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Nj biz njtm story

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  • 1. August 5, 2013 ® $2.00njbiz.com For address or name corrections, fax label to (732) 846-0421 Grapevine Local organizers dispute reports that F1’s North Jersey race is in danger. Page 7 An eye to growth plans Hispanic-owned businesses get a boost in Middlesex. Page 5 Self aware How self-insurance offerings could save money as the Affordable Care Act rolls out. Page 5 spotlight: Banking and Finance Lenders are hoping to see an uptick in Sandy recovery lending by small companies in New Jersey. Page 15 Index Business Around the State.....2 Leaderboard.............................6 Grapevine..................................7 Opinion...................................13 Spotlight................................15 Lists........................................20 Deals Roundup......................27 Guest List...............................31 Subscribe to NJBIZ: call 866-288-7699 NJBIZ delivers daily news and analysis of New Jersey’s important economic issues online at njbiz.com. Sign up for our daily e-mail alerts, read our blogs, write a letter to the editor and more. $100M Estimated infrastructure investment required to host a Super Bowl. Security is the top driver By Joshua Burd It lacked the intrigue and the state-on-state warfare that’s be- come common in corporate relo- cations, but the sudden news that Bausch & Lomb’s headquarters will be moved to New Jersey has raised eyebrows and questions in the real estate community. The eye care giant occupies spaceinMadison’sGiraldaFarms, but has been based in Roches- ter, N.Y., for more than a century. That’s set to change following last week’s announcement that Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inter- national —  which is taking over B&L — wants its new acquisition to call the Garden State home. Valeant, in Canada, also has a New Jersey address — its Amer- ican headquarters are in Bridge- water — and has said it’s looking between there and Madison for B&L’s new headquarters. And while neither town has an insight on Valeant’s next move, botharegettingreadytoflashtheir corporate credentials as the drug- maker weighs its real estate needs. “They’re already aware of what it is to be in our township,” Bridgewater Mayor Dan Hayes said. “Now, we’re reaching out Relocation has towns hoping to court vision giant Meetups have tech startups building their networks­ — and professional services firms are taking notice See relocation on page 11 story, page 8 Eye-openerforrealestateasBausch&LombplansN.J.HQ
  • 2. 8  August 5, 2013  njbiz www.njbiz.com by Tom Zanki New Jersey Tech Meetup founder Aaron Price has little tolerance for deadbeats. Those who sign up, but don’t attend, the technology network’s monthly gather- ings are posted to a “wall of shame” that’s e-mailed to members. Do it a second time, and you’re barred from future invitations. “It takes a lot of time to run the event. I just ask people to respond,” Price said. “In addition, a lot of people are on a waiting list that would like to get in.” Price has had no problem packing them in, as the interest in industry meet- ups reflects the strong interest and grow- ing prominence of technology in New Jer- sey’s diverse economy. A recent event brought attendees from as far away as San Jose, Calif., and Finland, while the Hoboken meetups have become so popular that similar offshoots have taken root elsewhere in the state. It’s no wonder. New Jersey Tech Meetup, which was founded in 2010, now claims more than 3,000 members, making it the largest group of its kind in the state. Price, who founded it on the convic- tion that New Jersey is bubbling with en- trepreneurial talent that simply lacks a networking infrastructure, said the higher- than-anticipated growth bodes well for the state’s techies. “We’re taken much more seriously than we were three years ago,” Price said. “Now, people understand there is a com- munityhere.It’sgottenmoresophisticated.” Beyond startups The meetings provide a mix of infor- mation gathering, business card sharing and schmoozing. Meetups open with net- working, followed by presentations from technology startups and a keynote speech. After-event socializing at a nearby Hobo- ken bar or restaurant is common. And, critically, these meetups don’t only attract entrepreneurs with big ideas, but also business founders who need to assemble varying talents to launch a more complete operation. One major concern is legal help. That brought Erik Israni, a Montville attorney specializing in business and intellectual property, to the July 24 meetup. That event filled the Babbio Center at Stevens Institute of Technology with more than 130 attend- ees,manystayinglongafterthe9p.m.close. Israni said he attended in search of cli- ents who need legal counsel, noting many entrepreneurs attach names to products without researching whether those labels are already taken, creating potential copy- right infringements. “There’s a lot of buzz terms people want to latch