This Unexpected City Says It Has Everything Amazon Wants for a New Headquarters

Kansas City’s mayor reviewed 1,000 products on Amazon. Basketball star Michael Jordan wrote a personal letter to the e-commerce giant’s CEO Jeff Bezos. Meanwhile, Georgia offered to name in new city after the company.

But as creative as those attempts are to woo Amazon for its second headquarters, it’s far more likely that the big dollars that Amazon has asked for will be a major deciding factor in its location.

That likely what New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had in mind when he submitted the official proposal for placing Amazon’s HQ2 in Newark Monday, getting straight to the point. Responding to Amazon’s specific tax requests as a condition for building its second headquarter in any given city, Christie proposed up to $7 billion in tax incentives.

Amazon has said that the new location would result in 50,000 new jobs and a $5 billion investment. New Jersey estimates HQ2 could bring a $9 billion boost to the state’s economy, which has struggled to come back from the riots in 1967.

Christie said Monday that his state would be willing to provide $5 billion in tax incentives over the course of 10 years once those 50,000 jobs are added. The city of Newark meanwhile is also offering a local property tax break that could save the company another $1 billion, and is also offering to waive $1 billion worth in wage taxes for employees over 20 years.

While New Jersey’s tax incentive plan is likely the largest one put forward yet by any city, the deadline for HQ2 proposal submissions has not yet passed. Amazon is giving cities and states until Oct. 19 to submit a plan.

Philadelphia meanwhile is also offering 10 years of property tax abatement. It’s unclear how much in savings Amazon will gain from the plan. The city’s mayor James Kenney said in September that they hadn’t gotten to the specifics about those tax incentives.

Uber of dog walking? App connecting owners and walkers expands to N.J.

HOBOKEN — Emily Hammond had just moved back to New York after college in Wyoming and the animal lover was hoping to find a job in human rights. But in the meantime, to help pay the rent on her East Village apartment, she took what turned out to be an ideal temp job: walking dogs for a new company called Barkly.

“I care about animals so much!” said Hammond, 23, who also feels good about the humans who feed her dog-walking jobs. “They’re really easy to communicate with, you can tell they value their clients and the dogs, as well as the walkers.”

Newark-based Barkly — call it a leash-hailing app — was founded in Washington, D.C., in 2015, and has been making its way up the East Coast since then, expanding into Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and now, the New Jersey Gold Coast. Last week, Barkly began operating in the Hudson County K-9 strongholds of Jersey City, Hoboken and Weehawken.

“We think that Hoboken, Jersey City and Weehalken hit our demographics really well,” said Dave Comiskey, a former Defense Department analyst who is a co-founder and chief operating officer. “Younger working professionals who have a commute. Having that commute makes it challenging to care for your own pet when you’re working. And that’s where we come in: to lend a helping hand should work go long; should there be a happy hour after work. We’ll be available in under 60 minutes in all those areas of New Jersey.”

Pet owners who download the app or sign up at Barkly’s web site, pay a basic rate of $18 for a half-hour walk, 80% of which goes to the dog walker. Payment is by credit card through the app. The site also includes articles under the headings Health & Safety, Pet News (“Trump White House to Remain Pet-less”) and General Fluff.

To have their dogs walked, owners contacts Barkly to arrange scheduling and access to their house or apartment. For regular walks, particularly at single family homes, Barkly will come and install a lock box outside the house. For emergency or unforeseen situations when nothing’s been set up in advance, the pet owner can arrange for a doorman, concierge or some other third party to let the walker in, or they can let Barkly know there’s a key under the mat.

In a very few emergency situations, when there is no prior relationship between a pet owner and Barkly, and there is no way to provide emergency access, Comiskey said Barkely will not be able to walk the dog.

To protect pet owners, their pets and their personal property, Comiskey says Barkly does background checks on all walkers, thoroughly trains all walkers in the handling of dogs, and insures against theft or damage. Barkly will also arrange meet-and-greet sessions to let pet owners get a sense of their dog’s potential walker. The walkers are also insured against injury or liability, Comiskey said.

Barkly was one of nine startups in the inaugural “class” of Newark Venture Partners, a tech incubator and investment fund launched by Audible founder Don Katz. Like other members of NVP’s first and second incubator classes so far, the company is provided capital, office space at NVP’s downtown Newark location in a building shared by Audible and Rutgers Business School, mentoring and training in marketing and other business principles beyond their particular expertise.

