EDA to Fill Market Need for Seed-Stage Capital through NJ CoVest Fund
Fund to Help New Innovative New Jersey Technology and Life Science Companies Thrive
TRENTON, N.J. (April 13, 2017) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today announced the creation of the NJ CoVest Fund, which will provide growth capital to early-stage technology and life sciences companies, driving up to $9 million in investment. The NJ CoVest Fund will fill a market need in New Jersey, ensuring the availability of capital at a company’s critical stage between product development and commercial operation expansion, where limited funds are currently available and a funding gap exists.
“In addition to the State’s renowned higher education and university research systems, New Jersey is now home to more than 22 coworking facilities, 11 incubators, and six accelerators, creating an influx of opportunities to help early-stage companies grow,” EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen said. “The NJ CoVest Fund will help to ensure that we are able to retain these innovative companies in the Garden State by providing them with the capital they need to commercialize new technologies and scale commercial revenues.”
The NJ CoVest Fund will provide seed funding to New Jersey-based early-stage technology companies in the form of convertible notes with warrants, requiring a negative pledge and springing lien on protected intellectual property. Under the $3 million fund, companies will be eligible for between $100,000 – $250,000; NJ CoVest funds must be matched $2 of external funding from private, outside investors for every $1 funding requested from the Fund. Up to $250,000 of funding per company may be available. CoVest funds will feature three percent interest and 10-year maturity, with no payments due for the first seven years.
Eligibility requirements include:
- Must be a product-based company that is capital efficient in the technology or life sciences industry.
- Company must be a developer/owner of protected, proprietary technology.
- Company must demonstrate revenue derived from product sales to a minimum of three verifiable commercial customers, excluding revenue generated from research, grants, consulting, or any other method that could be considered service based.
- Company must have a scalable business model and target a large, addressable market.
- Company must currently have a product including, but not limited to, a working prototype or platform currently in pilot/beta testing or in the market, that has gained traction in the form of generating revenue/sales.
- 75 percent of the company’s full time employees must occupy physical commercial office, co-working or incubator space in New Jersey.
- Company must remain headquartered in New Jersey for five years after conversion or repayment of the note, except in the event of a merger or acquisition.
- Company must have a minimum of two full-time founders in the management team at the time of application; these founders must have a financial investment in the company.
- Company must be registered to do business in New Jersey and in good standing.
A complete list of NJ CoVest Fund program guidelines and company requirements can be found at www.njeda.gov/njcovest. The EDA expects to begin accepting applications in the third quarter of 2017.
The NJ CoVest Fund aligns with the EDA’s ongoing strategy designed to stimulate the growth of New Jersey’s innovation economy and drive commercialization of pioneering technology within the State. Among its myriad resources, the EDA has a long history of helping increase available capital for emerging companies by investing as a limited partner in venture capital firms that invest in New Jersey-based enterprises. To date, EDA has committed over $40 million to more than a dozen venture capital funds since 1999. Cumulatively, these partner funds invested approximately six times the EDA’s investment into more than 60 New Jersey early-stage technology and life science companies. Including other third party investors, companies in the EDA venture fund portfolio have received approximately $2 billion of funding and employed almost 2,000 full time employees as of December 31, 2015.
To learn more about the resources available to New Jersey’s emerging technology and life sciences companies, visit www.njeda.gov/tls and follow @NJEDATech on Twitter and LinkedIn.
EDA Board meetings are typically held at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at 36 West State Street in Trenton. The Board meeting schedule, as well as Board agendas and minutes, are available at www.njeda.gov. All Board actions will take effect at the expiration of the statutory period for the Governor’s review and consideration of the meeting minutes.