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Innovation & Job News

Welcome to the Novotorium: The suburban tech incubator funded by astrology and hookup lines

On a brisk fall night in Langhorne, Occupy Novotorium was going down. A publicity stunt that drew local police, three tents were set up at the entrance to Bucks County's newest tech incubator, compete with drum circle.

Novotorium, a concierge-level tech incubator, opened its doors last week to show off a full service facility aimed at mid-level startups that want to grow bigger. At no cost to participants, and with no contract up front, Novotorium offers a three month residency that includes brand new skylit offices, a fully outfitted fitness room, a data center and spacious kitchen. Currently, the space, located above Voice Systems Engineering (VSE) Inc., has room for 10 people, with lots of room for expansion.

"Novotorium seeks entrepreneurs who are at least beyond proof of concept and have some sort of product launched, and  looking to grow and become profitable," says Mike Krupit, Novotorium's General Manager. "Most incubators focus on seed stage startups, making entrepreneurs venture-fundable, and plan for an exit. Our structure is not fixed like that of many incubators. We develop a program specific to the strengths and challenges, needs, and goals of the company."

The incubator is funded by Baron Innovation Group, the venture arm of Gary Baron, Founder/CEO of VSE and Vector180, also housed in the same building. That means Novotorium gets its funding in part from the profits of VSE's many websites, which include 1-800-gaylive.com, astrosource.com, and psychicsource.com. Vector180's website describes itself as "hospitality solutions for WiFi and surveillance."

"Our goal is to have two companies start in December. If we find our assumptions to be correct, the plan for 2012 would be an additional 12 companies," says Krupit, who is the former CIO of VSE.

Following the three month period, startups are free to go, and if they stay on, negotiate a contract that includes an equity share by Novotorium that will be determined on a per company basis, according to Maria Collins, Novotorium's Creative Director.

"Since we have only started taking applications this past week, it may be difficult to generalize the types of businesses that are applying," adds Krupit. "We have seen interest from information technologies, online services, offline services that are enabled by technologies, including one in the education space, and even an online radio company."

Source: Mike Krupit, Maria Collins, Novotorium
Writer: Sue Spolan
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