Reading in the dark could become easier should the idea of a Woodmere teenager and the marriage of a $10,000 investment by a New York City-based businessman takes hold.
Murray Silver is a 14-year-old student at the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach in Woodmere. He conceived an inventive idea called the Shtender 2.0. The product has light attached to it as well as a stand, to prop up a book. The purpose is to allow for reading at night. Shtender is the Yiddish word for stand. Silver said he first had the idea while attending Camp Morasha in Pennsylvania this past summer.
“I’d started studying for my bar mitzvah at night and found it difficult to juggle my flashlight and a sefer (a book of Hebrew literature),” Silver said. “I tried to clip a book light on it, but that turned out to not work.”
Silver presented the invention idea in November at an event hosted by AMI Magazine, a weekly publication that highlights Jewish news. The event called “J-Tank” is a Jewish version of the television show “Shark Tank.” He pitched his idea to six potential investors, including Ari Zoldan, who decided to invest $10,000. “Murray just stood out to me when he was making his presentation,” Zoldan said. “I was extremely impressed that a teenager like Murray stood up and pitched his idea to a bunch of investors.”
Zoldan, the CEO of the Manhattan-based Quantum Media group, said he has invested in technology products for roughly 20 years and emphasized what he keeps in mind when investing in a product like Silver’s. “A motto I go by is that I invest in people first and the product second,” he said. “When you have a driven entrepreneur, that outweighs everything else.”
The pitching process for Silver was a mix of emotions. “At first I was nervous, but then I realized that if I didn’t get a deal, nothing in my life would change,” he said. “I eventually calmed down by just focusing on the task at hand of getting through the presentation. It was such a great feeling when I found out that Ari was investing in my product.” Silver will attend Davis Renov Stahler Yeshiva High School for Boys in Woodmere next school year.
Silver’s father, Jacob, noted that his son’s entrepreneurial mindset began a few years ago. “He would look at a product that may not be in the best condition and ask how can I make this better,” Jacob said. “When he first told me of this idea, I told him to go for it.”
It is that strong determination that pushed Silver. “If you don’t have confidence in your invention or idea, then you shouldn’t go through with it,” he said. “You should always have confidence in whatever you’re doing.”
There is no set timeline to produce the product as Silver said he has to “tighten things up” in his presentation. “What I presented was a rough draft of my idea,” he said. “I have to minimize a lot of things to make the idea more understandable to others.”