In May of 2016 over eight-thousand people gathered for Propelify’s inaugural startup event in New Jersey. Founders, investors, technologists, influencers, CEO’s, VC’s, angels and developers all converged at the Hoboken Waterfront in New Jersey to check out the hype. What did everyone want besides a seed round and all of the glory? Answers and more answers, to what you ask? among other things…
Is Propelify The Best Startup Event In NJ?
Fownders was in attendance last year to answer the same question. We descended on Propelify because the Fownders credo is something we take very seriously. Therefore we are always sure to support anything that progresses us all towards becoming a community cemented in innovation. Especially when it has to do with startups. Millennial abundance is literally ingrained in our DNA.
Propelify is a first of its kind Northern New Jersey startup event. The Energy was vibrant to say the least.
There was a massive exchange of ideas from some of the largest companies in the tech space like Uber and Jet, all the way to the mass of solo-preneurs who descended on the Propelify Grounds. It was a monumental event for the New Jersey Startup Community.
As a result the grounds oozed with innovative ideas and forward thinking tech enthusiasts. There was unprecedented access to expert advice and breakout speeches that were delivered to the audience on various stages. Everyone from our very own Gerard Adams to Gary Vaynerchuck of Vayner Media and Jenny Fielding who is the Managing Director of Techstars were on hand and dropping golden nuggets of knowledge on the crowd.
Propelify is heralded as the SXSW of the north. It truly is a testament to the growing startup ecosystem in North New Jersey. This yearly festival is held on the pier in Hoboken, staring at the New York City Skyline. Over 3000 of the festivals attendees made the trek across the river from New York and further to check out the digs. It does not surprise me at all. Why wouldn’t they want to come see the Fownders crew and find out about our Award winning Seed 2 Scale Accelerator Program; along with the many other resources being offered to the community by various organizations.
A Few Words of Gratitude.
We want to give thanks to Aaron Price because he is the founder of Propelify. We know that it takes guts and hard work and belief in the fact that the New Jersey Startup Community is ready for an event of this caliber. Aaron pulled it off. He is a special guy because he did it with class and he made it look easy. Do not worry because the truth is that we know it wasn’t. Seriously though, all the way from Newark NJ, we at Fownders give a big hats off to this founder. he Provides an avenue that bring so many like-minded individuals together at a brain exchange of great magnitude. The whole community is grateful for the festival. This single day has inspired many to take action.
Propelify is easily the best startup event in New Jersey. Thanks Aaron!
On May 18th 2017, The Fownders team is again attending Propelify in full force. We are Fresh off the second cohort of our flagship, Seed 2 Scale Accelerator. A lot has changed. We have grown. both in wisdom and in numbers. We learned. It is safe to say that we have also, laughed, yelled, pulled out some hair, had loads of fun and more. We have helped entrepreneurs from all over the country take their napkin ideas and turn them into profitable, sustainable and growing enterprises. They have secured funding from our investor network, Won contracts from cities and struck deals with leading media companies. Our cohort companies have launched amazing products and continued to grow under our ongoing mentorship.
The Future of Fownders
Be on the look out at Propelify this year because Gerard Adams will be speaking on (insert topic). More importantly we will be holding interviews on a few lucky entrepreneurs. We want to see if you have what it takes to get into our next program. It is the evolution of Fownders. It is our biggest and most impactful endeavor yet. Entrepreneurs who have an idea or a startup that are looking to get to the next stage of the game need to be on the lookout for those of us in the Grey Fownders T-shirts that say #OWNIT on the back. Do you have what it takes to put your plans into action? Are you are ready for radical responsibility and true success? Come up to one of us and ask us how you can be a part of our next cohort.
In conclusion we are pumped to see the those of you we met last year and hear great stories about all of the growth that you have experienced over the past year. We are equally excited at the prospect of meeting all of you newcomers so that we can hear about how we can help you realize your potential.
Be The Change This Earth Day
Fownders’ neighborhood cleanup took place Saturday April 29th in the heart of Newark’s Central Ward, where Fownders calls home. Home is where the heart is and it is the nature of love to take care of your heart. More than caring for the neighborhood that Fownders has called home since 2016, organizing this cleanup was about leadership through example. It’s long said that if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.
Fownders HQ is nestled between two schools along a major throughway and as can be expected, students and passersby flood the local corner store for food and snacks all day every day, compounded with the fact that there is not a trash can in sight for blocks, you can imagine the endless drove of wrappers and plastic bottles that blow with the wind along the sidewalks and curbsides.
Day in and day out the Fownders team would come into the district and every now and then someone would remark about the litter and how there should be trash bins placed in such a high-traffic area. We would comment about how the litter brings down the spirit that thrives in high-frequency, good vibe surroundings. As good conscious goes, the remarks and comments started to kindle the fire of change. We decided to clean the streets ourselves.
Our original date for the cleanup was indeed Earth Day but our efforts were met with contingencies outside of our control and we had to reschedule for the following Saturday. Mother Nature was definitely on our side, although the temp sat above 80 degrees and the air was humid, there was a constant breeze that made the project … well, a breeze.