Comiskey declined to provide sales figures for the company, but he said, “I would say we’re doing several thousand dog walks a month.”

Would-be walkers who visit the site are told, “Earn over $1,000 a month,” and asked for a name, email address and zip code, and must agree to a background check. They are regarded as independent contractors, not employees, a model made familiar by the ubiquitous ride-hailing giant, Uber.

But Comiskey dismisses comparisons between his company and the controversial transportation startup, which has been accused — unjustly, Uber insists — of treating its drivers like employees but depriving them of common employee benefits.

“Whatever it is, we will go to every lenth to insure that our dog walkers, pets and pet parents are happy,” said Comiskey, 30, who founded the company with Chief Technology Officer Jim Camut and Chris Gonzalez, the chief executive officer, both about his age. “So if that means getting the dog walker medical attention or getting a dog medical attention, we will do it.”

Rave reviews light up the Barkly Pets Facebook page. And Comiskey said the 1,000 applications a month the company gets from people who want to walk dogs is both a testament to the company’s commitment and a way to insure a quality workforce.

Canonical expands enterprise Kubernetes

  • Canonical supports enterprise Kubernetes on cloud and on-premises
  • Two turnkey consulting packages for rapid deployment
  • Support for Galactic Fog serverless, Rancher container management and Weave Cloud
  • Reference architectures for Kubernetes operations on cloud or bare-metal

LONDON, U.K, Aug 23rd, 2017, Canonical today announced two consulting packages for enterprise Kubernetes deployments, and expanded enterprise support to include serverless infrastructure from Galactic Fog, container management workflows from Rancher, and Weave Cloud from Weaveworks.

“Organisations looking for best-practice Kubernetes now have a reference architecture and specialist consulting to operate K8s on any cloud, bare metal, or virtualisation,” said Marco Ceppi, product manager for Kubernetes at Canonical. “Canonical Kubernetes is transforming how our customers host scale out, cloud native workloads, with an emphasis on portability across public clouds and private infrastructure.”

‘Kubernetes Explorer’ covers Kubernetes on a public cloud, private cloud or VMware. It delivers the reference architecture at $15,000 including training and deployment, with optional consulting for workload analysis or to assist in the creation of CI/CD pipelines in support of everyday operations with containers.

‘Kubernetes Discoverer’ broadens the offering to include bare metal operations. At $35,000 it includes specialist consulting to optimise the architecture for particular workloads, together with hands-on training delivered on site. The Discoverer package provides the opportunity for deep integration and customisation of storage and networking options.

Canonical Ubuntu is the leading OS for cloud operations – public and private – and Canonical works with AWS, Azure, Google and Oracle to optimise Ubuntu guests for containers on those clouds. Canonical also works with Google GKE to enable hybrid operations between enterprise deployments of Kubernetes and the Google SAAS offering.

“The enterprise challenge is to enable containers across hybrid cloud environments,” said Dustin Kirkland, VP Product at Canonical. “Canonical’s cloud partnerships provide choice of cloud infrastructure with a consistently secure and efficient Kubernetes across multiple clouds.”

Canonical’s Kubernetes implementation serves as a shared platform for a wide range of partner offerings, including serverless infrastructure from Galactic Fog, container management platform from Rancher Labs and Weave Cloud from Weaveworks.

“Innovation is shifting up the stack, so we are delighted to partner with Canonical to enable enterprise serverless infrastructure on every cloud,” said Anthony Skipper, Founder and CEO at Galactic Fog. “Galactic Fog on Canonical’s Kubernetes provides a multi-cloud solution for serverless computing that is operable at scale and easy to integrate.”

“Canonical’s Kubernetes provides a modern, stable, efficient base for the best-in-class Rancher container management,” said Nick Stinemates, VP of Business Development at Rancher Labs. “Our customers appreciate the business value of running container-optimized workloads in production, and seek to get there with as little friction as possible.”

“Enterprises can cut through the complexity to discover the power of Kubernetes with Ubuntu’s reference architecture and services,” said Steve George, COO at Weaveworks. “Combining Canonical Kubernetes with Weave Cloud’s comprehensive management and monitoring delivers a powerful and efficient platform for DevOps practitioners to deploy and operate sophisticated apps at scale, on any infrastructure.”


