Somerset County Startup STOPit Receives National Recognition for Giving Students Power to Report Bullying
Benefits from $4.3 Million in Investments Tied to State’s Angel Investor Tax Credit Program
TRENTON (February 18, 2016) – Bedminster-based technology company STOPit is receiving national attention for its technology platform that lets people report bullying, both traditional and cyber, and other forms of inappropriate behavior in schools, universities and places of employment.
STOPit’s software enables users to instantly and anonymously report incidents via their smartphones or computers. STOPit puts power in the hands of anyone who witnesses an incident, enabling users to take screenshots or videos of the situation in question and pass information along to the school or business. It also allows for two-way communication between the user and the entity to which the incident is being reported, while maintaining the anonymity of the user.
“STOPit is a simple, fast and powerful solution to report inappropriate behaviors, and to deter unethical or illegal activity,” STOPit Chief Financial Officer Parkhill Mays said. “Young people are apprehensive about being labeled as ‘snitches.’ Our technology allows them to anonymously report incidents of bullying or other inappropriate behavior they witness without the threat of retaliation.”
The company has been recognized by national media outlets for its platform, which is currently available for Android and Apple phones. CBS News wrote, “Watch out, cyberbullies: Kids have new tools to fight back” and CNN described STOPit as one of “5 Apps To Help Change The World.” The New Jersey Technology Council gave STOPit the Trailblazer Award at its annual awards celebration in November.
STOPit received more than $4.3 million in funding from investors who took advantage of the State’s Angel Investor Tax Credit Program in 2015. Administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) in consultation with the New Jersey Division of Taxation, the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program offers a 10 percent refundable tax credit against New Jersey corporation business or gross income tax for qualified investments in an emerging technology business with a physical presence in New Jersey and that conducts research, manufacturing, or technology commercialization in the state. The program is available to all eligible taxpayers, including out-of-state investors.
The EDA recently announced that more than $125 million has been invested in New Jersey-based emerging technology and biotechnology businesses through the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program since its inception in 2013. In 2015 alone, 213 Angel Investor Tax Credit applications were approved to support 28 emerging technology and life sciences companies in the Garden State, representing the investment of over $50 million of private capital.
@NJEDATech spoke with Mays about STOPit’s experience in New Jersey and its plan for the future:
What does STOPit find most beneficial about locating itself in New Jersey?
Our location in New Jersey was initially convenient to several of our founders. However, we soon realized that our location is ideally positioned and in close proximity to the best professional resources suitable to our mission. Furthermore, we are right smack in the middle of a very dense supply of talented people who share our values and who desire to work with STOPit.
How has the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program helped the company?
The Angel Investor Tax Credit has provided a meaningful boost in value to our shareholders. When first introduced to the program, we were astonished that such a gift existed, and our shareholders were pleasantly surprised. Additionally, since we are still raising capital, the program has been one of the catalysts to fuel continued investment in STOPit by existing shareholders.
What is STOPit’s biggest success to date?
Our biggest success to date has been the overwhelming response to our product. We have been able to offer software that protects kids and other users, and provides institutions with an immediate alert and window into a problem so that they can get out in front of issues and address them before they spiral out of control.
What’s on the horizon for the company?
We are rapidly infiltrating the K-12 education market now, which enables us to protect even more students. We have just released our workplace product, and expect our solution to be adopted rapidly by government agencies and risk-management and compliance personnel from the nation’s largest companies.