“New York City cops, but they ain’t too smart.” So sang The Strokes on their 2001 song “New York City Cops.”
Justin Insalaco might have something to say about that. The young cerebral policeman who walks a beat in central New Jersey is a progressive innovator making his mark as an entrepreneur.
Five years ago, troubled by the lack of ability to quickly share information between law enforcement agencies, he came up with the idea for Guidant, an app he developed with security experts and Argonne, an Illinois-based research lab. Guidant, which has helped immensely with Amber Alerts, facilitates instant sharing of crucial information "when every second counts," as their site describes. It's been endorsed by William F. Flynn, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection at the US Department of Homeland Security.
Insalaco, 28, didn't stop there. In May of 2017, he and his partners, Jason Elhomsi and Mathew Roselli, launched the startup Legemdary, which hopes to disrupt the retail diamond marketplace with a direct-to-consumer reverse-auction model.
Insalaco, who is not married or engaged, wondered why men have given in to the confusing and expensive rite of passage of forking over considerable cash for an engagement ring. The process, says Insalaco, is "a royal pain" and he figured that there had to be a better way. So the enterprising former Rutgers pre-law major researched the diamond industry and saw an opportunity.
Here's how Legemdary works: The user creates a ring by selecting a stone and a setting and waits for one of the participating sellers to submit their bids. If the buyer sees something they like, a ring is purchased.
Insalaco says the company had done more than $125,000 in sales to date.
So how does a cop walking the beat find the time and energy to create new businesses? “I always had aspirations of being something bigger than myself,” Insalaco says. “And being a police officer has helped because it’s made me more resourceful. I have the ability to solve problems and connect the dots immediately.”
As for the get-up and go, Insalaco says he wouldn't have it any other way. “I’m definitely burning the candle at both ends,” Insalaco says. “My schedule is packed but I love being so busy.”
Legemdary isn’t financed by investors. Insalaco and his partners are picking up the tab. “A lot of entrepreneurs wait to get capital until they make a move. Not me. I can’t wait. The time for Legemdary is now. I’m funding this and I’m very confident that Legemdary will do very well.”
Eager for more, Insalaco and his partners Elhomsi and Roselli established 3B Dreams, an Asbury Park-based think tank, to find and generate new business ideas. “We’re open to many different types of opportunities,” Insalaco says. “We’re like brothers. We’re in this together. We’re all energetic, optimistic and opportunistic. Those are three strengths that are essential if you want to be an entrepreneur.”