JuiceTank — Innovation Lab, Accelerator and Coworking Space — Takes Shape in Somerset


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Entrepreneur Moves From Palo Alto To New Jersey To Launch Phroogal

Phroogal, New Jersey startup, startup interview

“You can think of us as Google, Quora, and Yelp melded into one cohesive idea around money,” New Jersey startup Phroogal founder Jason Vitug says.

“Interesting,” we thought, so we wanted to find out more.

Most people want to know about money, where to invest it, how to invest it, what terms mean, who can you trust, who can’t you trust. All these are questions that many of us turn to Google for. However the results can be overbearing; millions of patches on investing show up no matter how you refine the search.  If information on money and finances were indexed, aggregated, and peer reviewed, it would be a whole lot easier to take control of your money. That’s why Vitug built Phroogal.

Google provides great information on so many things, but mixed into those search engine results are advertisements and paid listings. With Google, the person or company with the best SEO wins. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they have the best financial information for you or your best interest at heart. When you’re looking to make decisions about your money and your finances, this is problematic at best.

Phroogal solves this problem by leveraging social networks to form a community and adding peer reviews and suggestions. If hundreds or thousands of real people are suggesting one financial service over another, there should be merit to that, right?

That’s what Phroogal is hoping.

Phroogal is going to connect common folks that want to know about money, with recommended industry experts that know about all things money. They’ll also have technology in the background that will help users find information they need based on the user’s lifestyle, milestones and goals.

The startup, which hasn’t even launched yet, already has over 3,000 people signed up and waiting for the platform to open its doors. While we are waiting, we got some time to talk with Vitug. Check out our interview below.

What is your startup called?


What does your company do?

Phroogal is crowd-sourced financial information enabling social collaboration to share knowledge, discover new tools and connect with money savvy peers and financial experts.We are building the central repository for all things money. You can think of us as Google, Quora and Yelp melded into one cohesive idea around money.

Why is Phroogal special?

There are so much information and tools out there that can help people get a better handle on money but there is one resource that allows people to discover them. It’s a simple idea that can have profound impact on helping people manage money.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds

Jason Vitug, founder and CEO, worked in the financial services industry for 10 years most recently as VP of Business Development for a credit union based in Silicon Valley. Holds a BS in Finance and an MBA. Retired from “corporate America” to backpack around the world in 2012. I had an “aha” moment on what I wanted to do when I came back after backpacking through 20 countries in 12 months. I came back in 2013 to build Phroogal.

There is so much talk about failed startups because of a single founder. The challenges are stacked against me but my passion and work ethic has led to many small successes.

Where are you based?

Currently based in New Jersey. I lived in Palo Alto but moved to NJ to focus all my resources on Phroogal. I’ve been couchsurfing building Phroogal moving from one couch to another.

What problem do you solve?

We all thrive to learn more about money but money is a taboo subject we do not openly talk about. I’ve found that 7/10 people use search engines to find answers to their financial questions. It results in sifting through countless links, advertisements and confusing forums and vague blog posts.

Our platform will allow people to ask questions and get answers, search for topics, discover resources and connect with savvy peers.

Why now?

Advances in technology around money are outpacing adoption by those who can benefit from them. It’s the perfect time to introduce Phroogal to the masses as the place for all things money. Recently, I was discussing the benefits of budgeting and using Mint.com as an introductory tool to segue into other tools that are much more robust. The majority of people never heard of Mint.com.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

We launched in March 2013 with a landing page and received over 3000+ signups. Our blog postings have been featured in a few trade publications. We’ve been successful in obtaining an Alexa rank of 600k worldwide and 58k in the US in 4 months.

What are your next milestones?

Launch of our MVP in September. Achieve 5k signups before launch.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

People can visit www.Phroogal.com

This former Groupon employee moved his startup from Silicon Valley to Chicago!


