Entrepreneurs from two dozen emerging technology and life sciences companies received personalized feedback on their pitches and products from potential investors as the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) hosted its latest New Jersey Founders & Funders event.
The afternoon-long event connected the entrepreneurs with angel and venture capital investors in 10-minute, one-on-one, “speed dating” sessions to discuss strategy, business models and funding opportunities. Since 2014, executives from more than 250 startup companies have participated in New Jersey Founders & Funders events.
“As we aim to restore New Jersey to its place of leadership in innovation, we fully recognize the importance of nurturing technology and life sciences companies at their earliest stages,” EDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said. “We hope the synergy generated by today’s meetings spur ongoing conversations between investors and entrepreneurs as they establish and expand their companies in the Garden State.”
Eighteen angel and venture capital investors from around the Mid-Atlantic Region attended today’s event. Participants included Delaware Crossing Investor Group, which has offices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as Windham Venture Partners, located in New York, and New Brunswick-based Tech Council Ventures. Last year, the EDA invested up to $7.5 million into Tech Council Ventures II, Tech Council Ventures’ latest fund.
Investors met with a variety of technology and life sciences companies, including:
Reflik, located in Somerset, creates and maintains a talent acquisition and recruitment platform that utilizes its extensive network of recruiters and industry professionals to create efficiency for human resource professionals looking to find top candidates in less time. MGM Resorts, Canon, and Marsh & McLennan are among the company’s customers. Last year, Reflik became the first company approved for a loan through the EDA’s NJ CoVest Fund, which is designed to fill the funding gap that occurs between product development and commercial expansion.
Plumeria Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that develops non-opioid pain drugs to treat complex neuroinflammatory diseases. Plumeria is currently focused on pain management for diabetic neuropathy patients. The company was co-founded by Thomas P. Richardson, PhD, MBA, who has extensive experience in research and development. Richardson has worked at life sciences startups, Rutgers University, and BioNJ. Co-Founder Lei Yu is a geneticist and Rutgers professor with 30 years of experience in academia studying pain and sensory processes.
Salem County-based Carii is an internet company that offers a robust and flexible platform for engaging community members with multiple communication methods and layers of privacy and control. Husband-and-wife Co-founders Wun and Denise Hayman‐Loa noted that the platform is secure enough for financial services and law firms, but still unique in its ability to link public and private communities. It is available on the web and iOS and Android devices.
The event was held at the EDA’s Biotechnology Development Center (BDC), located on the 50-acre Technology Centre of New Jersey research park in North Brunswick. The BDC offers suites of intermediate lab and office space from 3,400 to 10,000 square feet for emerging life sciences companies, including those that have outgrown incubator space and other early stage companies looking to expand.
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