The New Jersey Tech C0uncil, which provides technology companies with access to financing sources and other services, rebranded itself as TechUnited:NJ.
Executives of the New Brunswick-based organization, which was founded in 1996, explained the move at a virtual town hall on June 15. Members were “looking for new energy and a higher bar of excellence,” Chief Executive Officer Aaron Price said during the event in explaining the rationale for the change.
Price, who took over as CEO when a company he founded – Propelify – merged with NJTC in 2019, added that the new branding makes clear that it remains focused on entrepreneurs here, but is also reaching beyond New Jersey. “We’re squarely focused on what we can do for the state,” Price said. “But we are aware that we are located between two large markets in New York and Philadelphia.” The newly rechristened TechUnited:NJ would work with businesses “across the river or across the globe.”
The organization has set out to “make sure we provide value … that cannot be ignored,” Price added. “We can get you in front of people who can accelerate your business.”
A question from a town hall attendee about how the organization can increase venture capital deal glow gave Jasmine Hoffman, TechUnited’s head of experience, an opportunity to describe Startup Showdown, a video series in which three new businesses make pitches to three investors. “To my knowledge, almost every company on the show has had contact with investors,” sometimes from the audience.
In an interview after the town hall, Price described some of the changes members could expect. “Last year we hosted over 100 live events before the pandemic hit,” he said. “We made a deliberate choice to decrease the number of in person events so we could increase the quality.”
COVID-19 has also brought changes, as it has at other organizations. “We were doing things on Zoom well before the pandemic, and obviously now we’re doing everything on Zoom and we expecte to at least now for the end of the year.”
Price also highlighted TechUnited:NJ’s efforts to promote inclusivity. “We thought about that positioning well before you know a lot of what’s going on in the world,” he said, adding that technology is not generally not known for being inclusive.
“The reason we went with this name is that there’s some real magic that happens when you unite communities, in this case, the technology community,” he explained. “I also want to make sure that we’re creating that value and that magic for all kinds of people from all different genders and backgrounds and and races. So I think it’s worth highlighting that that’s a significant focus for the organization from here on out.”
Watch the full interview here.
The article was updated at 1:40 p.m. EDT on June 16, 2020 to include comments from an NJBIZ interview with Aaron Price and a link to a video of that conversation.