Sverve Unleashes Bloggers’ Social Verve



There are 20 million women bloggers in the United States. Every year more women join the crowded “mommy blogger” market. There are books (of the e- variety, of course), conferences, networks, and webinars all geared toward helping these women grow their audience and expand their influence.

Few of these blogs will make it “big.” But that doesn’t mean that lots of them couldn’t be profitable. For each well-done mommy blog, there is a tribe of loyal followers that are happy to try products, read books, or take vacations all based on the blogger’s recommendation.

These women work hard to make blogging worth their time, but for all the tactics and strategies out there, it can still be hard for good bloggers to monetize. Likewise, it can be hard for brands to decide which bloggers will be the best partners for them.

Rohit Vashisht and Vikas Gupta have the solution.

Sverve is a platform that connects brands and bloggers. Bloggers sign up for the service, paying $25 every six months. On the platform, they describe their blogs, add areas of influence, and give statistics for their reach and influence across their blog and social media. They can also connect with other bloggers and endorse each other, which helps establish expertise in a topic.

Brands can also pay to access this information. The blogger with the biggest following isn’t necessarily the right person to partner with a brand. With Sverve, brands can see a blogger’s target audience, demographic, and location. The platform allows brands to launch campaigns and recruit the best bloggers to partner with.

Sverve isn’t the first company to do something like this. Social Reactor also connects influencers with brands. But what makes Sverve such a great idea is that they tap into a very underutilized market–mommy bloggers.

I have probably read thousands of blog posts in my years of motherhood. Sometimes, it’s the easiest way to find like-minded community that can fit into the hectic life of a young mom. But, as my kids have gotten older, I read fewer and fewer mom-centric blogs. The ones that I’ve stuck with–well, I’ll try just about anything they recommend, and so would most of their readers. If Sverve finds a way to help brands tap into those followings, it’ll be a boon for the brands and the bloggers.

Sverve is going strong, too. They present today at the 500 Startups Demo Day, and they’ve already raised funding from Scout Ventures and 500 Startups. Their 5500 bloggers reach 50 million followers and get 1 billion pageviews a month collectively. That’s billion-with-a-b, y’all. Sverve’s traction is so good right now, they rank #5 on Mattermark’s pre-series A list.

Most mommy bloggers do it for the love of writing and sharing their lives. But that doesn’t mean these ambitious women don’t want to support their families. Sverve is providing a way for them to do what they love.

Every entrepreneur can get behind that.


NJ Startup PoetCode Wins “Most Fundable Startup At Startupalooza 2013

PoetCode, New Jersey Startup,Startupalooza,startups,startup competitionThe “Most Fundable Startup” award at the 2013 STARTUPALOOZA in New York City has been given to PoetCode, the New Jersey-based creative content company behind the breakthrough eBook and Massively Multiplayer Online game (MMO) in one, Dynasty of the Magi. PoetCode was selected as the winner of a group of 25 aspiring entrepreneurs.

With Dynasty of the Magi, PoetCode has created the first dual-platform interactive experience that allows the gamer/reader to shape the outcome of the eleven eBook fantasy series. This ecosystem of hybrid storytelling that PoetCode has developed has been named liMMO, short for Literary Immersive Massive Multiplayer Online Game.

The Dynasty of the Magi trial version for iPad was launched on the App Store in December of 2012. The app is now in the process of being updated based on user feedback and has an expected App Store and Google Play Store release in early summer 2013.

As a result of their STARTUPALOOZA win, PoetCode will be a Featured Entrepreneur Guest at The Yale Club New York’s Private Equity Forum on Thursday, May 2nd. The New York Private Equity Forum is America’s premier business funding conference for early and later-stage companies seeking growth capital.

Dynasty of the Magi was also awarded the Publishing Innovations Awards’ Best Transmedia Project of 2012, as well as the Quality, Excellence, Design (QED) seal that serves as the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval™” for eBooks.

Visit the Dynasty of the Magi Website

Startup Front has something brewing for startups just outside of Chicago.

