MORE THAN $60 MILLION IN INVESTMENTS APPROVED IN 2014 THROUGH THE ANGEL INVESTOR TAX CREDIT INVESTMENT PROGRAM
$74.3 Million Invested Since Program’s Inception in 2013
TRENTON (January 16, 2015) – New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) CEO Michele Brown announced today that the EDA approved 181 Angel Investor Tax Credit investments in 2014 to support New Jersey-based emerging technology and life sciences companies, representing the investment of more than $60 million of private capital.
Signed into law by Governor Christie in January 2013, the Angel Investor Tax Credit program provides credits against New Jersey corporate business or gross income tax for 10 percent of a qualified investment in an emerging technology business that conducts research, manufacturing, or technology commercialization in the state. The company must have with fewer than 225 employees, with 75% of those employees with a physical presence in New Jersey and Investors do not need to be New Jersey residents, and if the investor has no offsetting NJ tax liability, the credit is refunded to the investor.
“Since the Angel Investor Tax Credit program began, investors have funded more than $74 million to support a wide variety of New Jersey up-and-coming tech companies,” Brown said. “Whether finding new ways to harness renewable energies, discovering life-saving drugs, or simply modernizing the way we watch sports games, emerging tech companies are making a difference in the everyday lives of people worldwide.”
One company that benefited from the Angel Investor Tax Credit program is Princeton Power Systems. The EDA approved more than $5 million last year and $2.5 million in 2013 for Princeton Power Systems’ investors through the Angel Investor Tax Credit program. Princeton Power Systems is a technology company that designs and manufactures state-of-the-art solutions for energy management, micro-grid operations and electric vehicle charging. These credits provided increased financial resources to the investors of Princeton Power Systems, allowed for a guaranteed short term return on their investment and ultimately allowed for increased support to the company. Created in a Princeton University dorm room in 2001 and now headquartered in Lawrenceville, Princeton Power Systems works with companies all over the world. Princeton Power Systems received an Innovative Project award from Intersolar North America in July 2014 for its commercial-scale micro-grid system that now provides alternative energy to power Alcatraz Island in San Francisco.
The EDA spoke with Princeton Power Systems’ President and CEO Ken McCauley about what the Angel Investor Tax Credit program means to the company, as well as where the company has been and where it’s going.
The Angel Investor tax credit encourages investing, which allows for business expansion and continued growth. What does funding provided through the Angel Investor Tax Credit program mean to Princeton Power Systems?
With the help of the Angel Tax Credit program, our investors were able to receive an immediate return on their investments. Throughout 2013 and 2014, we were able to exceed 100% growth year over year while growing our customer base and geographic reach. It appears likely that such growth will continue in 2015. The funding enables Princeton Power Systems to hire new people; we’ve grown from 30 to 50 people, with those additional jobs all being in manufacturing. We’ve also doubled our floor space and upgraded the property.
What is Princeton Power Systems’ biggest success to date?
On a macro level, our biggest success is the concept that we took ideas that a few students had in 2001 and grew it into a company with a marquee customer list in a rapidly growing market. We serve the United States Military and our products are deployed to 11 countries around the world, including a shipment we just sent to an island off the coast of Africa that currently has no reliable power source. On a human level, what we do in developing countries helps people have a better life. Elsewhere, our systems increase energy security, reduce carbon emissions and save money through a variety of business models.
What’s on the horizon for Princeton Power Systems?
We anticipate continued international business growth and diversifying our customer base. We continue to work on innovative products. We plan to double our business in the coming year and add an additional 20 people to our staff. In that respect, we look forward to continuing to grow jobs in the state of New Jersey.
The EDA also caught up with Greg Olsen, Founder of GHO Ventures, who has been a long-time investor in several NJ tech companies, including Princeton Power Systems, and participates in the Angel Investor Tax Credit program.
A chance encounter led to Olsen’s decision to invest in Princeton Power Systems. Olsen was exiting a Starbucks one day in 2001 when he happened upon former California Congressman Ed Zschau. The two men recognized each other and, after brief introductions, the Congressman told him that “four guys won [Princeton University’s] business plan contest.” Congressman Zschau asked Olsen if he would be interested in meeting with the winners. The next day, Olsen met with the founders of Princeton Power Systems and the rest, as they say, is history. Olsen currently sits on Princeton Power Systems’ Board of Directors. Remembering how, like many startup companies, Princeton Power Systems used to survive payday to payday, Olsen noted, “It really feels good now that they are a success.”
In 2005, Olsen was one of the first civilians to visit the International Space Station. A few months later he founded GHO Ventures. Is there any correlation?
“Not exactly,” the scientist-turned-entrepreneur said when asked this question. One of Olsen’s companies, Sensors Unlimited, was sold for the second time while he was up in space. It was decision time for Olsen. Did he want to start yet another company or close the door on that chapter of his life? He took a few months to figure out what he wanted to do and started GHO Ventures on January 1, 2006.
What does Olsen find beneficial about investing in New Jersey tech companies? Having grown up in New Jersey, Olsen is aware of New Jersey’s top-notch universities. Olsen went on to emphasize that, “New Jersey has a great tech base.” None of Olsen’s companies have ever looked to move outside of New Jersey.
When asked what advice he would give to someone considering Angel investing, Olsen cautioned, “Think carefully,” Olsen advises. “You have to love it. If you’re not sure, don’t do it. There are no guarantees. Follow your passion.”
For more information on the Angel Investor Tax Credit program, visit www.njeda.gov and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn @NJEDATech.