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UP Conference In Camden Welcomed Investors And Startups

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Camden

Camden was the place to be this past weekend. Packed with startups, CEO’s, and industry leaders, the UP Conference showed a glimpse of the future of Camden, now dubbed City Invincible. Only a few blocks away from the waterfront, with the breathtaking views of Philly’s skyline, the UP Conference was in full swing in the Camden Technology Center. The Camden based non-profit, Waterfront Ventures, hosted the event.

Attendees started piling in early in the morning with business cards in hand. Angels, venture capitalists, and startup founders showcased their expertise by sharing stories on how they were able to become influencers in their industry. With opening remarks from Melissa Alam of Femme and Fortune, each speaker was introduced to the stage including Marc Kramer of Angel Venture Fair, Chad Stender of SeventySix Capital, Robert Moore of RJ Metrics, Ted Mann of Slyce, Katrina Naidas of Linked Noodle, and Melissa Schipke of Tassl. Adam Woods of Camden Printworks, one of the sponsors of the event, did a live demonstration of silk screening and gave away t-shirts with the words “City Invincible” to attendees.

The event brought attention to the growth that is happening in Camden. The audience was diverse with a majority being millennials from the Philly and South Jersey areas. New coworking spaces, like Waterfront Lab on Market Street, are popping up throughout the city and quickly filling the slots with startups and small businesses. A happy hour at Cooper River Distillery was provided after the conference, where people were given a chance to unwind and chat with some of the speakers in a relaxed setting.

Reception to UP Conference was highly positive and beneficial for those in attendance.

“We met at least 4 potential investors, a potential corporate partner, a writer who is going to write a story on us, a couple of potential service providers and many other people who are enthusiastic about what we are doing. I will also be meeting with a recent college grad to help mentor them on their career and they will provide me with a sounding board (they worked at a VC firm as an intern).” – David Wagstaff of Alfrea

“It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Waterfront and the growing companies in the area. I certainly met many smart and nice people!” – Karen DeSantis of Karen DeSantis Marketing

Waterfront Ventures is at the forefront of bringing innovation and startups to this city. There are already rumors of a future event happening this Fall with the same goal of providing networking opportunities and presenting a new side to Camden, City Invincible. With the success of UP Conference, the rumored upcoming event will open doors for many who are looking to network and succeed in their aspirations.

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Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Business

17-Year-Old Drops Out To Create Exa Mask

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Before COVID-19 dominated our lives, Kylie Smith was already in the process of creating a face mask. Exa Mask, a startup mask company with impeccable timing, has raised over $77,000 through a Kickstarter campaign and has already shipped its first 1,000 units. 

Developed with TR-90 Nylon, a super high-quality material, Exa Mask stands out from the N95 masks we’ve become so familiar with. Exa Masks are capable of:

  • Allowing one to breathe easily without constraints of a traditional mask
  • A detachable shield that allows wearers to eat and drink while still being protected
  • Eliminate that super annoying fogging when wearing glasses or sunglasses
  • Filter out 95% of particles, protecting against disease, pollution, and environmental debris
  • Control allergies and prevent the inhalation of smog and pollution

A Trip To Beijing

Smith was inspired in 2017 when she made a trip to Beijing with her father and co-founder, Rick Smith. Because of the pollution in Beijing, Smith and her father were required to buy an expensive, cumbersome mask. 

Like any entrepreneur, Smith saw an opportunity to create something better. 

I designed Exa Mask so that it would be the last mask you’ll ever need to buy. Exa Mask’s filters are replaceable and the face shield is washable, so the mask is completely reusable — while also offering consistent protection over time.” 

She spent the next two years designing and developing the innovative mask. And then COVID hit…

A Pandemic Opportunity

When COVID-19 hit, Kylie decided to dedicate 100% of her time to this venture and dropped out of high school. Some parents might find that mortifying. Her father, Rick, did not. 

In the face of a pandemic, finding fresh solutions to unforeseen problems is more critical than ever. I am extremely proud of Kylie for following in my entrepreneurial footsteps and designing such a unique product that can help keep people safe.” 

It’s interesting that Smith came up with Exa Mask well before anyone knew we would be dominated by medical masks (and the irritating debates that followed). Some would see that as lucky. One wonders whether Smith would have the success it has now if it were not for a pandemic. 

Exa Mask Explained

Exa Mask has three parts to it: an air frame, a replaceable filter, and a washable shield. A complete seal is formed around the nose while the mask hovers above the wearer’s face. This allows for clearer breathing and speech, eliminates fogging around glasses, and is apparently pretty comfortable for an extended period of time. 

Funny enough, this mask was designed to combat pollution and smoke, as opposed to an airborne virus. So, for those in California dealing with forest fires are protected in ways that the common medical mask cannot. 

What’s Next?

Next for Exa Mask, I’d love to see schools as well as airlines and retail employees using Exa Mask. Exa Mask was designed for all day wear, so it is ideal for those populations who need to wear masks for their jobs.” 

We expect to see a lot more from Kylie Smith. If Exa Mask is any indication, Smith is one of the rare people in our world. The kind who has a nose for good business and knows how to stay ahead of the trends. While everyone on our planet has millions of ideas they wonder how to implement, Smith is one who finds a way to get things done. 

Smith is so confident and dedicated to her product that she dropped out of high school to pursue it full time. That can be very scary, but when you have a product as quality as this, you’re going to be set up for success.

