ICGF Focuses on Investing in Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses

TRENTON, N.J. (September 23, 2022) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today announced that its Board has approved investing up to $1 million into Innovate Capital Growth Fund (ICGF) through a limited partnership investment. ICGF marks the NJEDA’s 21st venture fund investment approval to date.

ICGF, a Delaware limited partnership, was created last year to provide growth capital, primarily in the form of equity, to minority- and women-owned businesses located substantially in the Mid-Atlantic region. ICGF is expected to invest an additional $2 in New Jersey-based companies for every $1 the NJEDA commits. This would result in a target of $3 million of capital invested into New Jersey companies.

“ICGF’s investment strategy aligns perfectly with Governor Phil Murphy’s vision to create the most diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem in the nation,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Through investments such as this one, we are providing much-needed capital for young companies to leverage as they grow, commercialize, and create good-paying jobs in New Jersey.”

Sullivan noted that, among its myriad resources for New Jersey’s innovation sector, the NJEDA helps increase available capital for emerging innovation-focused companies by investing as a limited partner in venture capital funds that invest in New Jersey-based enterprises. Gains resulting from these investments are then used to offer new funding opportunities to support New Jersey businesses. To date, the NJEDA has committed over $64.5 million to 20 venture capital funds since 1999, not including this latest approval.

The Fund will be managed by Innovate Capital Growth GP, LLC, which is owned in part by  The Enterprise Center (TEC). TEC is a nationally recognized community economic development center in Philadelphia that focuses solely on advancing economic growth by connecting minority and women-owned companies with business, capital, and community. TEC operates three federally contracted business centers, including the Camden Cares Business Center. The Camden Cares Business Center employs nearly 10 percent of TEC’s investment and operations professionals. TEC also operates a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Across all of these instruments, TEC has helped small businesses earn more than $1 billion in contracts and financing, secure more than $7 million in start-up loans, and created more than 3,000 jobs for the local community.

ICGF managers recently participated in the NJEDA’s New Jersey Founder & Funders event, where they met one-on-one with emerging innovation-focused companies. ICGF Co-Managing Partner and TEC President Della Clark indicated that, as part of ICGF’s growing commitment to New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem, she and her co-managers intend to participate in additional New Jersey Founders & Funders events in the future.

“In recent years, New Jersey has shown a strong commitment to bolstering opportunities for minority- and women-led businesses and we are excited to have the NJEDA as one of ICGF’s investors,” said Clark. “We have been continually impressed with the high-caliber startups we have found in New Jersey and are proud to bolster our ability to support these emerging companies through this fund.”

ICGF was awarded a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) license from the United States Small Business Administration. Having this designation will enable the firm to access a wider pool of capital from private lenders and banks that may support companies in their portfolio.

About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness. NJEDA is developing the Wind port on behalf of the State.

To learn more about state resources available to New Jersey entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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NJ’s Venture Capital Deal Flow More Than Doubles to $5.5 Billion in 2021
as State’s Innovation Ecosystem Sees Flurry of Activity

Trenton, N.J. (March 4, 2022) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today announced that New Jersey now ranks ninth in the nation based on venture capital (VC) dollars invested per state. According to PitchBook, innovation-focused companies in New Jersey secured $5.5 billion in 219 venture capital deals in 2021, up from $1.7 billion thorough 154 deals in 2020. This represents a significant improvement for New Jersey relative to 2017, when the state saw a total of $818 million in 143 venture capital deals. In this latest ranking, New Jersey jumped three spots from where it stood at #12 in 2020, and seven spots from #16 in 2013. New Jersey’s share of the Northeast market also grew, by 1.4 percentage points in 2021 to 5.5 percent.

“We’re very encouraged to see the VC community invest in New Jersey startups on a scale we haven’t seen in decades,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “It’s well known that New Jersey is the birthplace of innovation, but investors are clearly showing that our state is the future of innovation as well.”

