Fund it 15

In recent years, Crown Heights has experienced a flourishing of entrepreneurial growth and innovation. Young members of the community have spread their wings, bringing new and exciting businesses to the world.

Last week, five young entrepreneurs had the chance to pitch their startups before a panel of seasoned business leaders and VCs. The event, Fund It, was a project of Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs. Some [120] men and women gathered in United Lubavitcher Yeshiva’s hall for the event,

According to Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, Director of CHYE, "We are making this event to generate opportunity in our community by giving participants the funds and guidance needed to succeed, create a forum for the public to hear the wisdom and insight of these investors, and advocate for entrepreneurship as a career path that our community can follow."

Team leaders from startups ParQChabad CRMTheGoodapp and Courseloads each had a chance to go over their pitch deck with investors David Schottenstein, Zalmi Duchman,Shmuel Gniwisch, Daniel Wolfson, Eli Nash and John Ason. 

Schottenstein, one half of the investment firm Surfside Angels, was impressed by this year’s offerings.

“I had a chance to take part last year,” Schottenstein said, “and I wanted a chance to return to help share some of my experience as a source of help and inspiration.”

“I’m glad I did,” Schottenstein continued. “This year, the pitches were above and beyond what we had previous seen in terms of originality and innovation.”  

Tensions ran high as the entrepreneurs rushed to share their ideas against the ticking clock. During a communal voting period, with votes coming in neck and neck, ultimately Chabad CRM, a customer relationship management tool, proved to be the crowd favorite, scoring a $500 dollar cash prize for their Business along with a Bicycle sponsored by Brooklyn Bike Shop.

Founder Leib Ezagui credits “a thirst for hard work and success” as the motivating factor behind his startup’s growth. After finding out about Fund It on Facebook, he was able to hone his pitch for the big event.

His advice to future entrepreneurs, “Be aggressive and passionate about your idea. People, even investors, will tell you to change your product and friends and family might try to put your idea down. Listen and learn from everyone but if you feel strongly about something, stick to it!”

Sponsors for Fund It were:

LTB Business Summit

“Brands” Better Clothing store

Mendy Glick Accountant

Brooklyn Sports Shop

Essel Eyewear

Abba Realty

For additional information about Fund It and other projects of CHYE:

Avi Werde

Avi started his business life at a very young age, which has allowed him to explore many industries. After finishing his studies as a music student he went on to other areas in the hospitality industry expanding his knowledge and experience to the point that he felt unsatisfied by the restraints and slow progressions of working for another leading him to create his company Werde Productions.

This new venture brought Avi national and international attention as the world was to experience their first large scale Jewish wedding expo, opening doors that he has been yearning to open. He has since been involved with projects such as Concerts, Galas, Art Shows, Art installations, Fashion shows, managing event spaces, birthdays, product launches, corporate events, Festival management, parties, event marketing, PR, the works.