New Jersey Startup Refundo Puts The Bank In The Palms Of The Hands Of The Underbanked

Refundo,NJ startup,startup,startup interviewMobile banking is nothing new. Just about every bank in the world has some kind of mobile presence that can be accessed in a variety of places. Most banks are starting to allow camera phone pics of checks for deposits, even PayPal allows you to add to your account using your phone’s camera.

New Jersey Startup Refundo has started with the mobile bank. “Refundo gives millions of Americans (68MM in the US alone) the opportunity to transition into the financial mainstream, by allowing them to open a bank account right from their mobile phone in 30 seconds or less. Their mobile bank account comes with a MasterCard debit card and mobile app which will provide them with their bank balance, transaction history, access to tens of thousands of ATM and deposit locations in the US, and more” CEO Roger Chinchilla told nibletz.com in an interview.

The underbanked and unbanked tend to be low-moderate income individuals who don’t have access to or can’t afford a traditional bank. With Refundo, if you have a phone, you have a bank.

We got a chance to talk more in-depth with Chinchilla, check out the interview below:

What is Refundo?

Refundo is a provider of high-quality and affordable financial products and services that are unmatched in this industry, tailored to meet the unique needs of the underserved communities.


Refundo founders Grimaldy Dominguez and Robert Chinchilla (photo: cnn.com)

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

Roger Chinchilla CEO- Roger currently resides in New Jersey with his wife and 2 kids and is an avid open source developer. After brief stints at Queens College where he studied accounting and NYU where he studied computer science, he founded a tax preparation office in Elizabeth NJ. A year later (2005) he hired his good friend from high school that had recently graduated from college and wanted to put his knowledge to use.

Grimaldy Dominguez CFO- Grimaldy currently resides in New York City and currently controls the finances at Refundo. He graduated from Paul Smith College in NY with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Together with Roger, they built a tax practice that currently serves over a thousand clients annually with offices both in NY and NJ and clientele across the US. He currently oversees 150 professional tax preparation offices nationwide.

Bryan Amason SVP SALES & MARKETING- Bryan Received his BS Degree in CMP at Oral Roberts University, Tulsa OK. Bryan began his software career working for a privately held tax and accounting software company that was later acquired by Intuit. He worked in the tax software industry for 15+ years and has a lot of experience on how traditional tax software companies operate. He has always been ranked as a top sales executive earning ranks such as National Account Manager / Premier Accounts at Intuit. He managed a national/premier sales team of 5 while at Intuit, which managed millions of dollars in software sales.

Jeremiah Nivar COO- Jeremiah holds a BA degree in Accounting with a minor in Business Administration. He brings over 20 years of legal accounting and banking experience to Refundo. At the NYC Bar Association he was a staff accountant and handled the day-to-day activities of the association. He then became a member of an AM LAW 100 international firm for 12 years. He began as a portfolio accountant, transitioned to the role of escrow manager / banking liaison and finished his career as assistant to the treasurer.

Where are you based?

Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States

What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?

Being headquartered so close to NYC is advantage for us, as the city has a thriving startup scene and is now firmly established as the number two innovation hub behind Silicon Valley. New York City is big on several industries including tech, finance, and media, which give us the opportunity to draw on a wide-range of resources.

How did you come up with the idea for Refundo?

My co-founder, Grimaldy Dominguez, and I grew up in Queens, New York watching workers pay enormous fees to simply cash paychecks at check cashing locations. In 2009, two years after launching the accounting software company Rushtax, we realized an opportunity to help this underserved community. Many of the customers who turned to us for tax preparation did not have a bank account to deposit their tax refund. Seeing the dire need for a change, we decided to create a solution that would allow our clients to establish and access a bank account right from their mobile phones.

How did you come up with the name?

At the time, we were focused almost entirely on tax refund products, so it was a logical approach. I just added an “o” to Refund. It doesn’t get easier than that. The name complements our philosophy: No junk fees. The fees that we do charge, however, are market competitive, often below industry average, and always fully disclosed. We refund the junk fees that traditional banks like to charge. That’s Refundo.

