Edison Partners Managing Partner Chris Sugden addresses the audience
at Edison's 2015 CEO Summit.
TRENTON (January 14, 2016) – Edison Partners enters 2016 at an exciting point in its history. The investment firm recently moved back to its original home in Princeton, and is also in the midst of investing in technology-sector businesses through its newest fund, Edison Partners VIII.
Last January, the Board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) approved a $2.5 million limited partnership investment in Edison VIII. Under the leadership of Managing Partner Chris Sugden, the fund will invest in 20-25 growth stage technology businesses across four industry sectors: financial technology, healthcare information technology, marketing technology, and enterprise 2.0 (focused mainly on mobile, security and business operations software).
The EDA previously invested in four Edison Partners funds. The firm, formerly Edison Ventures, has nearly a dozen New Jersey portfolio companies, including Trialscope, PHX and Scivantage. The company recently announced that it successfully exited Fairfield-based Archive Systems Inc., which has experienced significant growth over the past few years and was recently acquired by Access®.
“The EDA’s commitment to New Jersey’s technology ecosystem is unwavering,” EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen said. “As part of this commitment, we help increase available capital for companies by investing as a limited partner in venture capital funds. To date, the EDA has invested in excess of $40 million; these funds have leveraged the EDA’s investment in New Jersey businesses by more than 62 times.”
In addition to its investment of capital, Edison Partners offers its portfolio companies access to its Edison Edge value add platform which entails four key elements: sales and marketing acceleration program, capital formation and exit advisory, the Edison Director Network, and executive education programs.
“During 2015, Edison performed more than 200 advisory engagements, hosted 11 events (with nearly 400 attendees) and had 52 active Edison Director Network members serving on portfolio company Boards of Directors,” Sugden said. “The Edison Edge is a unique, turnkey platform of support and mentorship that nurtures innovation and accelerates growth stage companies.”
Edison Partners routinely participates in the New Jersey Founders & Funders events at the EDA’s Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) in North Brunswick. Held semi-annually, these events enable early-stage businesses to meet with potential investors in 10-minute, one-on-one “speed dating” sessions to discuss strategy, business models and funding opportunities. Registration is now open for the spring 2016 event at https://application.njeda.com/tls/.
@NJEDATech asked Sugden about Edison Partners’ experience in New Jersey:
What advantages does Edison Partners see in locating itself in New Jersey?
New Jersey has been Edison’s home since our founding in 1986. We recently moved back, after 20 years, from Lawrenceville to our original location in Princeton. I can personally attest to the phenomenal opportunities in New Jersey, having moved my family from New York City to New Jersey 18 years ago for a startup. Our location benefits Edison and our portfolio companies in several ways: First, one of the biggest advantages of New Jersey is location, location, location; we are the epicenter of commerce and financial markets along with access to major cities outside the state. This proximity enables business to get done in person more often, which is more efficient. Second, the talent pool in New Jersey is tough to replicate, in terms of both a well-trained workforce and availability of talent. Finally, our state offers unique access to incredible natural resources that enable work-life balance. Whether you enjoy the beach, golf, skiing or hiking, New Jersey has it all within a short drive.
How has the Edison Edge benefited your portfolio companies?
Edison Edge brings value to our portfolio companies and the entrepreneurial ecosystem as a whole. Edison’s sales and marketing acceleration program is unique in that we combine our talent and processes with our portfolio company talent to accelerate growth. Too often, young companies spend money on sales and marketing without the processes or technology to effectively measure and scale these areas. Edison Edge offers over 50 playbooks, from strategic objectives such as product positioning, to tactical ones, including marketing technology acquisition and enablement.
Edison Edge worked with 23 portfolio companies in sales and marketing acceleration in 2015.
What advice you give to startup companies that you meet at our Founders & Funders events?
I love the Founders & Funders events. The EDA has done a great job bringing entrepreneurs and capital together in an informal setting. Edison will continue to actively participate in these events.
In terms of advice, one thing I tell all young companies is to FOCUS. Do not allow yourself to chase after too many markets or solve too many problems at once. Be able to clearly articulate the problem you solve and solve it better than anyone else can. If you do this over and over, success will follow. To quote Thomas Edison, “If we all did the things we are capable of doing we would literally astound ourselves.” For startups and founding teams, do what you are capable of doing and astound your customers.
For more information about resources available to support New Jersey’s technology industry, visit http://www.njeda.com/tls and follow @NJEDATech on Twitter and LinkedIn.