Throughout his first term, Governor Murphy prioritized recapturing New Jersey’s role as a leader in innovation and creating the most diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem in the nation. In January 2021, the Governor signed the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA). In part, the ERA calls for the establishment the New Jersey Evergreen Fund (NJIEF), which is designed to create the ecosystem conditions necessary for entrepreneurs to succeed. Expected to launch this year, the NJIEF will create a platform for even greater investment opportunity in NJ businesses by leveraging public and private funds to invest in New Jersey-based companies. Details of the NJIEF, which is currently under development, can be found at https://www.njeda.com/evergreen/.

The ERA also made enhancements to the state’s Angel Investor Tax Credit Program. Last summer, the NJEDA approved expanding the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program based on those enhancements as well as revisions made to the program through legislation signed by Governor Murphy in 2019. Examples of the enhancements include increasing the amount of tax credits available annually under the program from $25 million to $35 million. It also increased the amount of tax credits available per qualified investment in an emerging New Jersey technology business from 10 percent to 20 percent and adding five percent bonus credit for qualified investments made in a New Jersey certified minority-or women-owned technology business or a technology business that is located in a qualified Opportunity Zone or New Markets Tax Credit Census Tract.

Last year, the NJEDA approved a record-breaking 559 Angel Investor Tax Credit Program applications, a nearly 400 percent increase over 2020. These approved applications represented the injection of more than $100 million in 39 New Jersey businesses. This constitutes a more than threefold year-over-year increase in investment and tax credit totals.

“The Murphy Administration has taken numerous steps to bolster New Jersey’s innovation economy and the investment community is taking notice,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “In addition to our spot within the Top 10 spot for venture capital dollars, we are also seeing companies of all size choosing to benefit from all that New Jersey has to offer. This, in turn, will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs and bring in even more investment dollars in the coming years.”

As an example, Sullivan cited the commitment of the NJEDA and Princeton-based venture capital firm SOSV to bring SOSV’s acclaimed HAX hard tech startup development program to Newark. SOSV will also establish the U.S. headquarters of the HAX program at the Newark site. SOSV selected Newark as the location for the new HAX program through a competitive process that included locations across the country. SOSV intends to take 100 companies through the HAX program over the next five years and invest $25 million in these startups. The NJEDA has also committed $25 million toward this initiative.  Participating companies may receive up to $50 million from SOSV as follow-on financing to support the companies as they grow. With this support, companies participating in the HAX program are expected to create at least 2,500 new, high-paying jobs in the decade ahead as well as attract millions in new capital.

The NJEDA’s Angel/Venture Capital Funding website launched in early 2021 to showcase capital raises, along with mergers and acquisitions throughout the Garden State. Investors or founders interested in having their investments listed on the page should email njinvestments@njeda.com.

About NJEDA

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about state resources available to New Jersey entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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TRENTON, N.J. (March 18, 2021) – Thirteen months ago, Golden Seeds, a nationwide angel investor network dedicated to investing in women-led startups, launched a New Jersey chapter in partnership with First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to increase available capital for female-led businesses. Since then, Golden Seeds has connected more than 80 female-led companies with seasoned angel investors through a series of monthly office hours and follow-up conversations. In celebration of Women’s History Month, the NJEDA takes a closer look at the chapter’s important role in New Jersey’s innovation economy and the resources available to female entrepreneurs.

Since its inception in 2005, Golden Seeds has become a leading force in focusing on women’s leadership, gender diversity and entrepreneurship. In its sixteen years, Golden Seeds has had over 850 investors nationally – in the angel network and/or as fund investors. Combined, the members and funds have invested approximately $140 million in over 200 companies. Despite COVID-19 impacting investing worldwide, Golden Seeds invested $12 million in 33 investments nationwide in 2020.