What problem does Refundo solve?

Due to the recent financial system crisis, financial institutions began targeting those who maintained low account balances by introducing some new, and not very transparent, fees; resulting in an increasing amount of people with no access to traditional and the most basic bank products. Refundo aims to tackle these social problems head on with an incredible mobile banking experience minus the unnecessary (junk) fees that are usually associated with this type of product. Mainly founded on the principle that the underserved community deserves an easy to use and fresh alternative to banking, as they know it.

What’s your secret sauce?

I would say our secret sauce is being committed to our broader social mission of achieving long-term, meaningful change for marginalized communities and utilizing technology to make this change. With the right team -working towards the same common goal- and technologies, all kinds of obstacles can be overcome.

Are you bootstrapped or funded?


What are some milestones you’ve achieved?

Refundo now employs a team of 25 with experience from all across the financial services industry and over 500 tax professionals nationwide now offer to process returns through our program.

What’s your next milestone?

Our next milestone is to launch our mobile banking application to the general audience, people who are actively seeking a banking product that fits their need. We are currently in QA testing and expect to launch beta in March 2013.

Who are some of your mentors and business role models?

I don’t really have business role models or mentors. I just try to emulate chess grand masters.

What’s next for Refundo?

Ingenuity is what started Refundo in the first place, so the revolution does not end here. Our plan is to introduce our great product to the rest of the World. We are actively seeking partnerships in Latin America and Canada with established businesses, where the percentage of underserved customers is significant and keeps rapidly increasing every day. Three of our Four founders are 1st generation immigrants who understand the underserved community in LATAM better than anyone else. Equipped with groundbreaking technology, awesome products, and a clear understanding of the market, our team is the best for this particular mission.

Where can people find out more?

Request your invite at: www.refundo.com Follow us on Twitter: @refundo Like us on FB: facebook.com/refundos

Have you seen these startup interviews at nibletz.com?


LegalCrunch Is The Legal Zoom For Everything Else [interview]

LegalCrunch,Startup,New Jersey Startup,Startup InterviewLegal Zoom is by far the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to online legal services. Of course RocketLawyer is skyrocketing to fame as well. But, both of those online legal services target businesses. What about all the other legal work out there?

Well that’s where New Jersey startup LegalCrunch comes in. The company founded by Nikhil Jhunjhnuwala and Keval Amin, provides “…super affordable do-it-yourself kits for common legal issues, such as divorce and expungements. There are some simple legal situations where you just don’t need a lawyer, but you don’t want to make a mistake. We are a reliable alternative. We provide completed paperwork, intuitive instructions that use diagrams and graphics, and helpful phone support. All products are backed by a 100% money-back guarantee because we are that sure they will work.” Junjhunuwala told nibletz.com in an interview.

Jhunjhnuwala is the legal eagle behind the operation. He attended the University of Southern California’s Law School before turning his focus to his previous law related startup called MyRight. During his studies he found that not many people were well versed in their legal rights and wanted to change that.

Amin on the other hand is an artist by trade and the designer by choice.

Jhunjhnuwala and Amin realized that in addition to people not knowing their rights they didn’t have access to legal services. There are a lot of legal services out there that can be researched and started without employing the services of a lawyer and that’s what LegalCrunch hopes to do with their kits.

Check out the rest of our interview with Jhunjhnuwala below:

Where are you based?

Currently based in Princeton, NJ.

What is the startup culture like where you are based?

It’s small but growing. There are great co-working spaces in the area such as Tigerlabs, JuiceTank, and Innovation Garden, all of them focused on nurturing startups. I have noticed there is a preference towards energy and health startups, and more traditional business models., which too me is refreshing compared to the culture of bigger cities.

Our first startup, myRight, had a grand vision, but ultimately failed due to a poor business model and worse execution. On the other hand, LegalCrunch is in it’s 6th week and already making a profit.

