On a wintry Wednesday night, a select group of 150 frum venture capitalists, founders and business gurus gathered in the trendy W Loft facing the Manhattan skyline for an evening dedicated to the frum community’s bubbling tech startup community. . Full story, photos, video
By Zev Gotkin
On a wintry Wednesday night, a select group of 150 frum venture capitalists, founders and business gurus gathered in the trendy W Loft facing the Manhattan skyline for an evening dedicated to the frum community’s bubbling tech startup community. .
The evening was demo day for the Crown Ventures Accelerator, the first of its kind in the US. The first 5 startups to be selected to be part of the accelerator’s first class, performed before a live audience of investors prospects, their peers in the frum startup founder community and members of the press.
Demo Day began with a series of pitches from the founders of the startup. The founders of each of the 5 startups shared a presentation about their innovative companies on stage before an audience of investors and other members of the startup community. After each 10-minute presentation, question time was opened so that potential investors could learn more about these new companies. The companies were Belly/Gi Trak, TRUFYX, Musical Universe, Fluid Markets and Prettysmart.
After the presentations, the founders had the opportunity to mingle and mingle with the angel investors over a lavish buffet of sushi and drinks. Investors in attendance were VCs and business leaders looking to invest in this exciting and lucrative space.
“Until now there was a huge lack of support for technology in our community, so [Crown Ventures] It’s a great help,” said an attendee. jacob eisenbachFounder/CEO of Geeker.co.
Hershy GoldsteinFounder/CEO of FRIDAYhe said he attended the event because he wanted “to be close to the Heimishe startup ecosystem.”
“It is very inspiring to see the youth of our community following this path, which until now has not been as accessible to the people of our community,” said Goldstein. “It’s very exciting and I would definitely be interested in being a part of next year’s cohort.”
“I think Orthodox Jewish founders are talented, capable, informed and innovative, but in the realm of technology and innovation they are still underrepresented,” said Crown Ventures founder, Yehoshua Werde. “Crown Ventures was created to change that. Our vision is to enhance opportunities for Yeshiva-educated founders within the technology and innovation sector. Our goal is to create a comprehensive startup ecosystem to rapidly launch and scale profitable companies that will change the world for the better.”
jacob rabbi, co-founder of trufyx, described his experience as part of Crown Ventures’ inaugural cohort as “Amazing! I don’t even know where to start. Everything from start to finish was amazing. They were very supportive and helped us shape our company vision, make new connections, build our team, and get us to a point where we can now function on our own. The mentors were amazing. They each brought experience from their respective fields to the table. I highly recommend this to any founder or any startup!”
“It was a one-of-a-kind experience with a host of very personalized, one-on-one mentorships tailored to each startup’s needs,” he said. Yeshaya David Greenberg, co-founder of Musical Universe, on his experience with Crown Ventures. “There is no price that can be put on good mentoring, guidance and relationships. It is very valuable to be part of a great cohort that you can trust and go through the process. It is the opportunity of your life! If you are thinking of applying [to the next Crown Ventures cohort]don’t hesitate and just do it, because it will open many doors for you and give you incredible insights that will take you to the next level.”
“I think we definitely need more support for tech startups in the community and [Crown Ventures] it’s a great initiative to help promote that and get things moving in the right direction,” said an assistant who works at a Venture Capital (VC) firm.
“I think the Demo Day event showcased the incredible talent and innovation that is right under our noses in the Jewish religious community,” he said. Moshe Hecht, Founder/CEO of Hatch.ai. “All it took was for someone to pay attention and find those opportunities. Kudos to Crown Ventures for providing opportunity and access to all of these incredibly talented people!”
Yadid Y Tova Herskovitz, co-founders of RapidzApp, a prospective Crown Ventures startup applying to join the next cohort echoed the widespread sentiment that we need more technology investment in the Jewish world. “It is very difficult to enter the technological bubble of the outside world because many of us [Orthodox Jews] He didn’t go to Stanford or the other universities that most future tech leaders go to,” Tova said.
“A lot of businesses are about who you know, so if you don’t have industry connections, it can be more difficult to break into the ecosystem and raise capital. That’s why it’s so great to finally have a place like Crown Ventures where you can meet other people in the community with whom you can have common connections, and they can get to know you, trust you and listen to your ideas. This will make it easier for new businesses in our community to find investment.”
“We are here because we are lucky to be small investors in this cohort,” he said. Zach Firestone of Tiferes Ventures, a venture capital firm. “We’ve gotten to know these startups quite well through Crown Ventures and we’re incredibly impressed. Crown Ventures is providing an amazing service to the orthodox startup community and the startup community in general. All of the companies in this cohort are world class startups that deserved to be on that stage! I am looking forward to going even deeper with several of these companies and also to participate in future cohorts. Congratulations to Crown Ventures and many thanks for all you have done!”