The New Jersey chapter of Golden Seeds currently has 27 members. The chapter holds monthly office hours, during which investors meet privately with individual entrepreneurs to help them build, grow, and eventually fund their companies. Seven to 12 investors attend each office hours session. When the COVID-19 lockdown began shortly after the New Jersey chapter of Golden Seeds launched, the investment network moved its office hours online and continued its one-on-one meetings virtually. In November 2020, East Hanover-based ROAR Augmented Reality became the first New Jersey company to close on an investment from Golden Seeds since the launch of the New Jersey chapter. The chapter is actively seeking new entrepreneurs who want to connect with knowledgeable and experienced angel investors.    

“Golden Seeds has a proven track record of successfully investing in, and creating opportunities for, women-led startups nationwide and we have experienced first-hand the impact that this angel investor network has on our state’s female entrepreneurs,” said First Lady Murphy. “Our flourishing New Jersey chapter continues to open doors and provide opportunities for women-led companies throughout the state. Establishing a Golden Seeds chapter in New Jersey has been vital in building our innovation ecosystem and driving sustainable, economic growth that will continue to thrive after the pandemic.”

NJEDA Executive Vice President for Technology, Life Sciences & Entrepreneurship Kathleen Coviello is a member of the New Jersey chapter of Golden Seeds, through the NJEDA.

“Access to capital has always been one of the greatest barriers to success for female founders, and under Governor Phil Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey is focused on removing that impediment,” Coviello said. “By connecting female founders directly with experienced investors who can offer feedback and guidance and the potential for funding, we are arming them with the tools they need to best position their early-stage companies for growth.”

The national Golden Seeds network is headed by Loretta McCarthy, Peggy Wallace, and Jo Ann Corkran. McCarthy is one of Golden Seeds’ managing partners and focuses on the network’s membership, orientation and engagement. She is also a frequent speaker, both in the United States and internationally, about early-stage investing, women entrepreneurs, and gender diversity. Wallace, also a managing partner and fund partner, works to build out a post-investment ecosystem that fosters the acceleration and growth of Golden Seeds companies. Corkran is a managing partner and fund partner who manages deal flow for Golden Seeds.   

“Women’s History Month celebrates not only the accomplishments of female entrepreneurs, but also the vast network of mentoring and guidance they receive from other women throughout the state,” McCarthy said. “Golden Seeds’ New Jersey chapter is a perfect example of this support in action and I am so proud of all that our members have done to bolster female-led companies during this past year.”

Golden Seeds was featured in three sessions recently during the third annual Women of Color Connecting (WOCCON) 2021 virtual conference, including a session on March 11th offering opportunities for entrepreneurs to meet one-on-one with Golden Seeds investors through “office hours” sessions; an information session on March 18th that provided an overview of Golden Seeds and advice to entrepreneurs on finding investors; and remarks by First Lady Murphy at a Golden Seeds-hosted reception on March 19th.

The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL) launched WOCCON in 2018 to focus attention on Women of Color entrepreneurs, a powerful but often overlooked group of high-value professionals, customers, suppliers, investment targets, and job creators. The initiative focuses on eradicating the long-standing systemic barriers that Women of Color entrepreneurs face. WOCCON 2021 kicked off on March 11th and continues through Thursday, March 25th.

The creation of the New Jersey chapter of Golden Seeds is one of numerous initiatives launched under Governor Murphy’s administration to spur opportunities for entrepreneurs within New Jersey’s innovation economy. In the summer of 2019, the Governor signed legislation doubling the amount of tax credits (from 10 percent to 20 percent) an investor could receive on an eligible investment into a qualifying New Jersey company through the state’s Angel Investor Tax Credit Program. It also added a five-percent bonus for investments made into women- or minority-owned companies. Under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, which Governor Murphy signed into January, the legislative cap on this program increased from $25 million to $35 million for the 2021 program year and going forward. The Act also bolstered New Jersey’s Net Operating Loss (NOL) Program, which allows technology and life sciences companies that have yet to reach profitability to sell their net operating losses and unused research and development tax credits for cash. Part of the Act increased the program’s annual cap from $60 million to $75 million. It also increased the lifetime cap for an individual applicant from $15 million to $20 million.

About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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