Corrections or additions?
Where Are the 2000 Companies Now?
Entrants to this year’s NJTC venture fair will arrive
with high hopes. But what ever happened to companies that put their
hopes and dreams up for auction at last year’s fair? Princeton’s seven
entries comprised just 10 percent of the total. With two significant
exceptions, the Princeton-area companies represented at last year’s
fair have prospered. None can point to the venture fair as a specific
source of capital, but most say they benefited — if indirectly
— from the exposure.
and grew quickly, moving from the Straube Center to Newtown,
where it now has 35 employees. IPG Direct covers, compiles, and
news and research information in three markets — commercial real
estate, energy, and construction. (215-504-4288, www.ipgdirect.com).
With 35 employees, it offers real-time market reports, benchmark
indexes, deal-flow databases, expert commentary, and in-depth news
prize, had a different kind of success — it was sold. President
Ira Baseman’s first child was days away from being born when he closed
on his second round of funding — and six months old when he sold
the company to EurekaGGN (www.eurekaggn.com) for its broadband
of integrated communications services. Now he plans to take some time
to enjoy his baby daughter.
Baseman says that Nex-i.com received no direct investment traceable
to the fair, but that participation increased the company’s exposure.
"I would say without question that our part in the last year’s
NJTC venture fair was most helpful," says Baseman. In contrast
to the often very fancy exhibits, his consisted of a tablecloth, a
backdrop with a logo, and an investor-oriented flyer that he and
Michaud, the vice president of marketing, had put together. "We
kept it simple," he says, "and return on investment was
"Receiving the `most likely to go public" award validated
us and gave us something to talk about. It’s about presentation and
getting your message on," says Baseman. "You have to walk away
with some exposure that you can point to substantively, whether
a picture or your name in the paper, or walking away with a prize.
I’ll keep that plaque for the next opportunity."
EurekaGGN, based in Manhattan, resulted from a merger last year
Eureka Broadband Corp. (which delivered broadband Internet to
buildings) and Gillette Global Network (which provided voice services,
dedicated Internet access, and Web application services). Packaged
with the nex-i purchase was nex-i’s $10 million in cash plus another
$4 million from its investors, Mellon Ventures and LLR Equity
The 20-person office at Emmons Drive is expected to be closed.
Both Baseman and co-founder Michael Markulec were first time
when they opened an office at Research Park to do "plug and
local networks for small to medium-sized businesses. Baseman, who
graduated in 1984 from George Washington, says that in the days before
the second round of funding, he contemplated naming his future
"Series B." He declines to say what he made from the sale
but expects to "reengage in a new venture" soon.
last year but found funding overseas, from London-based Cupola
This two-year-old 20-person company at Exit 8A’s Cedar Brook Corporate
Center is a location-based wireless Internet shopping portal (U.S.
1, November 29, 2000). If you turn on your Palm Pilot as you walk
down the street, sales and special offers will be beamed to you from
"United States VCs are not very active in wireless, and European
VCs are more open, because there is a different acceptance level in
Europe and Japan," says Arshad Mashood, president (609-409-8484,
www.geeps.com). "We have $3 million in additional funding, for
a total of $7 million, and are on track for product development and
customer signups." The old-fashioned method of sending out a
plan was what piqued Cupola’s interest, but attending overseas venture
fairs helped as well.
a result of it, Knite has hired a hotshot executive and is finding
investors on its own. The arrival of David Boyer as president and
CEO coincided with $1 million in new money, including $600,000 tied
to Boyer (some of this was his investment).
"We got no money at the fair but useful contacts were made
says Boyer. The company has raised a total of $3 million and is
$2 million to $5 million for a second round. "We would like to
have two to three years funding to be able to ramp up," says
who is looking for more office space to accommodate R&D efforts in
electronics and engine technology. "Our business model is not
to go public but to license the technology to OEMs (original equipment
manufacturers). We have a number of customers, including one of the
automotive OEMs, plus a large marine OEM."
Founded to market and license new ignition system applications, Knite
has eight employees at Princeton Corporate Plaza (Deer Park Drive)
and two workers at an engine lab in a warehouse on Whitehorse Road.
The founder is a Princeton University plasma physics teacher, Szymon
Suckewer, whose son Art is chief technology office (www.knite.com).
Knite’s Kinetic Spark Ignition (KSI) generates a spark 100 times
than the conventional system for just slightly more in cost, says
Boyer. "If tuned properly it should result in vastly improved
combustion, increased power, expanded fuel efficiency, and substantial
reductions in emission. Manufacturers are having great difficulty
getting direct fuel injection to function efficiently with improved
performance over conventional fuel delivery systems. The KSI ignition
system can help launch direct fuel injection systems as well as
performance on lean burn and exhaust gas recirculation systems."
He predicts an improvement in fuel economy by 15 percent on the road
and up to 30 percent for marine engines.
The son of an entrepreneur, Boyer and his wife have an entrepreneurial
son and two grown daughters. He went to St. Joseph’s in Indiana, Class
of 1964, and attended the University of Detroit, was a sales engineer
for Texaco, served in the Coast Guard, and went to the planned
development course at Harvard. Starting at Teleflex 32 years ago,
he worked his way up to CEO of the 14,000-worker $1.6 billion company
in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. Last year he left the job, to be
replaced by the chairman’s son, and invested in the KSI technologies.
"I had a track record of consistent earnings and revenue growth
performance, and was looking around for a startup with some young
people. The KSI technology looked like it had significant potential,
and it seemed exciting to pilot a canoe instead of an aircraft
Medical Technologies has refocused and changed its name to
Inc.. It moved its office within Forrestal Village and James
the president, is temporarily housed with InsureHiTech. The laboratory
work is still being accomplished by five researchers at the University
of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Pachence says the firm has
moved to site directed drug delivery rather than oral, sustained
of drugs (609-466-8712, www.vectramed.com).
by the husband and wife team of Michael and Kathy Morell, has
from the scene. Another entrant into last year’s fair, Cell USA
Inc., has gone into bankruptcy.
Dire consequences came when Cell USA failed to reach its venture
fair target, $1.5 million. The France-based virtual instrument company
that develops "plug and play peripherals" for use with PCs
had already spent $1.4 million to get products through the early
stages. Cell USA’s products can be used in the field on a laptop;
it hoped to replace similar products that are attached to dedicated
To squeeze costs Michael Hinds outsourced to a firm in Summit and
closed his office at the Daily Plan It on Alexander Road. When the
company went into receivership in France, Hinds put in an offer to
buy the assets, including the intellectual property, for 10 cents
on the dollar. "I am still trying to raise money," says Hinds,
a former vice president of Cytogen (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Box 843,
Washington Crossing PA 18977).
The website (www.cellinc.com) is still live but does not take orders.
Corrections or additions?
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