Get Ready! Propelify (Formerly Propeller) is on Its Way and It Promises to Be Bigger and Better

Esther Surden
Publisher & Editor,

Let’s face it. Last year we weren’t sure if Aaron Price could pull it off. He had a vision for a big regional tech festival to be held on a pier on the waterfront in Hoboken.

It would draw folks from all over the Northeast to listen to tech-entrepreneur speakers, watch drone races, participate in virtual reality experiences and meet prospective employers and each other. And he — along with a hundred volunteers — made it happen. Last year almost 8,000 people showed up.

So can he pull it off again? The indications are good. For one thing, Price says he has a group of experienced, dedicated volunteers who are determined to make this year’s festival even better and “more awesome” than last year’s. They’re even more pumped because they’ve seen what’s possible.

Propelify is scheduled for May 18 (rain date May 19) on a pier in Hoboken facing the New York City skyline, a beautiful backdrop for a day that promises to be full of fun, tech and entrepreneurial enrichment.

Price said that Propelify is intended to be an event where ideas are launched and people are inspired, and the program so far reflects that. “Last year was a proof of concept, and there were a lot of people who doubted we could pull it off. Now it’s about, not just making it possible, but making it amazing and being able to maintain that. You know I have a high bar, and I’m bringing that bar to this event.”

Everyone who went to Propeller last year will notice the festival’s name change. Price said that he had run into some legal problems with the name of the festival, and came to an amicable agreement with the holder of a federal trademark for the name.

Also, having a rain date is something new this year. Last year’s festival was going to be held rain or shine. May 2016 was a very rainy month, but Propeller was held on a warm, sunny day. Price decided to add a rain date “to take some of the risk out of the equation.”

Having Propelify in New Jersey wasn’t a given, as Price sees the festival as an innovation event that unites the whole Northeast. He and his colleagues looked at a lot of location options. “We just wanted a location that was a bit of a destination, inspiring, and was representative of what is next. Hoboken checked all of those boxes. It’s very accessible, it’s beautiful and we’re excited to be back.” is thrilled that the event is back in the Garden State.

There were certainly some glitches at last year’s event, but Price is determined to fix them for this year’s. “I come from a software background, and it was like having people walk around your creation, rather than experience your digital offering. We got a lot of great feedback. We are improving the attendee experience. Giving people better guidance as to where they can go related to their specific interests.” This includes better signage and communication throughout the event.

For example, the festival will clearly identify which companies are hiring. If attendees are into AI, they will be able to find AI-related companies more easily. Or if attendees want to hear a particular speaker, they’ll know where and when that speaker will be on stage.

Some of the highlights of the event include speakers like Divyank Turakhia, founder and CEO of (New York); Jason Saltzman, cofounder and CEO of Alley (New York); Albert Wenger, a partner at Union Square Ventures (New York); Jesse Hertzberg, CEO of Livestream (Brooklyn, N.Y.); and Wendi C. Sturgis, EVP sales and services at Yext (New York). These speakers, and others, have already been announced, but Price said that some “celebrity” speakers are close to being pinned down.

Deloitte is hosting the investor speed-dating event and Samsung will be sponsoring the startup competition. Beatie Wolfe, a musical performer who sang with Bell Labs’ Human Digital Orchestra, will also be there. Her innovative performance last year was not to be missed.

We asked Price what will be new this year. “While I can’t go into the details, we are probably going to have a digitally enabled bouncy house and potentially a Ferris wheel this year,” he said. “We might have a VR arcade or a VR theater. We have some great sponsors that we are thrilled to have joined us, like Deloitte. Jet is back, Staples is involved with Innovation Row, [and there’s] WeWork and Alley.” Entrepreneur magazine continues to be the media sponsor for the event.

“Our biggest partner is Nokia Bell Labs, based in New Jersey. They’ve been a tremendous partner for us.”

Price said that when Propelify launched ticket sales last week to a very small group of people, the buyers came from three countries and 15 states. “This isn’t about just the small players locally. It’s about the big and small players locally and the big players domestically,” he added.

While Price wants Propelify to be a regional event, we encourage our New Jersey readers to show up in force at Propelify and demonstrate that we are Jersey Strong. Our tech innovation ecosystem continues to grow here in the Garden State. And in case you thought the festival is just for tech entrepreneurs and innovators in startups, it isn’t. All of you who work in tech in larger companies in the state will be inspired by this festival and will learn something from it. If you’ve been trying to establish a culture of innovation at your company, sending your employees to Propelify could be just the thing to boost morale and encourage “out of the box” thinking.

Buy a ticket and show off your Jersey pride. has made arrangements for you to enjoy Propelify at 25 percent off. Just go to the Propelify website, choose general admission and use this code: NJTechWeekly.

