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Catching up with StartUp Lehigh Valley winner: JTJ Tech, LLC

Lehigh Valley LaunchBox (LVLB) partnered with Factory, LLC on StartUp Lehigh Valley in November where ten entrepreneurs, selected to participate through an application process, presented a virtual, two-minute live pitch with their business ideas to the panel of judges and virtual audience in a lively shark-tank style event. Participants had a chance to win an award that was part of the $10,000 in prize money from event sponsor Penn State Lehigh Valley LaunchBox. JPMorgan Chase & Co. also served as an event sponsor. 

Now LVLB checks in with event winners on their progress, their advice for other entrepreneurs and how they are benefitting from being part of LVLB. 

Jonathan Epstein, cofounder of JTJ Tech, LLC received the second-place prize of $2,500 for providing an innovative solution to prevent by detecting and alerting to early pipe freeze conditions in life safety fire sprinkler systems. Epstein participated in the first Virtual StartUp Bootcamp hosted by Lehigh Valley LaunchBox (LVLB), a six-week program that wrapped up at the end of September. The bootcamp program is designed to help entrepreneurs with a scalable business idea turn it into an actionable business plan. 

Q: What inspired you to start your business? 

Epstein: My partner and I are property managers, and like good property managers, we ensure that our life safety fire sprinkler systems don’t freeze in the winter. Unfortunately, due to a problem, we received a bill for more than $2,000 to heat a small sprinkler room (about 10’x10’). We wondered why we were heating these unoccupied areas based upon the air temperatures, when owners should be focused on the water temperatures. We searched the market and found that no solutions were available. This started us on the path to invent, patent and market the Salamander Reservoir. 

Q: What was your biggest challenge before receiving this prize money from LVLB through StartUp Lehigh Valley? Has it helped you overcome your challenge – if so, in what way? 

Epstein: Before receiving prize money from LVLB through StartUp Lehigh Valley, I believe our biggest challenge was to educate the general public about our device. Being able to share our story on such a widely watched format has been great for us.

Q: What LVLB services have you taken advantage of/plan to take advantage of? 

Epstein: I plan to utilize the legal assistance services. 

Q: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs as they start their businesses? 

Epstein: Start now. There have never been so many resources available at low – and sometimes no – cost to someone wanting to start a business. Begin working on and refining your idea and find people who may want your idea or service. Find people on Facebook, NextDoor or LinkedIn – there is a lot of free advice out there, and some of it is priceless! Keep nurturing that growth every day – you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish over a long time period!