Tech Start-Ups Exhibit Offerings and Woo Boosters

Article excerpt

The next major technology innovation might come from North Jersey.

TechLaunch, a North Jersey technology accelerator, hosted its second "Demo Day" at Montclair State University on Thursday, in which nine start-up companies pitched their products to more than 200 investors and technology enthusiasts in hopes that their products gain attention for investment.

After going through a 16-week "boot camp" called LaunchPad, the nine companies demonstrated their products at the university's conference center.

"Investors come to Demo Day to decide whether they would like to continue discussions with the companies," said Mario Casabona, founder and CEO of TechLaunch. "They aren't going to write checks right there at the event, but the demonstrations can answer questions investors have about the team's enthusiasm, commitment and their ability to get market traction."

After selecting nine companies for the 16-week program, called LaunchPad, TechLaunch invests start-up capital in the companies. In return, TechLaunch receives equity in them.

LaunchPad helps companies prepare sales pitches to possible investors, connects them with industry executives, gets firms one- on-one sessions with mentors, links them with attorneys and accountants and schedules guest speakers who can talk about entrepreneurism, Casabona said.

At Demo Day, each company delivered a 10-minute presenta-tion, highlighting the function, purpose and projected growth of its product. Most companies asked for $300,000 to $500,000 in additional investments.

Casabona said investors come to Demo Day looking for unique ideas and proof that the companies have viable products. In addition, he said investors look for ways products can outperform existing competition.

Clifton-based Hazarai hoped its pitch would interest investors in tapping into the growing "geek culture" demographic. …