What problem does your startup solve?

While in law school, I noticed that many people could not afford a lawyer. At the same time, they felt intimidated taking on the law on their own. These people usually end up taking no action, which hurts all of us. (In addition to promoting moral welfare, laws are meant to increase economic efficiently). When people don’t take advantage of the law, productivity, money, and efficiency is hurt.

From this, we were motivated to create an affordable solution. Legal self-help has existed for some time now, pioneered by Nolo, and more recently LegalZoom. However, these companies have consistently focused on business issues (as they are more profitable). There is a slow shift to personal issues as companies begin to recognize the enormous potential.

We plan on making our kits more accessible by appealing to visual learners. No one yet has tried to create visual representations of complex legal processes. Yet, this common in the sciences and other field. Khan Academy is doing a great job in showing that otherwise mundane topics, can be made interesting and understandable. Another example would be the ease of building IKEA furniture. Our kits are designed to be just as intuitive and easy for law.

What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?

We don’t have a programmer. To overcome this challenge, we have utilized the amazing number of startup tools available out there for non-developer founders. We currently run on squarespace, wufoo, and determination. These tool let us launch our website in 2 weeks. Since then, it’s been constant iteration and improvement. Rapid prototyping and testing are very important for us.

During the process, we have been learning basic css and html. Though it’s only been 6 weeks, we feel that we’ve outgrown squarespace. We might start fresh, and begin building using twitter bootstrap. Though it’d be better if we could raise money and hire a programmer instead ;D

What are some of the milestones your startup has achieved?

Since we’ve only been up for 6 weeks, we find it important to appreciate small victories. Our greatest milestone thus far has been achieving profitability via ppc. Although the sample size is small and our ppc campaign has only been running for 3 weeks, we currently have strong margins. If anything, we feel that our product has been validated.

What are your next milestones?

Our model works and is profitable, even just using ppc. As our SEO improves (we are a content machine as well), and brand awareness increases, we expect even stronger numbers. As a result, we plan on raising money so that we can expand into order states more rapidly, thereby increasing our volume and impact.

Who are your mentors and role models?

We have many mentors that come from all walks of life and we love watching Charlie Rose. For example, one of our mentors is Oprah, who has taught us to always trust our intuition. Another mentor is Will Smith, who has distilled the secret of success down to two actions “reading and running.”

What are some of the advantages/disadvantages growing your startup outside of Silicon Valley.

There are less opportunities in New Jersey, broadly speaking. Our last startup was located in LA, which isn’t nearly as popular as Silicon Valley or New York. However, even there we were constantly meeting new people and attending events. There were many business and partnership opportunities and overall “startup glamour.” New Jersey is a lot slower-paced.

On the flip side, the greatest advantage of being in a small scene is that it allows you to focus on your product. In a big startup city, you have a million people, with a million opinions. Since startup people always think they’re right, it’s easy to get swayed or distracted by these varying opinions or lose yourself in the scene. But in New Jersey, there is no noise. You can focus 100% on your product and customers.

What’s next for your startup?

Our next milestone is to raise money. We have validated our product in New Jersey and want to expand.

Where can people find out more?

legalcrunch.com Facebook: facebook.com/legalcrunch  twitter: @legalcrunchinfo

College Students’ Condom Startup To The Rescue


Let’s face it, college students have sex. Of course this is no secret. The fact that sex among college students can crop up at the inoppertune is actually no secret. Having safe sex on the campus of College Of New Jersey in Ewing Township is safer thanks to student entrepreneur Kyle McCabe.

Business Insider reported today on the college student turned entrepreneur and startup Condam. Condam is short for Condom Ambulance.

Students about to get lucky can ping McCabe by way of Condam’s website at condam.net. Once an order is placed McCabe dons a hat with a blue police beacon in the top and comes to the rescue of young lovers.

McCabe also has a more discreet package where he won’t come to the door with blue lights blazing.

