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NEW JERSEY INNOVATION EVERGREEN FUND


The New Jersey Innovation Evergreen Fund (NJIEF) is a partnership with the private sector that will raise and invest funds in New Jersey-based companies to address New Jersey’s shortfalls in venture capital funding and create the conditions necessary for entrepreneurs to succeed.

The NJEDA will raise funds for the NJIEF over five years by auctioning off $60 million of tax credits annually to corporations registered to do business in New Jersey. Auction bids will be evaluated according to price and strategic commitments the bidding company makes to support NJIEF’s portfolio companies and the state’s broader innovation ecosystem.

Professional, institutional venture capital investors can apply for formal review. Those that meet the NJEDA’s criteria will have access to up to $10 million per year to invest in New Jersey-based companies in innovative industries. The funded companies will also receive support from the corporations that purchased tax credits through the auctions.

The NJEDA will return dividends and returns on investments to the Fund, making it self-sustaining or “evergreen.” Some investment returns may also be paid to the State’s General Fund.

ELIGIBILITY

To purchase tax credits during the NJIEF auction, a company must:

  • Request at least $1 million in tax credits.
  • Bid at least 85 percent of the requested dollar amount of tax credits.
  • Agree to provide mentorship, networking, and collaboration opportunities to qualified businesses that receive funding under the program, at minimum, in addition to other support of the State’s innovation ecosystem in its bid.

To receive an investment through the NJIEF, a business must:

  • Be registered to do business in New Jersey.
  • Have principal business operations located in New Jersey and intend to maintain principal business operations in the State after receiving a qualified investment under the program.
  • Be engaged in a targeted industry.
  • Employ fewer than 250 persons.

In order to access funds, venture capital firms must

  • Be qualified by the NJEDA.
  • Demonstrate a minimum of $10 million assets under management at time of certification.
  • Have no fewer than two principals or persons employed to direct the qualified investment of capital with at least five years of money management experience in the venture capital or private equity sectors on the date the determination for certification is made.

AWARD SIZE

The NJEDA will auction up to $300 million in transferrable tax credits, with an annual cap of $60 million during each of the first six years after program launch. Qualified investments up to $5 million may be made from the Fund. Businesses that utilize intellectual property that is core to the their business model and was developed at a New Jersey-based college or university; are considered a university spin-off business; or are certified by the State as a “minority business” or a “women’s business” can qualify for an investment up to $6.25 million.

The NJEDA has set a goal of 25 percent of NJIEF money that is allocated to qualified venture firms going to investments in businesses located in opportunity zones.

FISCAL AND RESIDENT PROTECTIONS

In order to participate in or receive investment from the NJIEF, an investor or company must be in good standing with the NJ Department of Labor, NJ Department of Treasury, and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.

In any given year, the NJEDA may not auction off tax credits if more than $15 million is available to the NJEDA from moneys received from any prior auction of tax credits pursuant to the program. Failure by the tax credit purchaser to adhere to the commitments made in its auction bid will also disqualify the purchaser from participating in future auctions and may result in the recapture of a portion of the tax credits.

The full statutory text of the program can be found in sections 20-34 of the Economic Recovery Act of 2020.

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