About Canonical
Canonical is the company behind Ubuntu, the leading OS for container, cloud, scale-out and hyperscale computing. 65% of large-scale OpenStack deployments are on Ubuntu, using both KVM and the pure-container LXD hypervisor for the world’s fastest private clouds. Canonical provides enterprise support and services for commercial users of Ubuntu.

About Galactic Fog
Galactic Fog was founded in 2015 with the goal of enabling companies to easily build or migrate existing applications to cloud-native architectures. Galactic Fog’s platform is built on open source and foundational components have been released as open source. Galactic Fog is backed by Osage Venture Partners and Newark Venture Partners.

About Rancher Labs
Rancher Labs builds innovative, open source software for enterprises leveraging containers to accelerate software development and improve IT operations. The flagship Rancher container management platform makes it easy to adopt, run and manage Docker containers across multiple Kubernetes clusters. It includes everything you need to run containers in production, on any infrastructure. For additional information, please visit

About Weaveworks
Weaveworks is the maker of Weave Net, Weave Scope, Weave Cortex, Weave Flux and Weave Cloud, which enable customers to connect, monitor and manage microservices and containers. Weave is open source software and contributions and pull requests are more than welcome via Github.

Video Tech Startup Vydia Debuts on Inc 500 list of America’s Fastest-Growing Companies

Inc. magazine today ranked Vydia No. 372 on its 36th annual Inc. 500 (and subsequently the Inc. 5000), the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment- its independent small and midsized businesses. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000.

“For Vydia to be recognized as part of the Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Companies in America is an incredible honor,” stated Roy LaManna, Vydia’s Co-founder and CEO. “Our rapid growth over the past three years is directly linked to the commitment of the entire Vydia team, the innovative technology we’ve developed, and the loyal support of our platform users and investors. As we continue to stay focused on empowering content creators, this honor from Inc Magazine shows that Vydia has emerged as a global leader in the digital rights space.”

The 2017 Inc. 5000, unveiled online at and with the top 500 companies featured in the September issue of Inc. (available on newsstands August 16) is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. The average company on the list achieved a mind-boggling three-year average growth of 481%. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue is $206 billion, and the companies on the list collectively generated 619,500 jobs over the past three years. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at

“The Inc. 5000 is the most persuasive evidence I know that the American Dream is still alive,” says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. “The founders and CEOs of the Inc. 5000 tell us they think determination, risk taking, and vision were the keys to their success, and I believe them.

The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring all the companies on the list will be held from October 10 through 12, 2017 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, CA. Speakers include some of the greatest entrepreneurs of this and past generations, such as former Ford president Alan Mullaly, FUBU CEO and founder and “Shark Tank” star Daymond John, Dollar Shave Club founder Michael Dubin, researcher and #1 New York Times bestseller Brené Brown, and Gravity Payments’ founder and CEO Dan Price.

About Vydia: Vydia is an award-winning video technology company that empowers creators to publish, protect, monetize and distribute theircontent on one centralized platform. Catering to an array of over 150,000 users worldwide including multi-platinum artists, social influencers, independent musicians and entertainment outlets, Vydia helps creators not only manage their video content better, but smarter. Vydia is a trusted partner of major digital publishers like Vevo, YouTube, Facebook and Dailymotion as well as networks like BET, MTV, and Music Choice. To learn more about Vydia, please visit<

Claim it! is an app to help you give or get free stuff anywhere

Marketing is expensive so Ali Abdullah wants to cut out the middlemen.

His app, Claim it!, relaunched this week with the goal of connecting people with companies or individuals looking to give stuff away for free.

“Our concept is they can promote whatever they love by just giving people something,” said founder and CEO Ali Abdullah. He previously worked as a software engineer at Google, but he was homeless for a few months prior. That’s how the idea for Claim it! came to fruition.

Digital ad budgets reach into the billions of dollars and are still rising, but there’s still doubt on whether it works. Brands don’t know whether or not they’re really selling anything, and more importantly to some, are they creating fans?

This is what Claim it! hopes to address. The app is a social network based around a marketplace for free stuff, with no ads between posts from friends and media outlets. Individuals and brands can give and claim offers instantly or enter for a chance to win anything from product samples to show tickets.