onto, and they don’t realize they are not the first to use them,” Israni said. “People get so caught up and in love with what they are working on. They think it’s such a service to the customer, they don’t realize they need to protect it. This is a huge investment of time and energy.” Three things Entrepreneurs need three things before they can launch a company, according to Maxine Ballen, president of New Jersey Tech Council, a Mount Laurel-based orga- nization that supports the state’s technol- ogy companies: access to capital, people and the resources of a local region. Ballen said the meetups provide a simple and low-cost way to congregate like-minded aspirants. “The only way people are going to get started is if they reach out and get en- gaged at the lower level,” Ballen said. “As they evolve, they can step up to the next opportunity, like accelerators and incuba- tors. Each one of those is a key rung on the ladder, a key stage in the entrepreneur’s evolution as they mature from a startup to a fully mature company.” Ballen said certain companies partici- pating in meetups are maturing into strong operations. One example is Phone.com, which helps small businesses integrate calls, texts, e-mails, social network activity and business scheduling in a single plat- form, in lieu of traditional phone service. TheNewarktelecommunicationscom- pany ranks No. 262 on Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies. Phone.com product manager Aaron Rosenthal said the company, a frequent sponsor of New Jersey Tech Meetup, is planning to launch a product expansion in September. It values these gatherings as a Getting plugged in coverstory Meetups become a hot ticket for those wanting links to high-tech startups Jeremy Hamel, of Sproute, gives a presentation to attendees during a July 24 New Jersey Tech Meetup event in Hoboken. –aaron houston Breaking down the tech industry in New Jersey New Jersey’s technology industry accounted for 311,869 jobs, or about 10 percent of the statewide total, in 2011. Employment in the industry peaked in 2007 at 345,108 jobs. A look at the jobs: Computer systems design ......................20.4% Management and technical consulting ....11.9% Architectural and engineering ................11.4% Scientific research and development .......9.8% Pharamaceutical manufacturing ...............9.6% Wired communications carriers .................8.3% Source: New Jersey Department of Labor “The only way people are going to get started is if they reach out and get engaged at the lower level.” Maxine Ballen, president of New Jersey Technology Council
  • 3. www.njbiz.com njbiz  August 5, 2013  9 BY Tom Zanki At first, Venu Moola thought a local Panera would make an ideal venue for the first meeting of Princeton Tech Meetup. That was March 2012, shortly after he co-founded the group with colleague Chris Boraski. But when more than 60 people re- sponded to an online invitation, Moola was left looking for a new location in a hurry. “You can’t hold 60 people at Panera,” he said. The actual meeting drew about 100, Moola said, and today, a monthly gath- ering brings roughly 200 people to the group’s typical meeting spot, the Princ- eton Public Library. There lies a common discovery of participants of the state’s growing body of tech meetups: Few realize just how vast New Jersey’s community of aspiring tech- nology entrepreneurs is until they congre- gate under the same roof. “Clearly there was a need. People were lookingforsomethinglikethis,forbusiness, for networking — plus, people are always looking for a great speaker,” Moola said. New Jersey Tech Meetup may be the state’s most visible network for technology entrepreneurs, but grassroots associations to aid startups are sprouting statewide. Moola said the Princeton group has about1,500members,makingitthesecond largest in New Jersey. In addition, a Jersey Shore group is helping fill out the Garden State landscape with about 600 members. Jersey Shore Tech Meetup founder Bret Morgan recalls meetings early in the group’s history — it was founded in 2010 — when only five or 10 people showed up. Things picked upinOctober2011after Asbury Agile, an offshoot of Jersey Shore Tech Meetup, led a Shore-based confer- ence geared toward Internet and mobile technology developers. The event sold out, with 85 attendees and about 20 sponsors. “We got really great feedback from the speakers in attendance,” said Morgan, also co-founder of CoWerks, an Asbury Park provider of workspace for startups, and BandsOnABudget.com, a provider of mu- sic-based apparel and merchandise. “People said they never realized there was such a community for this,” Morgan said. “There is a vibrant scene. It’s just a matter of providing the right scenery.” For Moola, who works full time for Fleet Studio, a consultancy he founded in 2008, nurturing a tech-friendly environ- ment is especially important in Princeton, whose prized university has produced alumni like Jeff Bezos, of Amazon.com, and Eric Schmidt, of Google. Problem is, those industry pioneers took their talents west. Moola says if