Early-stage venture capital firm Newark Venture Partners hosted Demo Day on Jan. 15 to showcase companies that have grown under its direction.
At the event, hosted by Audible at its Innovation Cathedral, Newark Venture Partners Founder Don Katz, who also founded Audible, encouraged people to follow their dreams if they want to start a company.
“You have to stop and celebrate along the way,” Katz said. “[Newark Venture Partners] vision is old-fashioned capitalism.”
More than 2,600 companies applied to Newark Venture Partners seeking spots in the bridge-to-seed program. Fewer than 1 percent of companies were selected to do the program.
Seven companies gave presentations and graduated from Newark Venture Partners at the event, with founders hailing from Kuwait, South Africa, Australia, London, India and across the U.S.
- OmniX, founded by Muthia Al Sayer, is a business-to-business company that uses machine learning and computer vision platform to analyze existing company video feeds and deliver analytics and predictive insights.
- SpeechKit, a company that converts text to audio for news articles, was co-founded by Patrick O’Flaherty.
- Brahmin Solutions, a company that does sales inventory management for mid-sized businesses, founded by Brahm Meka.
- MindRight Health, founded by Ashley Edwards, provides mental health coaching via text which helps people overcome violence, incarceration, drugs, depression and anxiety.
- Botmock, founded by Obaid Ahmed, is a company that works in technology related to text messages and voicemail.
- Speak2 Software, founded by Matt Smith, is a voice software company for senior and assisted living facilities that routes a spoken request to the right support team member, logs patient activity, and syncs health requests.
- Galaxy.AI, founded by Jasjit Maggu, is an AI company that works with automotive insurance.
According to NVP, the founders for more than half this class are people of color, and across the portfolio more than 50 percent of investments were founded by at least one female founder or founder of color.
In its seven years, about 10,000 people have visited Newark solely to attend Newark Venture Partners’ Demo Days, Katz said.
“Everybody loves a comeback story,” he said. “NVP is raising $100 million for NVP2.”
Other speakers at the event included Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, D-29th District, and MoCaFi – an NVP portfolio company – Founder and CEO Wole Coaxum.
According to NVP, to date it has deployed $26 million to its portfolio of 74 startups. Altogether, those companies have raised $410 million in follow on funding.
Pintor Marin said she is introducing legislation to give $25 million to the Newark Venture Fund.
Newark Venture Partners is an early-stage venture capital firm that provides money and business advice to new companies. It 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.