Esther Surden is Publisher and Editor of NJTechWeekly, and a contributor to Philly Tech News. This article originally appeared in NJTechWeekly, and is republished here with her permission.

Siemens Driving Digital Transformation with $10 Billion Investment in U.S. Software Companies since 2007

Siemens Driving Digital Transformation with $10 Billion Investment in U.S. Software Companies since 2007

Software, technologies, digital services and cloud platform exhibited at Innovation Day USA to help customers embrace digitalization
MindSphere, the cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens, will play an important role to power double-digit growth in digital businesses
30% increase in R&D spending for U.S. since fiscal 2014
March 27, 2017 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

PRINCETON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Every day, billions of connected devices and machines bridge the real and virtual worlds, changing the way people live, travel, build and work. Today, at Siemens’ U.S. Research and Development (R&D) hub, Siemens showcased innovative technologies that are helping industries from manufacturing to energy management to transportation embrace the power of data in a digital and connected world. Global and U.S. executives and technology experts demonstrated via virtual and interactive presentations how emerging trends and technologies like blockchain-based microgrids, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, autonomous robots, digital infrastructure, and MindSphere – the cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens – are changing lives for the better.

“That’s why we invest about $1 billion annually in research and development in the U.S. We offer an unmatched digital portfolio consisting of software, digital services, security and MindSphere. This enables our customers to increase their efficiency, flexibility, quality and reduce time to market.”
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“Siemens is driving the digital transformation globally and in the U.S.,” explained Roland Busch, Chief Technology Officer and Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG. “That’s why we invest about $1 billion annually in research and development in the U.S. We offer an unmatched digital portfolio consisting of software, digital services, security and MindSphere. This enables our customers to increase their efficiency, flexibility, quality and reduce time to market.”

With around $10 billion in investments in U.S. software companies since 2007, Siemens has made a significant push into the software space with acquisitions including: UGS, eMeter, Camstar, Polarion, and CD-adapco. The company’s most recent investment is the acquisition of Oregon-based Mentor Graphics for around $4.5 billion. Once the acquisition is completed, Siemens will be the first and only player to combine mechanical, thermal, electronic and software design and simulation capabilities on a single integrated platform.

These software acquisitions and technology integrations further demonstrate how the company’s digital strategy is taking hold. Taken together, they are expected to lead to double-digit revenue growth through 2020 in Siemens’ digital business. In fiscal 2016, Siemens’ businesses with software and digital services generated around $4.6 billion, some 12 percent more than in the prior year.

MindSphere, the Siemens cloud-based open operating system for the Internet of Things, will be a key component to achieving these growth targets, as it will enable customers across all industries to digitize their enterprises. A strong ecosystem of global partners is already established including IBM, Atos, Microsoft, SAP, Accenture and many others. MindSphere, combined with our “Flex LTP” platform, makes it possible to improve the efficiency of plants by recording and analyzing large volumes of production data to, for example, implement predictive maintenance schemes and optimize asset performance. Siemens has deployed this in its Charlotte, North Carolina Energy hub. And there are many more domain specific platforms and applications running on MindSphere, such as: Navigator for intelligent buildings, teamplay for healthcare, Railigent for rolling stock and EnergyIP for smart grids.

“Half of all data that exists in the world was created only last year. Yet less than half of one percent of this data was used or analyzed,” said Judy Marks, CEO of Siemens USA. “In today’s innovation economy, Germany is a leader in machine tools and robots and the U.S. stands out as a leader in software innovation. This gives us a leg up on the competition and enables us to deliver tremendous value to our customers in all industries embracing digitalization.”

Siemens has announced an increase in global investments in research and development in fiscal 2017 of more than $300 million to around $5.4 billion. Over the last two years – from fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2016 – R&D spending in the U.S. has increased by more than 30 percent and a significant portion of these funds are earmarked for automation, digitalization, and decentralized energy systems.

Siemens employs more than 7,500 software engineers in the U.S. and as of September, 30, 2016, the company held more than 15,000 patents and about 900 invention disclosures in the U.S. Currently, more than 250 top scientists and technologists work at Siemens’ U.S. Research Centers in Berkeley (Information & Automation), Charlotte (Advanced Manufacturing) and Princeton (Information & Automation).

This press release, press pictures and further material is available at

Follow us on Twitter at: #SiemensInnovations

Editor’s Note: To participate in the event virtually beginning at 12:30 p.m. EST on March 27th, register here.

About Siemens USA

Siemens Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Siemens AG, a global powerhouse focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is a leading supplier of systems for power generation and transmission as well as medical diagnosis. With approximately 351,000 employees in 190 countries, Siemens reported worldwide revenue of $88.1 billion in fiscal 2016. Siemens in the USA reported revenue of $23.7 billion, including $5.4 billion in exports, and employs approximately 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

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