The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board approved the first three venture capital firms that will be onboarded to the New Jersey Innovation Evergreen Fund (NJIEF) platform. Qualified Venture Firms (QVFs) will be able to apply and access up to $12.5 million annually from the NJIEF to co-invest in innovative, high growth New Jersey-based businesses. The qualification of these three firms marks a significant milestone in the creation of the NJIEF, a first-of-its-kind tool to increase New Jersey startups’ access to venture capital and strategic resources.
Established under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act (ERA) of 2020, signed by Governor Phil Murphy in 2021, the NJIEF allows the State to become an equity investor in innovative early-stage businesses based in New Jersey, investing a total of up to $600 million in New Jersey companies alongside approved QVFs.
“The NJIEF is a ground-breaking public-private partnership designed to fuel New Jersey’s innovation economy by connecting entrepreneurs with venture capital and corporate mentorship, which in turn will cultivate the next generation of leading companies,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey remains poised to recapture our role as a national leader in innovation, with programs like the NJIEF serving as a testament to our state’s continued investment in high-growth start-ups, entrepreneurs, and our innovation ecosystem.”
The application for firms to be designated as a QVF is available to venture capital firms located anywhere in the world that meet the Program’s minimum requirements. Applications are reviewed on a rolling and open-ended basis. The QVF applicants approved are:
Approved QVFs can apply for co-investment capital from the NJIEF, which can be used to make two Qualified Investments per year into eligible New Jersey businesses. They will also be able to leverage the support and insight of other NJIEF stakeholders, including large corporate businesses on the NJIEF Advisory Board and entrepreneurs directly engaged in New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem. For more information on program benefits and requirements, visit https://www.njeda.com/evergreen-investment/.
“The NJIEF relies on the support of QVFs to boost New Jersey’s innovation-focused businesses,” NJEDA Chief Economic Transformation Officer Kathleen Coviello said. “The approvals of the NJIEF’s first venture firms today as QVFs will propel the NJIEF forward as we work to connect early-stage New Jersey startups with the resources they need to succeed.”
Entrepreneurs seeking to engage with approved QVFs should visit https://www.njeda.com/evergreen-investment/, which contains links to each of the QVF’s websites. Entrepreneurs who attend future NJ Founders & Funders events will also have the opportunity to network with QVFs. Held semi-annually, NJ Founders & Funders connects entrepreneurs with seasoned angel and venture capital investors in short, one-on-one sessions to discuss business strategy and funding opportunities.
Qualified Investments will be funded through the auctioning of tax credits to corporate businesses, which are required to submit strategic plans to bolster New Jersey’s innovation economy and to serve on the NJIEF Advisory Board for one year. The NJEDA’s inaugural New Jersey Corporate Business Tax Credit Auction, held in December 2022, resulted in the sale of $50 million in tax credits to eight corporations, yielding $41 million in available capital for Qualified Investments. The 2022 State Budget approved an additional $5 million in initial funding.
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