New Jersey can educate such talent, it can re- tain such talent. “No entrepreneurial ecosystem exists here in the Princeton area,” Moola said. “Either they go to Silicon Valley or New York City. We need a grassroots movement for creating entrepreneurs here in the Princeton area.” E-mail to: tomz@njbiz.com On Twitter: @biztzanki by Mary Johnson The expansion of meetup groups in New Jersey’s burgeoning tech sector is about morethangeography.It’salsoaboutgender. New Jersey Tech Gals, an offshoot of the New Jersey Tech Meetup, launched in January, the brainchild of two female en- trepreneurs with tech startups of their own. “There’s few women in this industry,” said Christine Curatolo, who founded the group with Sarah Himmelbaum. “Just putting all those women in the same room together, some cool things have al- ready happened.” Curatolo studied fashion merchan- dising at the University of Delaware and taught herself how to build a website when she came up with Jumblzar, an on- line marketplace for moms to buy and sell new and used children’s items that she launched earlier this year. When she needed help expanding her site, she turned to New Jersey Tech Meet- up, but very few of the other entrepreneurs were women. Curatolo and Himmelbaum wanted Tech Gals to fill that void, provid- ing an outlet for women to share their ex- periences and get the support they need to advance their businesses. Around 45 peo- ple signed up for the first meeting; Cura- tolo said membership now is around 200. Going forward, the group will aim to have monthly meetups with presentations from inspirational women in the field, and CuratolosaidsheisalsopartneringwithSte- vens to create opportunities for internships and mentorships with female students. “If you have a tech startup, it’s kind of a rocky hill,” Curatolo said. “Being in the room with other women who understand that and do the same things and can offer advice, is empowering.” E-mail to: maryj@njbiz.com On Twitter: @mjohns422 place to pitch services to startups and ap- plication developers. “A lot of what we get out of it is name recognition,” Rosenthal said. “That’s the priority for us — being right in the middle of the tech scene, trying to manage and in- fluence it and present ourselves as a com- pany that provides a valuable service.” going forward In the big picture, entrepreneurs say the meetups are providing an indispens- ablebuildingblockforNewJersey’snascent tech community, which they say is still in its infancy compared with Manhattan. New York City government is widely credited for offering more robust support, be it through grants or providing work stations. But Price said New Jersey is steadily gaining credibility, which has benefited his own ventures. An entrepreneur him- self, Price founded WeCraft, a service that helps people find craft project ideas and sells necessary supplies in a bundle, rather than requiring users to perform scatter- shot searches for items. Through the meetups, he found soft- ware developers, engineers and graphic designers — critical positions that startup founders are eager to attract — for We- Craft. Now, with several of those employ- ees, Price is launching a new social media business, Memecube. An entrepreneur’s road from conceiv- ing anideatocommercializationislongin- deed, fraught with frustration and failure. But Price said the foundations for a stron- ger tech community start with networking. For that purpose, New Jersey Tech Meetup has succeeded beyond his imagination. “It’s humbling,” Price said. “It has al- tered the reality. There is more going on in the state than people give credit for.” E-mail to: tomz@njbiz.com On Twitter: @biztzanki Getting to know you New Jersey Tech Meetup is the largest group in the state ­— but it’s not the only one. And its Hobo- ken location can be a tough haul for some. Two other meetups take place in Central Jersey — and an- other caters specifically to women. Here is a snapshot of New Jersey’s largest tech meetup groups: New Jersey Tech Meetup Founder: Aaron Price Membership: 3,032 Common venue: Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. Website: Meetup.com/NJTech Princeton Tech Meetup Founders: Venu Moola and Chris Buraski Membership: About 1,500 Common Venue: Princeton Public Library Website: Meetup.com/Princeton-Tech Jersey Shore Tech Meetup Founder: Bret Morgan Membership: About 600 Common Venue: CoWerks, in Asbury Park Website: Meetup.com/Jersey-Shore-Tech NEW JERSEY Tech Gals Founders: Christine Curatolo and Sarah Himmelbaum Membership: Around 200 Common venue: Varies Website: Techgals.com Aaron Price speaks during last month’s Tech Meetup event. ‘We’re taken much more seriously than we were three years ago,’ he says. –aaron houston coverstory Sarah Himmelbaum, of Mommies247, networks during the Tech Meetup event at Stevens last month. Him- melbaum also is a co-founder of an offshoot of the meetup, New Jersey Tech Gals. –aaron houston Techfirmsfind theyneedmore outletstonetwork TechGalscreate haveninindustry dominatedbymen

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