyo receives Series D funding and announces a partnership with Google for its Google+ Hangouts platform (total funding $139M).
Since this story, Vidyo was able to receive a Series E round in July, which brings the total amount of funding to $139 million for this Hackensack startup. Vidyo’s video conferencing platform has scaled to new heights and has appeared on a variety of platforms (even the WiiU).
March: Caktus receives $200K in seed funding for its flexible sensor The Hug.
Their device can track your drinking frequency via your water bottle and then sends notifications to your phone about your intake. They received funding from a Finland VC, Kima Ventures. Kima helps nearly 100 startups per year in a very competitive space.
April: The reverse move – startup moves from California to NJ and gets funded via crowdsourcing. Also Startup Weekend NJ winner ShopSmart becomes Retail Shopping Systems.
Phroogal, a financial literacy startup, is able to successfully crowdsource around $80,000 – which is the largest haul ever for a company of its type. Retail Shopping Systems, which was born as ShopSmart at Startup Weekend NJ, was accepted in to the TechLaunch accelerator and was able to sign on 5 grocery stores to use its supermarket navigation platform in the span of a month.
May: The numbers don’t lie – startup funding in NJ drops
It was revealed that funding for New Jersey startups dropped sharply in the first quarter of 2014. How much of a drop? About 78 percent – to the tune of $19.6M of capital funneled in compared to $80.2M of Q1 in 2013. It was noted, however, that there was less money pumped into biotech, so that was the main reason for the huge drop.
June: The Google Developer Group forms in New Jersey
Todd Nakamura, an enterprise network architect and active entrepreneur in the New Jersey scene, took the initiative to bring Google’s Developer Group over to New Jersey, which has already been making a lot of progress so far in the last 5 months. In June, they hosted New Jersey’s first Google I/O Extended Conference. Now they are working on bringing Solve for X to New Jersey, which will show off some of the great moonshot ideas in the state.
July: TechLaunch holds its demo day for its LaunchPad 3 Accelerator class
If there is anyone who has been producing new businesses for the state of New Jersey left and right this year, it has been TechLaunch. In July, they showed off their new cohort of companies looking to disrupt various industries,from the way schools and parents communicate with each other to motorcycle safety technologies. These companies, having each received $25K of seed capital, were able to all demonstrate at least a minimum viable product to bring to the market – and some were already generating revenue at the time of their presentations (more good news on one of the companies later in the year…)
August: Serial entrepreneur Marc Lore snags $55 million to build a new way to experience e-commerce
Set to launch in 2015, this new e-commerce platform Jet is valued at $100M and is going to be based out of Hoboken. Even since August, concrete information has been scarce on exactly how Jet is going to be an Amazon-killer, but this is certainly a great way to build the hype. Another nugget that makes this interesting is the pedigree behind the company – two Quidsi cofounders will also be launching the company along with Marc.
September: Lean Startup Machine New Jersey forms new startups from talent all over the state
Attendees from all over New Jersey participated in the first state-wide three-day workshop where they created proven business models. This was accomplished through hands-on learning, interviews with potential customers, and a scientific method to approaching business development.
Organized by the team at JuiceTank, the winner of the weekend was Stasher, who is working to build a way for kids to digitize their piggy banks while also helping them learn the value of a dollar. The runner-up was Cupressed, a team that worked hard to create the first collapsible travel mug.
October: FUSAR Technologies gets funded for a $500K angel round
The TechLaunch alum received $500K in funding in October based off of the technology behind their Guardian smart helmet, which has front and rear cameras, a computer allowing riders to to communicate with it. Funding was granted a mere three months after graduating from the New Jersey technology accelerator.
Their helmets are expected to be largely on the road by 2016. If you are interested in beta testing their system, feel free to send them a message (tough motorcycle drivers with an eye for safety are welcome)
November: COTA (Cancer Outcomes Tracking and Analysis) raises $3.7M in Series A funding
Using big data to deliver clinical data and cost analysis for cancer care, this startup received the funding from Series A funding from Horizon Healthcare Services. The funding will go a long way towards putting all of the necessary pieces together to launch COTA’s commercial product.
Want to learn more about what goes on in the NJ Startup ecosystem? Sign up for the Digest!
Issues come out every week, with news and stories curated by Charlie Patel and Mason Carter. Here is the signup page – it’s as simple as a click and an email. If you also have any tips on stories or would like to highlight your startup’s milestone, let us know and we will evaluate it for the Digest.
Also, if you have any other great New Jersey startup stories to share, please let us know in the comments. I would love to hear from you. You can also tweet at me @masoncarter88.