The website has several condoms to choose from and customers can pick up anywhere from 1 to 10. Of course the more condoms you buy the cheaper the cost. McCabe offers express hours service from 7pm-3am Friday and Saturday nights.

Right now the service is only available at McCabe’s school, but perhaps expansion or franchising could be in the cards for the future.

We’ll be curious to see what McCabe’s future holds and what other businesses ideas he comes up with. Condam definitely makes for an interesting “lemonade stand” business.

PulseWallet The Mobile Wallet Startup We Knew Was Coming. Video Interview

PulseWallet, Mobile payments, NJ startup,startup,startup interviews, Eureka Park, CES 2013With companies like Google, Paypal and now Isis looking to become the mobile wallet company of choice, there are already new technologies popping up that will make those three alternatives look archaic if executed correctly.

New Jersey startup PulseWallet is ready to challenge the big companies that are pouring millions of dollars into their mobile wallet products with the touch of a finger.  PulseWallet’s technology will allow users to keep their wallet information protected and then ready to use via their own finger.

In this video interview they tell us that it’s not a finger print technology but rather biometric security. When the user couples their own finger with a four digit pin, it’s an easy, safe and secure way to pay. Forget using your phone as a mobile wallet with NFC or QR codes, PulseWallet tells us that the future of payment technologies is here.

Imagine going to a gas station or a restaurant and just using your finger to pay.

We got to interview PulseWallet founder Matt Saricicek the cofounder of Pulse Wallet in Eureka Park at CES 2013 earlier this month. It seems this team is onto the future of mobile wallet technology, before the big boys even have their systems in full use.

Check out our interview video below and for more visit pulsewallet.co

It’s not too late to get your startup into the biggest startup conference in the U.S. everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference

12-12-12 Concert Shows The Importance Of Startups Like New Jersey’s Pre-Digital Project

Pre-Digital Project, New Jersey startup,startups

This photo was shared at the Pre-Digital Project, a New Jersey startup

The 12-12-12 concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City, last night, was broadcast to billions of people around the world. The concert was an effort reminiscent of Live Aid in 1985 or the concert to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. Even before some very high profile celebrities took to the phone banks to answer donation calls, over $30 million had already been collected by the Robin Hood Foundation who will distribute those funds to victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Halfway through the concert we received a tweet asking if we could do a simple RT for a New Jersey Startup called Pre-Digital Project.  After checking the startup out a bit we decided to not just RT them but report on what they’re doing and how it’s connected to events like Hurricane Sandy.

Although they launched in June, a couple of months before Hurricane Sandy ravaged the mid-atlantic and north eastern United States, world changing events highlight one of the purposes behind the startup.

The Pre-Digital Project is a “then and now” photo archive to show off old photos of locations, landmarks and places. The site shows off user submitted photos dating back to the 1800’s from across the country. It’s a crowd-sourced pre-digital, digital archive, which is of course where the startup took it’s name from.

A lot of the photos are from New Jersey and surrounding areas and others are from as far away as London and the Philippines.

The digital archive has a unique spin and it’s great to have everything all grouped together. Some of the more popular photos include photos of the New York skyline prior to September 11th.  Others highlight monuments like Buckingham Palace and the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.

There are also several photos of Atlantic City, the Jersey Shore and parts of New York that were beaten down by Sandy. Many images that could never be captured again. Through the Pre-Digital Project, users can save their memories and share them with other people for decades to come.


Checkout the Pre-Digital Project, here

Here are more startup stories from nibletz, the voice of startups everywhere else. 

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New Jersey Startup Vidyo Powering Video Chat On Wii U (And Google Hangouts)

Nintendo Wii U,Vidyo,video conferencing,Google+ hangouts, Google+, New Jersey startup,startup,startups,startup newsNew Jersey video conferencing startup Vidyo has probably outgrown the title “startup”. Their completely scalable video conferencing solutions can be found powering such high profile video services as Google+ Hangouts, NTT, Philips and more. Now it’s been reported that the company is powering the all new video chat feature found in the Wii U game system that debuted in stores across the country yesterday.