Users can discover local offers, geo-targeted nearby or they can search by zip code. They also can see a list of national offers, available to anyone, anywhere. The free products or deals are available to claim instantly, or they can be set as a chance to win, which is also told to the user immediately.

Claim it! launched with brands aboard, including The Honest Company, Blue Apron, Pair of Thieves, Happy Socks, Ruby Tuesday, Skurt, and Spartan Race.

Abdullah and Claim it! were featured on this week’s finale of Apple’s original series Planet of the Apps. While participating venture capital firm Lightspeed chose not to invest, saying they were not interested in its previous iteration, his mentor on the show Jessica Alba has continued to serve as an adviser.

The app isn’t just for big brands. Similar to Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or Letgo, anyone can post an offer. Unlike the competitors, there’s no money changing hands. Everything is free.

It takes just a few minutes to post an offer. Users take a picture, set whether they want it to be local or national, and choose claim or chance. All of it is done via a smartphone. Before the offer goes live, the user receives an email verification to help prevent any spamming or scamming.

Claim it! isn’t brand new. In 2015, Abdullah and his company gained attention in New York City with their pink truck that traveled around the five boroughs every week. Back then, Claim it! users could only redeem offers from the physical truck.

Now, it’s less about the truck—which is in Los Angeles—and instead, the business has gone virtual.

“David [Pham] is our physical human-being truck,” Abdullah joked about Claim It’s community marketing manager. “He’s on college campuses where people say, ‘I would use this for a house party, for tickets.’ He’s getting brands on board.”

Pham said he’s heard from some brands that they could use it get rid of excess inventory. New restaurants have told him they see potential for introducing themselves to the community with discounts.

“We’re driven by a community of people, driven by local businesses and brands. You can share your content, whether it’s by sampling or by giving it,” Abdullah said.

Claim it! had more than 400,000 app downloads from the first iteration. Abdullah said they saw a lot of attention during that time with more than 20 percent of the community using it every day. The majority of them were in New York.

The app is now available anywhere in the United States—and they’re not taking a cut of anything. The company, based in Newark, is supported by $2.5 million in seed funding. The round, which closed in June, was led by Newark Venture Partners with participation from Infor, former chairman and CEO of Saks Inc. Stephen Sadove, and NBA stars Thaddeus Young and Al Harrington.

For making money in the future, Abdullah said they didn’t plan on anything that would require charging customers. Instead, they could take a fee for offers having higher placement.

“We’re confident that this marketplace is going to catch on fire,” Abdullah said.

Founder of Audible

How Audible’s CEO Is Working To Lift Up The City Around The Company’s Office

After moving the company to Newark, Donald Katz wanted to use the audiobook company to help create jobs and community in the city.

In 2007, Donald Katz decided to move the offices of Audible—the audiobook platform he founded more than two decades ago, now the largest audiobook producer and retailer, and an Amazon subsidiary—from suburban New Jersey into the heart of Newark. It was an unusual move for a tech startup (Newark wasn’t known for its tech scene), but for Katz, it was a powerful way to articulate the values and aspirations of his young company including his approach to being CEO. Rather than setting the company back, Katz credits the move with his success in building a strong culture and a personal legacy.

When he first moved the headquarters to Newark, he was told that the company would lose 25% of its workforce. Contrary to those predictions, Katz says they didn’t lose anyone. And, today, Audible is the fastest growing private sector employer in Newark.


Katz began his career in the early 70s as an author and journalist. At the time, he regularly went on runs in Riverside Park, listening to books on tape from a tape player in his fanny pack. While working on a column for Esquire on the potential of the internet, he recalls a phone conversation with his college roommate who was a supercomputer designer. They were talking about analog and digital processing when, he says, he had his “eureka moment.” Katz realized that instead of having to rent tapes he could eventually access every book ever printed from a device that he could keep in his fanny pack. “You’re saying in theory, there could be a digital inventory that would never be out of stock, and there wouldn’t be any need to go out of print?” he recalls saying in that conversation.

He hung up and thought about it some more, and then quickly called his roommate back, “We need to figure out a way to liberate the signal. We need to create a device that you can take in your car or the park or to your job. That conversation sparked the beginning of the first digital audiobook platform; the iPod was still four years away.


