November 15, 2016
3 minute read

​Trifecta of State Supports Helps Fintech Company CircleBlack Flourish in New Jersey


Serial Entrepreneur John Michel launched CircleBlack in January 2014 to help financial advisors better connect clients with their investments. 

TRENTON (November 15, 2016) – With an extensive background in finance, including a dozen years as a senior executive at Merrill Lynch and three years as the president of Bloomberg Personal Wealth, serial entrepreneur John Michel launched Jersey City-based CircleBlack in January 2014 to help financial advisors better connect clients with their investments.

CircleBlack’s cloud-based platform provides advisors and investors with a clear investment portfolio snapshot – in real time. The technology helps financial advisors provide their clients with modern, mobile technology including a highly-rated mobile app, while providing advisors with an integrated platform that seamlessly aggregates data and moves it between the advisors’ other technology applications and gives them total visibility into the investments they are managing. For investors, CircleBlack’s technology delivers up-to-date information on all of an investor’s financial relationships, including investment performance, potential pitfalls, and progress toward goals. It also sends proactive, portfolio-specific alerts and content straight to their mobile devices when their investments are impacted, giving them the knowledge needed to take action.

“Our mission is to bring innovative next generation wealth services to key industry players and investors with the goal of solving today’s trust gap and helping  busy online consumers better manage their wealth, and life,” said Michel, who is the Chief Executive Officer of CircleBlack. “The support we’ve received from the State has not only helped us grow, but has enabled us to enhance our platform, thereby helping more advisors and investors.”

Michel noted that CircleBlack, which also has an office in Princeton, received more than $3 million in investments that qualified for the State’s Angel Investor Tax Credit Program. Administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) in consultation with the New Jersey Division of Taxation, the program offers a 10 percent refundable tax credit against New Jersey corporation business or gross income tax for qualified investments in an emerging technology business with a physical presence in New Jersey and that conducts research, manufacturing, or technology commercialization in the state. Any investor wishing to apply for the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program must submit a completed application, with all required documentation, by 11:59 p.m. tonight, November 15, 2016, to be considered for approval of a 2016 tax credit certificate.

CircleBlack was also one of several New Jersey emerging companies to participate in the State’s Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer (NOL) Program for the first time in 2016. Administered by the EDA and the New Jersey Division of Taxation, the competitive NOL Program enables eligible technology and biotechnology companies to sell New Jersey tax losses and/or research and development tax credits to raise non-dilutive cash to finance their growth and operations. Since the program’s inception in 1999, more than 500 unique businesses have been approved for awards totaling over $905 million.

In October 2015, CircleBlack was one of more than two-dozen companies to attend New Jersey Founders & Funders. Hosted by the EDA, the semi-annual event connects entrepreneurs with potential investors in 10-minute, one-on-one “speed-dating” sessions to discuss strategy and potential funding opportunities.

“We encourage New Jersey entrepreneurs like John Michel to continue taking advantage of the variety of financial and networking programs that we offer,” EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen said.

@NJEDATech asked Michel about his company’s experience in New Jersey and its plans for the future:

Why did you choose to grow your company here in New Jersey?
The team was all from the New York area and felt proximity to the greater New York technology community made New Jersey an excellent choice. The State’s Angel Investor Tax Credit Program was also a consideration in the decision-making process.

Was the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program beneficial in attracting investors to CircleBlack?
Yes! CircleBlack has received numerous investments from investors who were able to benefit from the New Jersey Angel Investor Tax Credit Program. Investors definitely took the program into account when evaluating the potential return on their investment.

What is your company’s biggest success to date?
Our biggest success to date has been the great acceptance of our product. We’ve seen a continuing stream of new contracts being signed since going commercial in January of this year.

What’s on the horizon for CircleBlack? 
In the months and years ahead, CircleBlack looks forward to continuing to grow here in New Jersey, to building up our platform, and to bringing our product to even more people.

To learn more about resources available to New Jersey’s emerging technology and life sciences companies, visit and follow @NJEDATech on Twitter and LinkedIn.