Wii U’s video platform can be found in their new improved MiiVerse service and is used with the camera built into the new Nintendo Wii U control pad.

We’re trying to bring video-conferencing to the world,” Vidyo chief executive Ofer Shapiro told Venturebeat.com’s John Koetsier. “We want to carry it to the masses.”

Vidyo isn’t necessarily taking on Skype but rather looking to put video conferencing in the living room. Having the ability for video conferencing in the living room opens up an entirely new world for content creators, both novice and professional.  Also, with systems like the Wii U you can easily have whole family video chats using the tv as the monitor, no matter what it’s size.
Google+ Hangouts are incredibly easy to set up. It’s just one click within the Google+ network. Video chatting on the Wii U is even easier than that. It doesn’t require firing up the computer and getting on Google+. Let’s face it we’re probably looking at the possibility of much bigger scale utilizing the Wii U than the Google+ platform. Several quarters ago Google stopped reporting growth numbers for Google+.
Video integration with the Wii U also cuts the barrier to some people who are more comfortable with gaming systems and stay away from the computers.
While the video quality on the Wii U console is not “professional” it’s still “excellent” for the home use according to Shapiro.
The Wii U launched yesterday morning in the United States. Nintendo packaged two different bundles, a white “basic” system with 8gb of storage and no included game and a black deluxe system with 32gb of onboard storage, packaged with Nintendo Land.
Analysts are expecting the Nintendo Wii U to be one of the most popular gifts this holiday season. Most major big box stores have depleted their stock and are unsure if they will get another shipment before Christmas and Chanukah.

New Jersey Startup SmartTests Streamlines Professional Test Study Guides

Are you a licensed real estate agent? Do you have your series 7? Are you a CPA? If you answered yes to any of those three questions and you’ve become licensed, or taken your test in the last few years it may have involved a mobile app study guide. More and more professional accreditation and licensing tests have started to offer their study materials for mobile devices, and specifically smartphones.

Bryan Van Demark, the cofounder of New Jersey startup SmartTests discovered first hand how cumbersome study apps can be for professional testing when he was studying for the CPA exam.

In researching this story we found that the study apps available for real estate licenses and CPA certifications were either inundated with extra buttons and functionality no sane person would need, or so light, you might as well be looking at your test study materials on a text editor.

SmartTests has solved that problem by offering the most robust study materials in an easy to understand, easy to navigate and appealing UI. The SmartTests team has baked functionality into the app study guides for the CPA exam, based on the way professionals actually study.

Currently SmartTests is available in a whole suite of apps for the Roger CPA Review. The company plans on building on the success of their Roger apps by offering study guide apps for similar, important professional testing.

Sure this may not be the sexiest startup, but it’s definitely one of the most useful, especially taking into consideration the fact that tests like these often lead to more lucrative career opportunities.

We got a chance to talk with SmartTests Co-Founder John Ceniza. Check out our interview below.

Read More…

SXSW Eco 2012 – NJ Startup: Staxxon Dynamic Container Systems



New Jersey/Ohio startup Staxxon is working to address one of the largest inefficiencies in the logistics industry – the empty shipping container.  Every year hundreds of millions of shipping containers are shipped empty taking up space, using valuable natural resources, and wearing out equipment.

According to Tom Stitt, Staxxon’s corporate development director, the company’s founder was inspired to begin working on a new container design while driving one of his daughters to college. “George [Kochanowski] kept seeing piles of containers [along the roadway] and thought there had to be a better way to deal with them than stacking them high,” says Stitt. ¹

Staxxon has created an “accordian-like” shipping container that can be folded to 1/5 it’s size.  This allows 5 empty containers to take up the space of just one container.  It doesn’t take much imagination to see how this could significantly alter the practices of logistics companies.  Each container takes up space on trucks, trains, and container ships, as well as shipping yards.  In April of this year they received a CSC Certificate for its 20′ container design and was issued the BIC registration code STXU for its test and trial containers. Below we have an in-person demonstration of the benefits via legos:

More details regarding Staxxon’s Dynamic Container Systems from their FAQ:

What technology and products is Staxxon developing?