Like BECU’s Benson Porter and Steelcase CEO Jim Keane, whom I’ve previously profiled in this series, Katz strikes me as part CEO and part anthropologist, deeply interested in the intersection of people and the environments where they live and work.

As a journalist, Katz wrote about iconic American companies like Sears and Nike, and he won critical acclaim for his book chronicling the experience of the middle class in postwar America. He credits his career in journalism with teaching him how to be an inventor, “There’s no better training for starting an invention company than being an inquisitive writer. You have to go out and find the facts, as a journalist. It’s a fantastic backdrop for being morally and courageously honest about what you don’t know.”


Unlike companies that are lured to incorporate in cities with tax benefits and other government subsidies, Katz says he made the move to Newark without any perks, “We just did it because we wanted to. At that point, we knew we were becoming really successful.” But he says they didn’t want to be another company that was successful and then parachuted into a community in distress for charity dinners. Instead, Katz saw the potential to impact a community in need at its core, and he has been experimenting with a wide range of programs and policies to maximize the impact of being in Newark.

“The first thing I did was kind of make a rule that we would only hire Newark’s students for paid internships, of which we had many.” This was at a time when Audible was quickly becoming the largest employer of actors in the New York City area, to do voice work reading books. In their office in Newark “there were actors everywhere, and all these amazing kids, largely from North Star Academy, [a public charter school based in Newark and one of the first in New Jersey],” says Katz.

Over the last decade, this program has morphed into an internship, mentorship, and college scholarship program. The program now has 26 interns and 29 scholars, “We embed these interns in Audible departments; teach them professional and communications soft-skills through a non-cognitive skills curriculum; and support them with scholarships through college. Our culture has soared by bringing in these amazing kids.”

In addition, “nearly half of Audible’s entry-level customer service positions are filled with Newark’s residents. And our recruiting team is doubling down on ways to focus on community recruiting with the goal of identifying Newark talent for opportunities across all levels.”

In an effort to bring cultural diversity and economic vitality to Newark, and shorter commutes, Audible has been motivating its employees to live in the city and support local businesses. The company has supported the redevelopment of the Hahne & Company building in downtown Newark, by providing 20 Audible employees with one year of free rent to live there through a housing lottery that was announced at the start of the year. Audible has now expanded the program to offer a $250 monthly subsidy to cover living expenses to employees who want to move to Newark. Audible also offers pre-paid debit cards that employees can use to dine at Newark restaurants of their choice.

Through a series of such moves, Katz has integrated his company with the city where they work. It’s a strikingly different approach from the one that tech companies like Apple, Facebook or Google have taken, in building giant corporate campuses with shuttle buses that bring employees to work from faraway locations.


Perhaps Katz’s biggest insight to transform Newark came from the realization that if Newark had other employers of the scale of Audible, it would transform the city financially and culturally. He has taken this on as his new project, creating Newark Venture Partners Fund, which is an independent early stage venture fund, supported by Audible, on the 7th floor of the Audible building. The facility currently hosts 26 companies and 70 founders.

When 1,200 entrepreneurs applied to be part of the space, Katz wasn’t surprised by the demand. “There are 40,000 college students here [in Newark], and the vast majority, are first-in-family degree getters, that come from immigrant-backgrounds. If you look at all the stats of who creates high-tech companies—something like 70% of patents in the last 10 years—that’s the profile.”

The company is investing money and talent in these new companies. Audible employees are constantly on the 7th floor teaching master classes and advising the entrepreneurs, he says. It’s a resource that few startups can access, as well as an opportunity for growth and impact that few employees of large companies can take advantage of.

The fund is measuring traditional metrics associated with startups (like top-line revenue, burn rate etc.) as well as their impact on Newark. They are building their capacity to “report out on measurable job growth, measurable taxable revenue, incremental foot traffic into Newark, and street level amenity creation.”


Audible’s community building efforts are bringing an entrepreneurial spirit to Newark that goes well beyond conventional CSR (or diversity and inclusion) initiatives that companies undertake, evolving these activities into something more integrated and authentic.

