On Nov. 17, JumpStart New Jersey Angel Network invited eight early-stage companies based in New Jersey to network with its investors as a way to provide informal feedback and coaching to Garden State startups.
The event, dubbed “Meet the Angels,” was held at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s office in North Brunswick.
The gathering also allowed JumpStart NJ’s investors to chat with startup founders in a relaxed atmosphere, and identify companies that might be invited to make a formal pitch to the angel group in the future.
“This was an excellent way to bring together JumpStart NJ angel investors, New Jersey startup founders and the EDA to highlight how the New Jersey startup ecosystem can work together,” said Stephen Dyer, board chair of JumpStart NJ.
The event kicked off with Lexie Demirali, EDA’s senior product officer - north, technology & life science investments, explaining how the authority can assist New Jersey startups. Demirali gave an overview of various EDA programs, including the Angel Tax Credit, NJ Innovation Evergreen Fund, NJ Accelerate and New Jersey Innovation Fellows.
“Angel groups like JumpStart NJ provide a platform for entrepreneurs to realize the details of the funding process, and receive advice to help them build their businesses,” said Demirali.
Jason Rahimzadeh, co-founder, CryoScope Medical, based in Dumont, was impressed with the EDA’s offerings. “It’s great to hear the state is so supportive of startups,” said Rahimzadeh. “At the early stage of a startup, you need every advantage you can get.”
Elizabeth “Ela” Jaworski, CEO of Newark-based XN Health, welcomed the chance to mingle with JumpStart NJ investors. “Meeting experienced investors and mentors is invaluable. They provide a ton of experience and mentorship, and feedback is always important,” she said.
Dwight Neptune, founder and CEO, Beagle Innovations, in East Windsor, agreed. “It gets you out of your bubble,” said Neptune, about the in-person networking with angel investors. “It may make you think differently about your strategy.”
The other startup founders attending were: Shetal Shah, CEO, Frappe Joe Coffee in Cresskill; Samir Peshori, COO, Glyde in Piscataway; Owen Monagan, CEO, Sweeps: Sports Banking in Manasquan; Mark Friedenthal, founder/CEO, Tolerisk in Marlton; and Murat Sonmez, CEO, and Mark Chmiel, COO, trustd.ai in Holmdel.
JumpStart NJ invests in early-stage growth companies with high potential and innovative technology that disrupts traditional businesses. The group’s members prefer to invest in companies that are generating revenues and with pre-money valuations typically under $10 million. Primary areas of investment interest include, but are not limited to: SaaS B2B, health tech, ag-tech, medical devices, manufacturing, alternative energy, shipping/logistics tech, and cybersecurity.
JumpStart NJ invested more than $2.2 million in 2021, and had success with exits last year, with one investment producing a 17x return on capital. Based in the Garden State, JumpStart NJ invests in New Jersey, the Mid-Atlantic region, and beyond. JumpStart NJ's sponsors, including EisnerAmper and Stevens & Lee, help the angel group support technology innovation in the region and beyond.
See more photos from the event in this NJBIZ story.