EDA Advances NJ's First Technology Incubator

TRENTON—With an eye toward nurturing the next generation of technology pioneers, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) this week approved entering into a partnership with TechLaunch LLC to create the state’s first Technology Accelerator.

The accelerator model has achieved notable success in other states by offering technology-focused entrepreneurs an opportunity to showcase their products and ideas in an intensive, mentor -driven and boot camp-style environment in return for an opportunity to receive funding.

As part of the TechLaunch business model, a twelve-week LaunchPad business boot-camp program will provide the training, networking with mentors and potential strategic partners to increase the value of the enterprise and likelihood of follow-on funding. The program will culminate in a demonstration and an investor pitch from each company.

Upon final execution of the agreement with EDA, TechLaunch intends to run its inaugural class later this year at the initial host campus, Montclair State University. TechLaunch expects to host 12 companies in the first year, making average investments of $18,000 per company. The companies will be chosen by TechLaunch through a competitive selection process. To support this effort, the EDA has agreed to make an annual investment of $150,000 over three years. EDA’s investment requires $300,000 private sector matching funds annually.

February’s approval of the agreement with TechLaunch follows the Board’s January authorization of a $2 million investment in New Jersey-based Edison Venture Fund VII, which targets financial, healthcare information, interactive marketing and enterprise 2.0 technology companies. The fund, which has obtained nearly $206 million in committed capital to date, is seeking to invest in 25 to 30 expansion-stage companies with a $300 million target size for the fund. To date, the EDA has approved investments in eight venture capital funds totaling $31.5 million; the funds have leveraged EDA’s investment by more than 25 times.

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