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TechLaunch: Entrepreneur wins $20K at pitch competition

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Peter Kestenbaum, an investor in emerging firms, gives feedback to an entrepreneur during the TechLaunch competition for tech startup companies. He was one of four investors who judged their pitches.
Peter Kestenbaum, an investor in emerging firms, gives feedback to an entrepreneur during the TechLaunch competition for tech startup companies. He was one of four investors who judged their pitches. - ()

Alex Skove, co-founder and CEO of KidGooRoo, an online resource for parents-reviewed children’s activities, won $20,000 in business services after pitching her company to investors.

She beat three other entrepreneurs Tuesday night at TechLaunch, a competition for start-up tech companies. The competition was co-sponsored by virtual business accelerator TechLaunch, Morris Tech Meetup and Fairleigh Dickinson University, which hosted the event.

TechLaunch is holding five such competitions this year at New Jersey colleges.

KidGooRoo is for parents who want to see a host of programs for their children.

“We have built the Yelp for kids’ extra-curricular activities,” Skove said. “It starts with a ratings and reviews platform. We want you to come to us to find that first mommy and me swim class. … The goal is for parents to have a single interface.”

Alex Skove, co-founder and CEO of KidGooRoo, won $20,000 in business services after pitching her company to investors.
Alex Skove, co-founder and CEO of KidGooRoo, won $20,000 in business services after pitching her company to investors. - ()

Mario Casabona, founder and managing director of TechLaunch, said his company started to drive the commercialization of new technological companies in 2012.

“I figured if we could have a Shark Tank-style competition, that would be a winning solution,” Casabona said.

Applicants must have invested at least six months of sweat equity and $50,000 into their businesses. 

They were judged by investors Peter Kestenbaum, Katherine O’Neill, Ken Silbert and Frank Vallese.  

FDU junior business administration major Valeria Garcia, CEO of Park With Me, pitched an online company that operates with a host and a user. Park With Me lets users reserve potential parking space at a lower price than regular parking garages.   

“The average person spends 107 minutes per year looking for parking,” Garcia said. “That is a lot of wasted time and gas.”

Dan Rosenberg, CEO of FokisOn, pitched an app designed to limit technological distractions to allow people to maximize face-to-face interactions.   

“FokisOn builds loyalty for customers through collaboration,” Rosenberg said. “Organizations that require attendance will use a tool. … Our target is higher education.”

Rosenberg anticipates needing seven months to reach the market.

Mouli Narayanan, CEO of Zeblok Inc., pitched his business as a sensor that embeds in shoes to track a person’s pattern of walking by using an electronic biomarker. He plans to expand his business by positioning Zeblok’s first smart gait tracking/electronic biomarker algorithm as an approved medical device. 

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David Hutter

David Hutter


David Hutter grew up in Darien, Conn., and covers higher education, transportation and manufacturing for NJBIZ. He can be reached at dhutter@njbiz.com.

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