Katz has gone from studying companies and cultures to building a culture of “activating caring” within Audible along with the city where they are based. As he explains, their work stems from “a core belief that companies can have hearts and souls and missions that transcend financial success.” It is this value that he is now looking to document and share with other CEOs around the country and world. “If other CEOs grab the model, it would be a tremendous legacy.”

1Huddle CEO: We’re making employee training fun

Sam Caucci, 1Huddle CEO, explains how his web-based learning videos are helping workers to learn new skills.

Morgan Stanley Announces Innovation Lab for Multicultural and Women-led Start-ups

The accelerator program is designed to help drive positive commercial outcomes for technology and technology-enabled start-ups.

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Morgan Stanley today announced the launch of the Multicultural Innovation Lab, an accelerator program for technology and technology-enabled start-ups in the post‐seed to Series A funding rounds. The program targets companies with a multicultural or woman founder, co‐founder or CTO who have the potential to develop innovations that could disrupt sectors. The Lab will make investments in these early stage high growth companies and will support the founders’ growth and development through its ecosystem of internal and external partners.

The Lab is designed to help drive positive economic outcomes for entrepreneurs of color and women by providing content, visibility, technical support and connectivity with important stakeholders who might be essential in accelerating the growth of their businesses.

“The Multicultural Innovation Lab presents a unique opportunity for talented and disruptive start-ups led by multicultural and women entrepreneurs to increase their visibility and gain access to the capital and collaborations needed to achieve commercial success,” said Carla A. Harris, Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, and Head of the Multicultural Client Strategy Group, Morgan Stanley. “By specifically catering to top high growth multicultural entrepreneurs, The Lab addresses the market inefficiency to accelerate their business and maximize economic outcomes.”

The companies will be fully immersed in the program working from Morgan Stanley’s global headquarters in Times Square, New York, and receive value‐add content, along with the fundamental and technical support necessary to accelerate growth. The four‐month program will begin in July and run through the fall, culminating in an entrepreneurs’ symposium in mid-November that will expose companies to potential investors through showcase format presentations.

Designed to bring best in class content and connectivity for the entrepreneurs, the Multicultural Innovation Lab has enlisted William Crowder, formerly head of Comcast Ventures, as its Entrepreneur-In-Residence. Crowder will work closely with both the entrepreneurs and the Multicultural Client Strategy team throughout the duration of the lab as a company insider to help address challenges that will increase and enhance performance and progress. Additionally, with input from other accelerator partners such as Newark Venture Partners and Techstars, entrepreneurs in the lab will have unparalleled access to subject matter experts, practitioners and investors all committed to their success.

“With less than 3% of venture capital dollars going to multicultural entrepreneurs, we will use Morgan Stanley’s global reach to provide the capital, content and connections needed to help accelerate the growth of these exciting companies and help bridge that funding gap,” said Alice Vilma, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley.

The companies that have been selected for the fall 2017 cohort are below:

  • AptDeco connects buyers and sellers of quality preowned furniture via its peer-to-peer online platform, offering a complete end to end service including coordinated pick up and delivery.
  • GitLinks protects the integrity of open source in application development by using its automated software to monitor and oversee security, updates and legal compliance for enterprises.
  • Kairos leverages artificial intelligence to provide integrated facial recognition that enables companies to transform brand experiences, increase discoverability and secure their businesses.
  • Landit provides a two-pronged approach to increase success and engagement of women in the workplace, delivering personalized, application based advice at the individual and enterprise level.
  • Trigger Finance allows the DIY Investor to set “If-Then” statements that can turn any financial or world event into an action on their portfolio using their proprietary rules-based investing platform.

Learn more about the Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab here.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 42 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit

Newark ranked 13th for tech talent among top 50 U.S. markets

NEWARK — Newark moved up six places to 13th in an annual ranking of the top 50 U.S. markets for attracting and growing tech talent.

The boost in the rankings is thanks in part to an average tech salary that rose to $107,000 in 2016, according to the global real estate firm CBRE.

The so-called Tech Talent Scorecard ranks cities or urban areas based on 13 criteria including outlook for tech job growth and growth in office and apartment rentals.

The top 10 markets were the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Toronto, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Austin, Boston and Dallas/Ft. Worth.

Newark, home to New Jersey Institute of Technology, a Rutgers University campus, and other academic institutions, jumped from 19th to 13th, just behind Denver and ahead of Orange County, Calif. Newark was the only New Jersey market included in the ranking.

