The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today announced it has supported 12 investments totaling more than $700,000 into five small businesses through the newly-created New Jersey Entrepreneur Support Program. These are the first companies to benefit from the program, which is designed to support New Jersey’s COVID-19-impacted small businesses in the Garden State’s innovation ecosystem.
The New Jersey Entrepreneur Support Program is a $5 million program that will create a guarantee to support repayment of an investor loan advanced for working capital purposes and is designed to encourage investors to support businesses within their portfolios. It provides an NJEDA guarantee of up to 80 percent for an eligible new loan or convertible note by a qualified investor into a New Jersey qualified business, not to exceed a $200,000 guarantee per company.
Investors are qualified for the program if they have already provided funding to a New Jersey company through a simple agreement for equity (SAFE), convertible note, or equity investment as of March 9, 2020 (the date of the Governor’s Executive Order 103). Participating investors are not required to be New Jersey residents and can include, but are not limited to, individuals, trusts, and corporations. There will be no fees associated with the NJ Entrepreneur Support Program.
“Continued investments into New Jersey’s emerging innovation companies is fundamental to their ability to survive, especially as they seek to weather the financial impacts of COVID-19,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Under Governor Phil Murphy’s leadership, we’re committed to ensuring that investment dollars don’t stop flowing to all sectors of the innovation economy during this critical period. The New Jersey Entrepreneur Support Program is key to that strategy.”
Roselle Park-based 3D Custom Foods Corp., doing business as Holi Chow, offers an online, customizable, subscription dog food service. The business, which has two employees, works with veterinary nutritionists to create the optimal blend of plant-based superfoods and uses only freeze-dried raw animal proteins. Holi Chow closed on guarantees on two investments that totaled $50,000 through the New Jersey Entrepreneurship Support Program.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has affected every single industry, including ones as specialized as ours,” said Holi Chow Chief Executive Officer David Kovacs. “Securing funding guaranteed through the New Jersey Entrepreneur Support Program has made a tremendous difference in our ability to offering our products to our customers around the world.”
Holmdel-based Hope Portal Services, d/b/a Hope Trust, is a technology-based trust company specializing in helping families and their loved ones with special needs. The company’s team of social workers, medical professionals, lawyers and financial experts craft individualized plans for caring for individuals with unique challenges and utilize trust assets to meet the identified trust goals. Hope Trust received a $200,000 investment through the New Jersey Entrepreneur Support Program.
Technology company iSport360, based in Manalapan, has a virtual youth sports platform that has helped coaches, players, and parents connect and train during the COVID-19 crisis and as they return to play. iSport 360 received a $25,000 investment through the New Entrepreneur Support Program to help bridge the company to its August Series A.
Ricovr Healthcare Inc., located in Princeton, has developed a biosensor technology platform for saliva-based Point-of-Care medical devices. The technology is meant to be used by a diverse market of customers, including businesses, law enforcement, and the medical community. The patented technology is extremely sensitive and will speed up the testing for drugs-of-abuse and medical diagnostics. Through the New Jersey Entrepreneur Support Program, Ricovr Healthcare, Inc., which has four employees, received $200,000 in investments.
SunRay Scientific LLC., based in Eatontown, is a global technology company that develops and manufactures cutting edge conductive adhesive materials for miniaturized, flexible electronics. Through the New Jersey Entrepreneur Support Program, the woman-owned company closed on guarantees on five investments totaling $230,000. SunRay Scientific has five employees and is planning for significant growth.
“Investing in startups is risky, and even more so during these volatile times,” Alexander Pavliv, an investor in SunRay Scientific. We’re appreciative that, through its New Jersey Entrepreneur Support Program, the NJEDA is helping us to alleviate a large portion of our risk.”
The NJ Entrepreneur Support Program complements the NJEDA’s existing suite of financial resources for early-stage technology and life sciences businesses. These include the state’s Net Operating Loss Program, expanded Angel Investor Tax Credit Program, NJ Ignite, NJ CoVest Fund, and the Edison Innovation Fund. Entrepreneurs can also benefit from the creation of the New Jersey Chapter of Golden Seeds, which launched last year in partnership with First Lady Tammy Murphy, as well as the incubation and intermediate lab space at the NJEDA’s New Jersey Bioscience Center.
About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.