Newark Venture Partners
Economic Development

EDA’s Founders & Funders Event Ventures to Newark

Twenty-two high-tech startup companies met with 17 angel and venture capital investors from around the Mid-Atlantic region today at the semi-annual New Jersey Founders & Funders event, hosted by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). Participating entrepreneurs had 10 minutes with each investor, in what was best described as “speed dating” sessions, to discuss their strategies, business models, and funding opportunities, with the end result hopefully being the investment of capital.

According to Kathleen Coviello, vice president, technology and life sciences investments at the EDA, 10 percent of all companies that have participated in Founders and Funders events have successfully gone on to raise capital. “That’s a good hit ratio,” she said.

The event was held at Newark Venture Partners (NVP) headquarters. Coviello explained this was the first time the event was not held at the EDA Technology Centre Campus in North Brunswick. “Under Gov. Murphy’s leadership, we were asked to find a way to support other incubators and collaborative work spaces in the state in an effort to showcase them.”

NVP is one of these facilities. The early stage venture capital firm, founded by Audible CEO Don Katz, offers a partner base that includes Audible, Dun & Bradstreet, Fidelco Realty Group, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, Panasonic Corporation, Prudential Financial, RWJ Barnabas, TD Bank and the EDA.

In total, NVP has invested $15 million in 54 tech companies. Startups must locate to Newark, specifically at NVP’s incubator space at 1 Washington Park. According to Joanne Lin, NVP senior investment associate, these companies have raised more than $200 million in follow up capital.

Gov. Phil Murphy was on hand to welcome the entrepreneurs and investors, saying that the interplay between the two “is key to spurring the growth of emerging companies and is a critical component of the state’s vision to make New Jersey the state of innovation.”

Murphy explained his recently debuted economic strategy, touching upon items such as the recently-proposed $500-million New Jersey lnnovation Evergreen Fund, which is designed to “supercharge the return of venture capital to the Garden State in order to invest in a diverse array of New Jersey-based startups,” the governor said.

He also discussed the EDA’s NJ Ignite program, which provides grants that support the rents of early stage technology and life science companies at collaborative workspaces. “It is money … to help you pay the rent, so you can focus more money on R&D and less on overhead,” the governor told the audience.

Touching upon his goal of a fairer economy for all, he said, “We are looking at wage and job growth across race and gender lines. We want to grow the pie, but with just as much passion, we want to make sure everybody gets a slice of the pie.”

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