In terms of pay, Newark ranked fifth out of the 50 markets for average tech talent wage in 2016, at $107,612, which was up 11 percent since 2011, CBRE reported.

The New York Metro Area, which includes the New York City, Long Island and Newark tech markets, was the top region in the nation for tech degree completions between 2014 and 2015, with 14,419, according to CBRE.

And in terms of office rents, the company said Newark’s average increased 3 percent, to $25.74 per square foot, from 2012 to 2017. CBRE said the increasing rents were a sign of growing demand for space, though Newark remained a much cheaper place to do business than, for example, the New York City market.

Newark’s improvement in the annual tech ranking is consistent with efforts by the administration of Mayor Ras Baraka to boost overall growth and prosperity by transforming Brick City into cyber city.

The effort includes Newark Fiber, a public-private venture providing high-speed, low-cost internet access to commercial buildings and their tenants; a plan to install up to 50 wifi and digital messaging kiosks on city streets; and the opening of tech centers to provide youth and adults with digital skills.

Baraka issued a statement saying he was “delighted but not surprised” by the Newark’s advance in the rankings.

“The Scorecard reflects the success of Newark’s conscious strategy to become a national technology center,” Baraka stated. “Wages for technology jobs are rising because our growing tech sector has continued to increase hiring. Our fastest-in-the-nation internet, technology incubators such as Newark Venture Partners, available affordable office space, top-notch research colleges and universities are all contributing to the city’s emergence as an East Coast Silicon Valley.”

The scorecard has been released for each of the past five years by Los Angeles-based CBRE, which provides real estate management and other services in markets worldwide, including all of those ranked in the scorecard. In Newark, for example, CBRE manages 2 Gateway Center.

Startups Shine at Newark Venture Partners Demo Day “Main Event” — Part Two

Newark Venture Partner Labs held its Demo Day for its second cohort on June 27. In this article, we cover the startups that presented in the second half of that day. The article on the startups that presented earlier in the day can be found here.

The important thing to remember is that these startups accelerated their companies in Newark, and it is the hope of the founders of Newark Venture Partners that the companies will stay in the city, grow, create jobs, and bring business visitors to Newark.

GitLinks: According to NVP managing partner Tom Wisniewski, Ian Folau, cofounder and CEO of GitLinks (New York), came to NVP Labs by way of Frankfurt, Germany, and the U.S. Army. Folau pitched for his company, which is a startup that “monitors open source code for enterprises.”

GitLinks solves a very real problem with software development. Open source code is “the fundamental building block of the way we build digital products today,” Folau said. “Developers go on public websites and find code to recycle, cutting weeks, if not months, of development time. In fact, 96 percent of our commercial applications today depend on open source.”

Folau said that 60 percent of the sites that use open-source software have inadvertently incorporated a critical security vulnerability. Also troubling is the fact that 85 percent of applications “have a restrictive license that can lead a company to get sued.” It’s very hard for managers to manually track the open source code that developers are using, he added.

GitLinks automates the management of open-source software, plugging into the testing and build environment of a company’s developers. It detects open-source components each time new code is added. The components are tested against a database where “we actively track all known security vulnerabilities, latest software versions, and licenses of all open-source” components. The system alerts managers “who currently have no oversight of these issues, so they can track their risks.”

Trendalyze: Rado Kotorov, who came to NVP Labs from Sofia, Bulgaria, pitched Trendalyze(Newark). “The mission of Trendalyze is simple: We want to help enterprises to up the value in their time-sensitive data,” said Kotorov, who is a cofounder of Trandalyze and chairman of the board.

Comparing his product to Google, Kotorov said that his startup had invented the search for “time patterns,” which he called “motifs.” Finding these patterns “helps us control and understand the billions of smart devices” that exist today. “If you can search and monitor for repeating patterns, motifs, if you can predict the next recurring pattern, you actually can stop a machine before it fails.

“Today, smart factories, smart cities and smart devices in healthcare and other industries imbed sensors, and these sensors collect very granular data in seconds and milliseconds. This data is being analyzed to discover patterns. But, most importantly, if we can monitor for those patterns, for their occurrence, we can create cost savings or capitalize on other opportunities or beneficial outcomes,” Kotorov said. He added that there are no such capabilities in current business intelligence and analytics platforms, but the startup has made it very easy for professionals to work with time-sensitive data by providing interactive visualization tools.

