BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Propeller Fest: Region’s First Tech, Business Summit

By Erin Delmore
Correspondent

Short Hills native Aaron Price started the New Jersey Tech Meetup six years ago. Now, he’s taken his idea to Hoboken’s Pier A for Propeller Fest, the region’s first ever tech and business summit.

“I realized that the region was overdue for an event that brought together the entire startup and corporate innovation community. And what better place to do so than right here in Hoboken with this amazing view? We thought we were uniquely positioned to do something that brought everyone together. So that’s exactly what we’ve done and so today we have exhibitors from small start up companies to much larger stage companies that have received early stage funding companies that are almost near IPO, and everything in between, and it’s been really thrilling to see everyone get involved and buy into this vision and be so excited to be here,” Price said.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer welcomed the crowd, one of around 100 scheduled speakers.

“So if you’re thinking about starting up a company, we want you here in Hoboken,” Zimmer said.

Thousands of entrepreneurs flooded the lawn lined with booths from area companies, games, food trucks, even a drone obstacle course. Discount shopping website Jet.com’s team is headquartered in Hoboken.

“We really have the best of both worlds, opportunity here, we’re right by the city, but we’re also in New Jersey so we can really draw people from all over the place. It’s given us a great community to integrate with local technologists and other folks so it’s really a best of both worlds location,” said Aimee Gerzofsky, tech recruiter for Jet.com.

Stevens Institute of Technology showed off a 3D immersive virtual reality system.

“We used LIDAR scanning technology — laser range imaging developed by the design manufacturing institute at here at Stevens — to scan a quarter-mile of forest in northern New Jersey and the virtual reality environment recreates that forest,” said Seth Cluett, assistant professor of music and tech and assistant professor of art and technology at Stevens Institute of Technology.

Audible.com is headquartered in Newark. Staff saw today’s festival as an opportunity to introduce their business and recruit talent.

“The company’s growing; we’re one of the fastest-growing companies in New Jersey and we’re eager to meet people who have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to be part of that journey we’re on,” said David Reid, head of app design and user experience for Audible.

“I’m hoping to learn a lot more about the tech industry, learning how people think. I deal with a lot of tech clients and this helps me get into their mind frame of what they’re thinking about, how they go through their process,” said entrepreneur Richard Swann.

“The world has changed, technology has change, so wither you’re looking to make a carrier change because you realize you know there’s a lot of ubers trying to disrupt a lot of taxi industries and if you want to be apart of one of those companies than this is a place where you can meet them,” Price said.

The festival founder Price told the entrepreneurs in the crowd there could be a million great ideas on this lawn. The only thing that matters is if you propel them to take flight.