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Business

DoNotPay: The World’s First Robot Lawyer

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In legal trouble? Want to contest a parking ticket? Need to sue that sonuva-whaaat? Can’t afford a lawyer? Better Call Saul? Nah, he’s not real. Instead, you should check out DoNotPay, the world’s first robot lawyer. 

RoboJurist, The Lawyernator, Optimus Habeus Corpus: these are names founder Justin Browder could have used in his creation of DoNotPay. Alas, that’s not the case. 

While it’s not literally a robot, DoNotPay is a legal services chatbot that offers a range of legal services. Anything from consumer protection to immigration status is within DoNotPay’s capabilities. DoNotPay is a downloadable legal subscription service that uses artificial intelligence in a clever manner. 

A Little Lawyer in Your Pocket

Essentially, DoNotPay helps users draft legal letters. Let’s say you have a parking ticket you want to contest. You tell the chatbot your problem and the AI provides the correct legal language to use. Think of it like legal Mad Libs. You write your side of the story, and DoNotPay edits it to make it sound like it came from the desk of Saul Goodman. 

If you were the kind of person to turn to your lawyer friend for free legal advice: no more. DoNotPay allows the common layperson to handle their own legal battles with the help of a downloadable app. The app is so easy to use that it boasts that users can, “fight corporations, beat bureaucracy, and sue anyone at the press of a button.”

Because our society isn’t litigious enough, right? 

While DoNotPay has won an award from the American Bar Association for increasing legal access, there have been mixed reviews

DoNotPay is useful in that it helps users avoid legal roadblocks that usually make pursuing action costly, complicated, or not worth the effort. For people who don’t know what to do when sent a threatening legal document, now you have an artificial lawyer in your pocket. In that regard, DoNotPay is very useful.

When the Little Guy Sues the Big Guy

If DoNotPay sounds familiar, that may be because of its role in the Equifax debacle. For regular folk, being able to get justice from a big company without having to pay expensive lawyer fees is a big deal. 

Lawyers must be a little peeved to see some know-it-all robot step into their territory, no? 

Well, you’d think that…

AI in Law Firms Today

Sally Hobson, a barrister at the London-based law firm The 36 Group, used AI in a murder trial. The complicated case required analyzing over 10,000 documents. Hobson used a software, developed by Luminance, that accomplished the task four weeks faster than it would have taken humans. 

Historically you had a lot of [document checking] technologies that were no better than keyword searches, like hitting Control-F on your laptop,” says Eleanor Weaver, chief executive of Luminance. 

So, lawyers using an AI is not exactly unheard of. The technology is capable of scanning documents far quicker than any human can, and is capable of learning incredibly quickly. While that terrifies conspiracy theorists and excites science fiction writers, AI in the legal world is a very useful tool. 

Lawyer’s Bark Worse Than Their Bite

If you’re aware of the term “legalese,” you’re well aware how complicated and confusing legal phrases can be. Attack dog lawyers count on people being intimidated by legalese so that they can get what they want. A scary-sounding letter from a lawyer can bully someone into submission. 

DoNotPay is offering help to the people who can’t afford a lawyer. With their AI, DoNotPay is able to help someone who didn’t spend three years in law school take charge of their own legal battles. 

Next time you want to contest a parking ticket, or if you want to take on a big company that has wronged you, you might want to download DoNotPay.

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Startup Central

WoodSpoon Delivers The Chef To Your Home

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WoodSpoon is shaking up the food delivery game.

Over the past year, we’ve witnessed an explosion in food delivery. Just this year alone, the global online food delivery industry has reached $126.91 billion and is on the rise

Restaurants that originally had no delivery service quickly adapted to keep their lights on. And just like that, the quality of delivery skyrocketed as upscale sit-down restaurants and their chefs adapted to survive.  

Personal Chef At Your Door

We’re all familiar with many of these delivery services. Like WoodSpoon, these services bring higher quality meals to your front door. Some even have you assemble meals to make you feel like a cook.

But where does WoodSpoon stand out?

Started in 2019 by chefs Oren Saar and Merav Kalish, WoodSpoon’s mission is to bring chefs together to share their talents with their local community. 

It works like you’d expect: you peruse the options and local chef’s specialties, you order, they deliver, you eat. The only difference between WoodSpoon and other delivery services is the quality of food. These chefs are preparing what they’d normally cook for their friends and family and sharing it with you. It’s like having your own professional chef. 

You can order dishes you normally wouldn’t, or couldn’t, cook for yourself. Chicken sate, Caribbean fried porn, cauliflower rice stuffed peppers, and more mouth-watering options are available on WoodSpoon. These are the best quality dishes you can find without actually hiring a professional home chef. 

Fancy, right? 

Back For Seconds

WoodSpoon proudly boasts 16,000 active customers and 150 active chefs in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens with a 50% month-over-month growth. According to Saar, 35% of their customers have ordered at least four times in seventeen days. 

And now, they’re expanding. After raising $14 Million in fundraising, WoodSpoon is poised to blow up.

For the consumer, a simplified and easy-to-navigate interface that allows users to browse by meal or chef. For the chef, all you have to do is focus on the food. WoodSpoon takes care of the packaging and delivery logistics.

There’s no question the quality of food delivery has evolved in the past year. Restaurants not normally equipped for take-out quickly adapted and made the best of a super unfortunate situation. WoodSpoon brings delivery to a new level by packaging a chef’s talent and delivering it to your front door.

In a matter of time, WoodSpoon will be in your city. And you’ll be tasting some of the best quality food you’ve had. 

Bon appetit.

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