Newark Venture Partners (NVP) held its Demo Day this past week at the Newark Museum, showcasing its Fall 2018 cohort of eight startups. Managing partners Dan Borok and Tom Wisniewski were pleased to recognize the multiple number women holding top positions in the companies presenting that day.
“Something that’s important to us in choosing our venture partners is their ability to promote diversity in tech and so we’re proud to say that half of the CEOs with this cohort are women and there are six founders,” Borok said in his opening remarks.
The event gathered mentors, partners, VCs, angels, and entrepreneurs from the New Jersey and New York entrepreneurial tech communities. The attendees heard not just about the accomplishments of NVP’s cohort graduates, but also the accelerator’s contribution to Newark’s growing tech community.
“What’s happening is there is an amazing number of under-utilized resources here in the city of Newark, whether that’s low-cost space, fantastic corporate partners, and greater proximity to New York,” said Wisniewski.
The successful touting of that appeal by NVP is reflected in the makeup of its portfolio companies, comprised of startups drawn from London, Washington D.C., London, Tel Aviv, and from across the U.S.
NVP’s support for the Newark community builds on the initiatives set by its founder Don Katz, CEO and founder of Newark-based Audible. Audible Vice President Colin Newman who was one of three guest speakers shared how Audible offers a program that gives incentives to their employees to live and socialize in Newark. The goal is for startups graduating from the accelerator to also contribute to the community by creating jobs that benefit city residents.
So far, 31 companies from the program have chosen to have a presence in Newark and 13 of those have established their headquarters in the city.
“These startups have had access to the incredible domain expertise of Audible employees and our corporate partners, and I’m excited to see how this class of amazing companies contributes to our efforts to tether Newark to the elements of the economy that are creating jobs and taxable revenue and validates the profound business case for this city,” Katz said.
While Borok and Wisniewski emphasized the importance of diversity, all of the 1800 cohort applicants they reviewed must demonstrate the merits of their startups and their entrepreneurial qualifications to be selected into the three month program.
“We look for founders that have fire in their belly and amazing drive to create something new. We look for idealists that can grow big promote something that’s solvable, working in markets with high-growth,” explained Wisniewski.
That focus is now yielding results. NVP’s portfolio of 55 companies from five labs has raised over $200 million, achieved through 67% of labs startups receiving follow on capital.