We got started at around 10:30 am and worked tirelessly for 3 hours before we broke for lunch then regrouped to tackle the remaining territory of the three-square block perimeter that we showed no mercy with our garbage-pickers, pokers, shovels, rakes and push brooms. We even flexed our green thumb pulling up weeds in a parking lot.
Everyone could feel the impact of our efforts as cars passed by and honking drivers smiled and gave us thumbs-up. People stopped and stared, some approached and asked who we were and why we were doing it. Our reply was simple; We are Fownders, and because it needs to be done. An exchange of unspoken respect weaved in and out of our exchanges with the people of the neighborhood that day.
Upon seeing us kneeling to pick trash out of the tree bed in front of her home, one lady of Asian descent came rushing out in a night gown and slippers, knelt beside us and without gloves, began picking out the litter side-by-side as members of the community who care. Her English was broken and limited, all she could manage was, ‘thank you, very good, thank you much.’, we nodded and smiled, ‘You’re welcome.’ It was unquestionable that we all got such a rush from doing our “good” and that point was made clear in this one instance that stands out to me; when the city rep stood impatiently a block away calling for us to come back with the tools, Gerard whispered with a hurried child-like innocence, ‘Jade, let’s get this last one, right quick.” I smiled and obliged. How could I not? We knelt to pull soggy leaves, socks and plastic bottles from the storm drain and hurried back to return our tools.
We did the work and by no means is the work done. Changes still need to be made, more permanent solutions need to be implemented, but we’re off to a good start. The seeds have been planted.
Looking back at the event, it was so much more than just picking up litter. Through leadership by example, we helped to lift spirits, those of ourselves and the people we encountered. Knowing this, another neighborhood cleanup is for sure in the Fownders future, bigger and better. We’d love for you to join us in being the change. Stay tuned.
Acknowledgements: The office of Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield-Jenkins, the City of Newark’s Department of Recycling and Home Depot Newark played an integral part in supplying all our supply and tool needs and Fownders Neighborhood cleanup could not have happened without their contribution. Many thanks to all involved ESPECIALLY our volunteers who could’ve been anywhere in the world but they chose to join us in getting their hands dirty on a beautiful Saturday and make an impact with the Fownders fam. Thank you.
Fireside Chat With Anthony Frasier
When Gerard Adams first birthed the idea of having Fownders built in the heart of Newark, he didn’t know where to begin in finding someone who shared not only roots in Newark but his passion and belief in the Fownders vision. The name that kept surfacing in conversations was Anthony Frasier, a who’s who in entrepreneurship and community, so it made perfect sense to have Anthony join us as guest in Fownders’ fireside chat series joining the ranks of Ryan Blair and Lewis Howes.
The chat’s central focus was Anthony’s personal and professional journey as well his perspective on diversity and the state of minorities in the present-day entrepreneurial landscape. He got his first taste of his love for tech in the seventh grade when he decided he’d teach himself to code in his free time at the local library. He’s been on a whirlwind of a ride ever since.
From building a site that garnered 1MM unique visits per month to appearing on a CNN reality show about inclusiveness to founding an online interview platform that grew to a six-figure entrepreneur conference and moving on to writing his first book, “Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness: A young entrepreneurs guide to thinking and being great.” (a book Frasier said he penned for his sixteen-year-old self and hopes to serve as a guide for other young entrepreneurs who start their journeys in the dark and without the connections or networks that are commonplace in other communities.). Frasier is now entrepreneur in residence at Newark Venture Partners where his mission is to increase and expand investments to minority entrepreneurs.
With well over a decade of experience in tech, media, speaking and coaching aspiring entrepreneurs and students from underserved groups, Anthony has amassed a wealth of knowledge along the way. He was gracious enough to share wisdoms of life and business with the Fownders family.
Here are 5 key insights from the chat:
When Anthony signed on to participate in Black in America: The New Promised Land Silicon Valley, he was young and had just flew his native nest of New Jersey to live in California. The show was to chronicle his journey through an accelerator program while there. His gut told him to be ready; to stay on his toes and practice his pitch. However, the show’s producers told him there would be no need, that his focus should be to enjoy himself and relax. An apprehensive Frasier took heed. Lo and behold he found himself at the Google headquarters meeting and rubbing shoulders with major players only to be blindsided by the announcement that the entrepreneurs would be pitching their businesses. He went on to pitch in front of a group of execs, one being Google’s now head of ventures, David Krane. Frasier was off-guard and sweating bullets. “I got through it but I f***** up.” Never again he told himself. His advice is to practice your pitch daily. Listen to your gut. Trust your instincts and stay ready.
