Carii co-founders Wun and Denise Hayman‐Loa met with Delaware Crossing Investor Group’s Benjamin Novak at the Economic Development Authority’s New Jersey Founders & Funders event on May 9. — Courtesy: EDA
By Joshua Burd
Entrepreneurs from two dozen emerging technology and life sciences firms in New Jersey met face to face last week with would-be investors, as part of an event hosted by the state Economic Development Authority.
Known as the New Jersey Founders & Funders program, the May 9 event connected the entrepreneurs with angel and venture capital investors in 10-minute, one-on-one sessions akin to speed dating, in which they discussed strategy, business models and funding opportunities. The event drew 18 sets of prospective investors from around the Mid-Atlantic.
The participating companies are among more than 250 startups that have taken part in Founders & Funders since 2014. Last week’s event took place at the EDA’s Biotechnology Development Center, part of the 50-acre Technology Centre of New Jersey research park in North Brunswick.
“As we aim to restore New Jersey to its place of leadership in innovation, we fully recognize the importance of nurturing technology and life sciences companies at their earliest stages,” said Tim Sullivan, the authority’s CEO. “We hope the synergy generated by today’s meetings spur ongoing conversations between investors and entrepreneurs as they establish and expand their companies in the Garden State.”
Participants included Delaware Crossing Investor Group, which has offices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as Windham Venture Partners, located in New York, and New Brunswick-based Tech Council Ventures. Last year, the EDA invested up to $7.5 million into Tech Council Ventures II, Tech Council Ventures’ latest fund.
Investors met with a range of technology and life sciences companies, including Reflik, a Somerset-based firm that creates and maintains a talent acquisition and recruitment platform. The platform uses an extensive network of recruiters and industry professionals to create efficiency for human resource professionals looking to find top candidates in less time.
MGM Resorts, Canon and Marsh & McLennan are among the company’s customers. Last year, Reflik became the first company approved for a loan through the EDA’s NJ CoVest Fund, which is designed to fill the funding gap that occurs between product development and commercial expansion.
The startups also included Plumeria Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm that develops non-opioid pain drugs to treat complex neuroinflammatory diseases, according to a news release. Plumeria is currently focused on pain management for diabetic neuropathy patients.
Salem County-based Carii was also on hand, the EDA said. The internet company offers a robust and flexible platform for engaging community members with multiple communication methods and layers of privacy and control.
Husband-and-wife co-founders Wun and Denise Hayman‐Loa noted that the platform is secure enough for financial services and law firms, but still unique in its ability to link public and private communities.
The Biotechnology Development Center offers suites of intermediate lab and office space from 3,400 to 10,000 square feet for emerging life sciences companies, including those that have outgrown incubator space and other early stage companies looking to expand, the EDA said. Life sciences companies interested in touring the BDC should contact EDA Program Manager Lenzie Harcum at email@example.com or 732-839-1880.