Building 78 at Kearny Point — Courtesy: Hugo Neu Corp.
By Steve Lubetkin
A technology startup has opened offices at the sprawling Kearny Point complex after being approved for a rent subsidy program by the state Economic Development Authority.
Sembient, which developed a technology for sensing space utilization in smart buildings, will join the roster at the property’s Building 78 with the help of the EDA’s NJ Ignite program. The startup is the second firm to set up its headquarters at Kearny Point via the initiative, which provides up to 10 months of rent support for emerging technology and life sciences businesses moving to several designated locations around the state.
“As a relatively new technology company, we’re fortunate not only to have made significant inroads into the smart building market, but also to have headquarters that immerses us in an exciting community full of fellow innovators,” said Aleksandar Jovicic, CEO of Sembient. “The NJ Ignite program afforded us the additional financial flexibility that is invaluable at this early stage for Sembient, as we continue to grow our customer base of commercial building owners and operators.”
Sembient joins more than 200 businesses in Building 78 at Kearny Point. The 160,000-square-foot complex offers flex spaces to support a variety of industries, from technology and food production to small-scale manufacturing and co-working facilities.
Building 78, an adaptive reuse of a historic four-story warehouse building, is part of a sprawling former shipbuilding complex that is being redeveloped by Hugo Neu Corp. The larger Kearny Point complex opened in 2016 and has emerged as a business hub for companies spearheading a range of environmental and cleantech innovations, including Bowery Farms, Ciel Power, Oishii Berry and Babo International Trade.
“We have consistently found that startups that move to collaborative workspaces like Building 78 are far more likely to succeed than those that go it alone,” said Timothy Sullivan, the EDA’s CEO. “Governor Murphy’s vision for positioning New Jersey as the State of Innovation begins with giving these early-stage companies the resources necessary to compete on the global stage. Rent support through NJ Ignite is a critical part of the suite of available tools.”
Sembient’s technology is already used by several Fortune 100 companies to manage the design, footprint and operation of their corporate campuses, according to a news release. The technology consists of smart sensors that continuously analyze how occupants use space — all without collecting any personally identifiable information.
By counting the number of people across floors of a building and identifying how many people typically occupy the meeting rooms, workstation pods and collaboration areas, Sembient sensors provide insights that workplace strategy teams need to create productive, efficient and engaging work environments, the news release. For retail stores, the sensors provide shopper traffic metrics for each department, aisle and display, enabling the retailer to better measure the effectiveness of store layouts and product marketing campaigns.