Staxxon has developed, patented, prototype and obtained certification for a shipping container design that allows up to 5 empty containers to be folded, nested and moved in the same space as 1 container. In addition, Staxxon is developing an integrated system to support high speed folding/nesting and unfolding/un-nesting at terminals and depots that includes support for space/slot optimized freight bookings and related terminal/depot/ship/rail/truck workflow information technology.

Who will be Staxxon’s customers?

Staxxon will license  its container, folding nesting system and related information technology to its customers. This means that a container fleet owner/operators – carriers, leasing companies, governments – can continue to work with existing container vendors/manufacturers. Terminal/depot operators will be able to source the folding/nesting system from current suppliers. leading freight booking and terminal operating system providers will be able to integrate Staxxon’s information technology.

How much does Staxxon’s technology cost? How much will a container with Staxxon technology cost?

Staxxon’s business model is based on licensing its intellectual property, designs and know-how, not manufacturing. Container fleet owner/operators will continue to source containers from their current vendors at prices negotiated by the fleet owners/operators. Staxxon will support existing container manufacturers with assembly line configuration, sourcing, training, inspections and certification services. Staxxon’s target cost for a container that includes Staxxon technology is in a range that provides the container fleet owner/operator a 100% return on the total investment, including operating costs unique to Staxxon’s technology, over a 24-30 month period. *Emphasis mine


Staxxon homepage

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Startups from Everywhere Else finally have a conference for them


New Jersey Startup: Hublished Is The Virtual Convention Connection INTERVIEW

Webinars have quickly become a new and great way to continue education and get large groups of people to view and hear presentations that they may not otherwise get a chance to attend. Major brands, educational firms, consultants and business development experts have all turned to the webinar format.

One of the main problems with the webinar format though is without a marquee speaker or presenter it’s hard to distinguish the junk and hacks from good quality content. You can sometimes make a safe assumption that various organizations would only put their stamp of approval on the best webinar speakers, however, as many have found out the hard way, that’s not always the case. Once you’ve committed yourself to an hour, three hour or even five hour webinar, the time is gone.

Hublished is a startup based in New Brunswick New Jersey and New York that aims to take the pain out of webinar presentation and discovery. They hope to become the go-to place for webinar content that’s been vetted and reviewed so that your webinar experience is educational and great quality.

Hublished has two customers the publishers and the end-users. The publishers now have a place to go to place all their upcoming webinars. They can also archive their old webinars on hublished.

We got a chance to interview the Hublished team, check out the interview below.

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Interview With New Jersey Startup: Clipix, Pinterest For Everything

Bookmarklets are nothing new, however Pinterest turned the concept of bookmarkletting into a world wide phenomenon. Pinterest has turned itself into a company with an astronomical valuation and no direct revenue, by simply bookmarkletting “Pinning” photos on interest boards. Heck even President Obama and Mitt Romney are doing it.

But what if you wanted to go beyond just pictures. What if you wanted to pin websites, articles, heck even word documents and pdfs? Well you would turn to Fort Lee, NJ based startup Clipix. The company, founded earlier this year has already attracted the attention of both TechCrunch and Mashable and now we’ve had the chance to interview them.

For starters they’re very very feature rich and the features don’t just sound great they work great. One of their most popular features is “Price Drop”. Clipix knows when you’ve clipped something that’s from a retail website and notifies you at set variables when they price either drops by percentage or to a certain dollar amount. Sure there are other services that do this but it’s all in one.

The other big feature is the ability to clip things from documents and pdf’s which can come in handy later on. Then you can view the items you’ve clipped via mobile device. It’s actually rather amazing.

You’ll see in the interview below, why Clipix is considered the “Pinterest for the real world”.

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