Newark Venture Partners

At the Milken Institute Global Conference, Don sat down with CNBC’s Brian Sullivan to talk about how Audible has elevated the power of the spoken word, the importance of formative battles to a company’s success and how Newark Venture Partners fits into Audible’s activist mission in accelerating Newark’s comeback.

Don was also asked what advice he’d give to entrepreneurs:

I’m really lucky because I got to turn ideas into reality through two significant careers, one as a writer and now with Audible. And now with trying to be a catalyst: the company Audible is a catalyst in turning Newark around. And I think the learning is basically that you work backwards from a big dream and you celebrate the steps in that direction, and you don’t give up. … And I think the other thing is you just gotta be at the edge of science and culture, and studying and learning everyday to just see what’s coming.

Watch the interview here.

Newark Venture Partners, the venture capital fund and accelerator Don founded, recently welcomed its second class of entrepreneurs with exciting, distinctive businesses covering a range of sectors.

More than 70 founders and employees are now working in the 25,000-square-foot ultra-bandwidth accelerator on the seventh floor of the building Audible shares with Rutgers Business School. And 260 Audible employees with advanced skills across dozens of subject domains are on call to take the elevator down to coach the companies.

The first two classes have attracted more than 1,000 applications from across the country — including the Bay Area, Raleigh, N.C. and Washington, D.C. — and even London. NVP is focused on bringing early-stage companies to Newark to catalyze the city’s tech ecosystem and create jobs and taxable revenue.

One of the new companies, Envested, which engages employees by connecting them to volunteer opportunities, was recently named in Inc.’s “30 Under 30.”

The February cover of Urban Agenda Magazine

An interview with Don is the cover story of the February 2017 issue of Urban Agenda Magazine. Don talks about his writing career, the founding of Audible, how Audible has worked to position great novels as scripts and his long-held commitment to Newark.

Many elements that make Audible a distinctive company that in many ways has a higher purpose draw upon the many things I learned and experienced as a writer. At its best, Audible is imbued with the élan I experienced during Rolling Stone’s first decade, a sensibility derived from the act of imprinting the culture with a new level of truth-telling and literary style.

Audible moved to Newark and services customers in pursuit of defining ourselves based on what a company can mean versus what it does alone, and this I also took away from my years studying organizations and their larger purposes.

Don contributed to New Jersey Tech Weekly‘s year-end feature, “Story of the Year 2016: Newark’s Tech Renaissance,” writing about Newark Venture Partners’ role in catalyzing Newark’s emerging tech ecosystem. Read it here.

In 2017, Audible will celebrate 10 years since we set up our world headquarters here in Newark. We decided to embrace the comeback of a great American city as a defining cultural principle for the company, because I’ve long believed companies can have hearts and souls and missions that transcend financial gain.

We’ve achieved amazing growth since we moved here; we’re now the fastest-growing private employer in the city, with close to 1,000 employees in Newark — one of 16 global centers where people work for Audible. But this city’s emerging tech ecosystem needs more companies like Audible to create wealth, jobs and opportunities, and that’s why I am currently most excited about Newark Venture Partners as 2016’s most pronounced disruptive innovation in Newark and New Jersey.

Newark Venture Partners‘ inaugural accelerator class of start-ups presented at Prudential Center for the first annual demo day. Learn more in NJTV and New Jersey Tech Weekly.