CHOOSE YOUR PARTNER WISELY:
When Frasier launched Playd, a FourSquare for gamers, in 2011, he did so in part with a $100k investment from an investor he had the opportunity to build a relationship with. This relationship was key in having the investor become familiar with Anthony’s vision and work ethic. Unfortunately, as time passed, this investor became increasingly difficult and subsequently ‘scared off’ other potential investors. Coupled with the bankruptcy of one of Playd’s key partnerships, Anthony followed his gut instincts and decided to dissolve the company. He could not live with the decision of taking on a partner that sowed discord and constant friction. Anthony cautions; when you take on an investment, it’s not just someone with a lot of money who wants to help, you are taking on a partner who has stake and say in the decisions you make. Choose your partner wisely.
CREATIVITY IS THE GREATEST SKILL YOU CAN EVER LEARN:
Early on in his entrepreneurial journey, Frasier applied for an internship with an organization in Montclair. They were seeking a college-educated intern; he was out of the running by the time the interview was over. Before walking out the door; he decided to speak up. “Your site gets only ten-thousand unique visits a month; my site gets one million.” He started his internship one week later; and was hired as their full-time biz dev associate, within weeks. Frasier used his quick wit to identify that the organization was fixated on having a college educated intern because they felt the education would equal results. Thinking on his feet, he created his own resumé on the spot. Frasier says that if you can somehow make the dots of life connect, there is potential for great change. Creativity creates leverage.
Develop yourself as a human being by investing in yourself. Frasier’s first major self-investment came at a time where he was low on cash but high in drive to make a change. The 600-page book, “The 4-Hour Body” in an investment that helped Anthony shed 100lbs. Another similar investment was made in the book, “Choose Yourself”. It emphasizes the importance of a nurturing daily practice comprised of four components: Spiritual, Mental, Physical, Emotional. Frasier’s spiritual practice is made up of prayer and meditation – a practice that he credits with saving his life on multiple occasions. He keeps sharp mentally by writing down ten ideas a day. He engages in some form of physical activity daily as well as doing something that he loves – spending time with loved ones, laughing, gaming etc. Anthony says if you were to apply these principles in your own life, it’s guaranteed that you’ll see a change in your life.
IT’S BIGGER THAN YOU:
When deciding on how to brand yourself and determining what value you share with the world, don’t fall victim to apprehension and the laid-back, turtle-shell syndrome. Put your authentic self out there. Step up and be a leader; it’s bigger than building a brand. Share your stories, lessons, and insights. Bring positivity to the forefront because you never know who you’re helping by deciding to go for it. Frasier nearly talked himself out of writing his first book, “Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness”. But he decided that someone out there needed the information and guidance he wanted to offer through his words. Recently he recalls a lazy day at home where he toyed with the idea of sending out a simple tweet that said, ‘I’m looking for black entrepreneurs to invest in.’ He nearly didn’t send it, but by taking action and using his voice, one of the tweet’s respondents was ultimately sent an investment offer letter by Newark Venture Partners. His decision undoubtedly resulted in changing someone else’s life; it was bigger than him. Your voice; your actions, are bigger than you.
To learn more about Anthony Frasier and his mission, connect with him at AnthonyFrasier.com
“Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness” – Anthony Frasier
“Choose Yourself” – James Altucher
“The 4-Hour Body” – Tim Ferriss
We believe that our first responsibility is to the entrepreneurs, the creative thinkers, the innovators and the risk takers. Our service will always stay true to facilitating resources that align passion and purpose with action and success. We must constantly strive to adapt our service to each individuals’ needs, and provide invaluable lessons pertaining to all facets of life and business. We will build and protect a cultural movement that will inspire future generations.
Our second responsibility is to those who work with us. The men and women who make a conscious choice to align their life and their career with our mission. As the old saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. No one will ever feel inferior, unimportant, or as if their opinions don’t matter. We will empower our team to think outside the box, to become problem solvers, to have opportunity to control their own destiny and know they have full support from our leaders.
Our third responsibility is to our management. Our executives must be persons of high emotional intelligence, self awareness, and fairness. They must never stop learning, stop growing, stop taking risks, and stop investing in themselves. They must be genuine, authentic, talented and experienced. They must have the ability to quickly adapt to unforeseen obstacles. They must strive to reach a higher level of consciousness and embody each value Fownders holds in its core.
Our fourth responsibility is to the communities in which we operate and live. We must be outstanding citizens – supporting work and charity and giving back without hesitation. We must maintain impeccable order within the property we are privileged to use. We must participate in promotion of civic improvement, health, education, and good government, and acquaint the community with our activities.
Our fifth and last responsibility is to our stockholders. As a social enterprise, we can be most effective when our business is most profitable. We cannot support others if we cannot sustainably support ourselves. For someone to believe in our future and continued success, is the ultimate compliment for which we will spend our days working to repay. There are millions of opportunities one can invest in and we will not take lightly that people have chosen us to provide them with tangible returns.
This is our credo, our doctrine, our guidance, and our promise. To be a Fownder is to own one’s destiny. We live through our intuition and a burning desire to leave an everlasting footprint on this earth. Our destiny is to positively impact the world we live, and leave it a better place than we found it. These guiding principles will empower us to advance and evolve. Leadership is more than an action – it is the full capacity to take dreams and turn them into reality.
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