The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced that the Philadelphia-based University City Science Center’s Launch Lane accelerator has been approved to participate in its NJ Accelerate program. NJ Accelerate is designed to grow New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem by promoting greater participation by the state’s entrepreneurs in qualified accelerator programs throughout the United States. It also incentivizes graduate companies from approved accelerators to consider locating in New Jersey, as well as to showcase the talent in the state’s accelerators on a national stage. More information about NJ Accelerate can be found at http://www.njeda.com/njaccelerate.
An accelerator is a fixed-term, cohort-based training experience for startups that offers educational and mentorship programs and facilitates connections to venture capitalists, angel investors, mentors, customers, industry experts, and corporate executives who can help early-stage companies grow. Many accelerators also provide investment capital and office, lab, or prototyping space.
Through NJ Accelerate, the NJEDA matches investments made by an approved accelerator into startups that locate in New Jersey within six months after graduating from the participating accelerator’s program. NJEDA’s match will be in the form of a direct loan up to $250,000. A five-percent match bonus is available for companies that are certified as women- or minority-owned in New Jersey. The NJEDA will also provide rent support for up to six months if a company locates in an approved NJ Ignite collaborative workspace.
“New Jersey entrepreneurs are continually coming up with high-caliber ideas for products that will transform the global marketplace, and we are committed to connecting them with the tools necessary to bring those ideas from thoughts to prototypes and commercialization,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, we have rolled out a suite of resources, including NJ Accelerate, to help early-stage companies access capital, mentorship, and real estate with the goal of achieving the Governor’s vision for recapturing New Jersey’s leadership in innovation.”
Launch Lane helps entrepreneurs in the technology, tech-enabled, and digital health spaces scale their startups and commercialize their products. Since its launch in 2014, Launch Lane has invested capital into 35 companies, including four based in New Jersey. Combined, these alumni have generated over $50 million in revenue and raised over $300 million in funds and employ more than 400 people. In addition, Launch Lane frequently brings in members in the greater Philadelphia community to engage with participants on a range of relevant topics, such as hiring talent, licensing, marketing, product development, change management, and sales/value proposition. Launch Lane participants also have the ability to tap into the University City Science Center’s vast network of resources, including hundreds of vetted mentors, advisors, seasoned entrepreneurs, and investors who can provide mentorship to the growing companies. Founded in 1963, the University City Science Center is Philadelphia’s premier catalyst of entrepreneurial activity, healthcare innovation, and economic growth.
“Our proximity to southern New Jersey makes us an ideal choice for entrepreneurs who have already set down roots and are looking to expand their footprint in the Garden State,” said Aron Starosta, University City Science Center’s vice president, Commercialization & New Ventures. “Joining the NJ Accelerate program is a wonderful way for us to leverage the strengths of the region to increase visibility among New Jersey early-stage companies and reinforces the Science Center’s regional and global approach to technology commercialization. We encourage anyone interested in applying to our nationally-recognized program to learn more about our hands-on approach to helping startups grow.”
Launch Lane is the fourth accelerator approved to participate in NJ Accelerate to date, joining VentureWell’s Aspire Program, Cleantech Open Northeast and Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab as approved accelerators.
In addition to benefiting New Jersey startups, the NJ Accelerate program also provides exposure and funding for participating accelerators. The NJEDA will disseminate information about Launch Lane and encourage well-qualified companies to participate. In addition, the NJEDA will provide up to $25,000 per event capped at $100,000 per participating accelerator in total sponsorship funding for accelerator-led events, such as Accelerator Demo-Days, cohort road shows, in-person classes, pitch competitions, and networking events held in New Jersey. Approved accelerators with a diversity and inclusion focus may be eligible for an additional five percent bonus.
Accelerators and entrepreneurs interested in participating in the NJ Accelerate program are encouraged to contact the NJEDA at NJAccelerate@njeda.com. Additional information and detailed eligibility criteria for both accelerator programs and entrepreneurs are available at https://www.njeda.com/njaccelerate.
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