Continuing Governor Chris Christie’s efforts to catalyze technology-led growth, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) will host the State’s first New Jersey Founders & Funders event in June to directly connect entrepreneurs with investors. The initiative is aimed at spurring the growth of early-stage technology and life sciences companies and will be held at the EDA’s Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) in North Brunswick.
“We are pleased to offer another opportunity for our growing technology and life sciences companies to access the resources they need to thrive in New Jersey,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Michele Brown. “By directly connecting companies with investors, New Jersey Founders & Funders will serve to complement the Christie Administration’s ongoing efforts to spur innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation in the State.”
New Jersey Founders & Funders will take place on June 10 at 12:00 p.m. To date, participating investors include ff Venture Capital, Edison Ventures, Genacast Ventures, KEC Ventures, Milestone Venture Partners, NewSpring Capital, NextStage Capital, Osage Venture Partners, ARC Angel Fund, GHO Ventures, Jumpstart NJ Angel Network, Klifer Capital, and SoundBoard Angel Fund. The EDA is continuing to secure additional participants. Companies interested in attending should register at https://application.njeda.com/tls.
Companies should be New Jersey based with a focus on commercializing their technology. Companies that register for the event will be contacted by a member of the EDA’s Technology & Life Sciences team to discuss the information that should be provided to participating investors. This includes the company’s commercialization strategy and business plan, as well as specific requests for investors such as funding opportunities. The EDA expects to host New Jersey Founders & Funders quarterly.
To drive the commercialization of innovative technology within the State, the EDA offers a continuum of assistance to support companies at every stage of growth. In addition to launching New Jersey Founders & Funders, the Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer (NOL) Program also offers support to companies beyond the venture funding stage. The program allows emerging technology and life sciences companies to sell New Jersey tax losses and/or research and development tax credits to profitable businesses in order to raise cash to finance their growth and operations. In December, 54 companies were approved to share the $60 million allocation available through the NOL Program in Fiscal Year 2014. Each of the 54 applicants approved will receive an estimated $1.1 million, which is a 21 percent increase from last year.
Other recent efforts include the Angel Investor Tax Credit program, which was signed into law by Governor Christie in January 2013. The program provides credits against New Jersey corporation business or gross income tax for 10 percent of a qualified investment in an emerging technology business with a physical presence in New Jersey and that conducts research, manufacturing, or technology commercialization in the state. Since EDA began accepting applications to the program in July, 30 investments have been approved representing the injection of $14.7 million of capital into New Jersey companies.
With an eye toward nurturing the next generation of technology pioneers, EDA entered into a partnership with TechLaunch, LLC in February 2012 to create New Jersey’s first Technology Accelerator. The Accelerator provides seed-stage technology companies funding, mentorship, business training, key services and exposure to qualified investors to increase the value of an enterprise and the likelihood of follow-on funding. The program culminates in a demonstration and investor pitch from each company. TechLaunch has completed two LaunchPad business boot-camps at Montclair State University since 2012 and “graduated” a total of 19 companies. TechLaunch began its third class this month.
The EDA also helps increase available capital for emerging technology companies by investing as a limited partner in venture capital firms that invest in New Jersey-based companies. Funds in which the EDA invest in demonstrate an ability to leverage the Authority’s investment with other investment dollars at a minimum ratio of 3:1. Gains resulting from these investments are utilized to offer new funding opportunities to support New Jersey businesses. In total, EDA has approved investments in 12 venture funds in excess of $40 million; to date, these funds have leveraged the EDA’s investment in New Jersey businesses by more than 62 times.
With successful graduates like Amicus Therapeutics, Genewiz and Chromocell Corporation, which today boast over 100 employees each, CCIT continues to be New Jersey’s leading life sciences incubator. CCIT has welcomed three new tenants in 2014, following the addition of ten companies last year. New tenants include Novanex, VClinBio, and Crystal Pharmatech.
For more information on the full range of programs and services EDA offers to the technology industry, visit www.njeda.com/TLS. To learn about opportunities for business growth throughout New Jersey, visit the state’s business portal at www.NewJerseyBusiness.gov.