New Jersey Founders & Funders Event among State Resources Helping Education Technology Company NuSkool Grow
NuSkool Founder Abran Maldonado gets ready to speak to investors at the
TRENTON (May 5, 2016) – Yesterday’s New Jersey Founders & Funders event provided education technology (EdTech) startup founder Abran Maldonado with the opportunity to pitch his company, NuSkool, to investors. The day-long event, which provides entrepreneurs with one-on-one access to investors, was the latest State resource the company has tapped as it expands in New Jersey.
More than 30 emerging technology and biotechnology companies participated in yesterday’s NJ Founders & Funders event. Hosted by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) at its Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT), the event connected these companies with access to angel and venture capital investors in 10-minute , one-on-one “speed dating” sessions to discuss strategy, business models and funding opportunities. To date, more than 150 entrepreneurs have participated in NJ Founders & Funders events.
“Whether providing mentoring and networking opportunities or offering access to funding sources, New Jersey has a variety of resources to help emerging companies grow,” EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen said. “It’s great to see entrepreneurs like Abran leveraging multiple New Jersey resources to grow their companies and contribute to the momentum of New Jersey’s technology sector.”
NuSkool creates an entertainment-learning platform that finds teachable moments in popular culture and helps students and teachers find the hidden lessons in all aspects of entertainment. This subscription-based online platform allows teachers to create virtual classes, providing access to lessons based on trending topics that matter most in students’ lives. NuSkool provides resources to teachers such as its complete library of standards-based lesson plans, access to assessments, quizzes and test prep exams. In addition, the platform provides articles on a wide variety of topics, such as politics and sports.
NuSkool’s approach to learning has been featured by Entrpreneur.com and Verizon Fios’ “New Jersey Means Business” television series. Maldonado was also honored by Bill Gates as a Gates Millennium Scholar, an award given to future leaders in the community. Maldonado is active in New Jersey’s technology community, including leading the LaunchNJ Meetup’s EdTech section.
As a Long Branch resident, Maldonado leases space for NuSkool at co-working spaces CoWerks in Asbury Park and Vi Innovation Hub in Holmdel. The EDA previously approved a $240,000 loan for CoWerks to expand its facility. Co-working spaces enable entrepreneurs from different companies to work side by side, sharing ideas. They are often easily accessible to mass transit, reflecting renewed interest in urban living and working arrangements. For entrepreneurs and startup companies with limited access to immediate revenue, co-working spaces do not require members to sign long-term leases and also offer mentoring networks for their members. NuSkool also took advantage of TechLaunch, a start-up technology accelerator based in New Jersey.
@NJEDATech spoke with Maldonado about his company’s experience in New Jersey and its plan for the future:
Why did you decide to grow your company in New Jersey?
Even though I’m from New York, I’ve lived in New Jersey for many years now and I’ve always appreciated the underdog mentality it embraces. I wanted to make sure that the kids here in New Jersey have access to the same innovation and technology found in New York and Silicon Valley. If there’s anything I can do to make that happen, then I’ll feel like I’ve done my part.
What New Jersey resources have you found most helpful to date?
TechLaunch was an amazing experience; I would not know how to run a company if it wasn’t for the accelerator’s guidance, curriculum and support. The Meetups and co-working spaces here are also more intimate. When you form friendships and bonds with other entrepreneurs at spaces like CoWerks and ViHub at Bell Works, you begin to root for one another. You want to see your peers win, and they wish the same for you.
What’s on the horizon for NuSkool?
NuSkool is ready to monetize and scale; we’re getting in front of customers and learning more about our product. NuSkool has also become a recognizable brand for its content, whether it’s our videos, lessons, quizzes or podcasts. We have some new tricks up our sleeve and are excited to share our message with the world. Stay tuned!