Trendalyze expects 60 percent of its sales to come from system integrators who manage smart products for enterprises. “We built the technology over the last two years, and we launched a general enterprise-grade platform two months ago. And we have four paying customers,” he said.

CircleLink Health: Raphael Anstey spoke about CircleLink Health (Stamford, Conn.), a startup that connects nurses by telephone to patients with chronic conditions, so they can provide them with preventative care between doctor’s visits. Anstey, who is a cofounder and the CEO of CircleLink, said that the platform improves health while increasing provider revenue. This platform for chronic-illness telephone coaching follows the trend away from “status quo reactive care” and towards preventative care. CircleLink currently has 30 customers.

The average patient only gets fifteen minutes with a doctor every few months, Anstey explained. “When you have five to 15 medications and multiple conditions, a personal brochure to take home is not really going to help you understand what’s needed to stay healthy.” The good news is that new Medicare rules incentivize doctors to reach out between visits and get paid for it. The problem is that they generally don’t have the “time or the infrastructure to meet what’s required to get paid.

“What we do is connect work-at-home nurses to older folks who have multiple chronic conditions. The nurses can do that coordination and follow-up on behalf of doctors, so doctors can have a better connection with their patients and increase revenue for their practices.” CircleLink “takes data from the doctor’s own records. We figure out who is eligible, and then we can enroll those patients with our own care ambassadors.” The platform also takes a look at the data and makes plans that are customized for each patient. The nurses then take over the coaching and follow-up.

SAM.AI: SAM.AI, from Astoria, Queens, was presented by Raz Choudhury, cofounder and CEO. “SAM is a fully integrated sales and marketing platform. Today there are 5,000 different sales and marketing tools out there. In fact, a company has to use 16 different tools to run their sales and marketing. How can you possibly be productive when you have to use 16 different tools?” he asked rhetorically. “We built SAM from the ground up to solve this problem. SAM is the first fully integrated sales and marketing platform powered by AI,” Choudhury claimed.

The all-in-one platform lets a “person pull up their customer, lead or prospect and know everything — from the last time they visited your website to how many email marketing messages they’ve opened, to their personal data, like what this person really looks like … some of the topics they talk about on social media. This helps a sales person have a much better conversation with their customers. It also allows marketing folks to be able to target their customers much better with our marketing automation tools.”

SAM is based on an expert AI system that can tell salespeople “exactly what time” to call a customer. It can tell a chief marketing officer what’s going to happen with his or her site traffic and lead acquisition months in advance, Choudhury claimed. To date, SAM.AI has secured $100,000 in monthly recurring revenue without adding any sales staff, he said.

Veritonic: Up last was Scott Simonelli, founder and CEO of Veritonic (Killingworth, Conn.), a company that searches for the right music for use in advertisements, employing machine learning and predictive analytics.

“In the world of advertising, when the music and the voice fit an ad, that ad is 96 percent more likely to be remembered. And people are 24 percent more likely to purchase that product,” he said. Veritonic is “right at that intersection between market research and sound. Brands are spending billions on advertising. One hundred percent of it has sound. With all that time, energy and money being spent, they can’t afford not to listen.”

One of the challenges for advertisers is that finding the right sound is difficult. “It can be an overwhelming sea of possibilities, from millions of pieces of stock audio that sound virtually the same to voice-over artists online. There are male and female voices and all kinds of different characters.” This crippling decision-making process is often exacerbated because choosing can be a real fight. People are passionate about music and sound, and “we’ve seen people dive across conference room tables.” And quantifying the value of a decision is also difficult.

Marketers start with their audience. For example, a marketer might say “I want to target women aged 40, in New York, who have two children and who are in the market to buy a car. And I’d like to make them feel inspired.” The platform matches that goal with a sound, and lets clients test an A version against a B version of the ad and benchmark historical data, he said.

The method uses pane-based data from “real humans” combined with “machine learning and a predictive algorithm” to make sure the data is up to the startup’s “high standards.” Simonelli, who said that he is a professional composer with a tech background, said that the company has grown quarter over quarter over the last 18 months, exceeding $150,000 in the first quarter of 2017.