Tuesday, May 24, 2011

iBreakfast/iEvening in NJ - A New Yorker's View

Cory Rises to a Packed House and iSpeech Silences - with Awe!

By Alan Brody

Mayor Cory Booker - the media-centric next-generation mayor of urban regeneration -wowed a sold-out crowd with his story of reaching for more. As a former college basketball player and coach he told a story of getting his team members to reach out some more. When he offered an incentive, his team reached for even more. But when a short kid whispered that he deserved the prize, Booker laughed until the kid took him up on the roof.

That’s reaching - and thinking out of the box. The kid won!

This gala event - the first in a series that opens the iBreakfast and iEvening in its decade-long mission to find the next great business and match it to a long list of worthy investors - was the perfect example of where we are. Innovation abounds everywhere and big-league investors want to reach them. These companies have local attributes and they could use the publicity and sometimes, the help. Best of all, the iBreakfast is looking to partner with local influencers like Sperlingreene and the results are spectacular.

This event with John Ason, Angel Investor (diapers.com); Stephen Brotman of GSA Venture Partners; Mike Segal of Joshua Capital, and Chris Fralic of First Round Capital found its star: iSpeech, a profitable provider of cloud-based speech technology and mobile apps will come to a NY iEvening and received an invitation to present at the prestigious Private Equity Forum in New York, to be held in June at New York’s Yale Club. We predict a VC feeding frenzy.

The other companies painted a useful picture of entrepreneurship. For obvious reasons, New Jersey has a lot of bio, manufacturing, med and pharma start-ups. But they haven’t been plugged into the kind of digital growth seen in NY and Silicon Valley. Both have something to learn. Investors need more patience and start-ups need to focus on high growth, scalabilty, ramp rates, avoiding government gatekeepers and not loving their science in front of investors. What is known in the research world as “molecule fondling.”

One presenter waxed poetic about aneurisms and morbidity rates while the panel considered either throwing up or checking in at the hospital the next day, just in case. Another spoke about helping the digital conversation of medical records with great conviction and an overdose of detail until at the very end she noted there was a mandatory set-aside of $40K per doctor in the process. Talk about burying a lead!

Best of all were the oldest start ups in our world - no one under 70! - who promoted their idea with umpteen Burma Shave-like signs and showed how their heat collector beat copper with a gangly display of copper pipe and sheeting. Their real story was their discovery of a high conduction plastic material. It could be huge. They just need the big city boost, a touch of youth and some of the 360 degree thinking we provide at our free, trademark “Power Pivot™ workshop. In short, they need  the high interaction of an iBreakfast/iEvening.

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