New Jersey Technology Council President and Chief Executive Officer James Barrood addresses the audience at the 2015 Venture Conference
TRENTON (April 6, 2016) – The New Jersey Technology Council (Tech Council) will showcase the vital role it plays in bolstering innovation in the Garden State as hundreds of innovators, entrepreneurs and investors descend upon its 19th Annual Venture Conference in Iselin tomorrow.
Since 1996, the Tech Council has worked to support New Jersey’s entrepreneurs by providing business development, education, networking, and recognition opportunities to its more than 900 member companies. Understanding that collaboration and interaction are keys to a dynamic technology ecosystem, the organization also invites its members to monthly industry-focused meetings, peer groups, and educational programs, enabling entrepreneurs to meet others who share a common mission. Specific industry sectors include: Telecom/Media; Electronics, Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chain; Environment/Energy; Life Sciences; and Information Technology/Software.
In 2002, the Tech Council collaborated with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to create JumpStart New Jersey Angel Network as a way to connect early-stage technology companies with access to much-needed capital. Since its inception in 2002, JumpStart has grown to approximately 40 members and is one of the largest angel-investing networks in the Mid-Atlantic region. The EDA is also a limited partner in the Tech Council’s NJTC Venture Fund, which has helped create over 1,000 jobs in New Jersey since its inception in 2001.
“The Tech Council has a pulse on everything happening technology and innovation-wise in the Garden State,” Tech Council President and Chief Executive Officer James Barrood noted. “Through our educational programs, networking opportunities, and access to resources and capital, we are making sure emerging businesses have the tools they need to grow and thrive in New Jersey.”
The Tech Council, which recently moved its offices from Mount Laurel to New Brunswick, anticipates over 400 attendees at tomorrow’s Venture Conference. During the event, more than three dozen of the region's most promising startups will have the opportunity to present two-minute pitches to investors and venture capitalists. Presenters include representatives from companies that have participated in the EDA’s Founders & Funders events, which connect investors with companies seeking funding. These include Bernardsville-based ThinkHome.com, Fusar Technologies, which is located in Jersey City, and Simphotek in Newark. The Venture Conference will also feature a keynote address by Rachel Holt, the Regional General Manager of Uber Technologies, and an investor panel.
The EDA is a charter sponsor of the Tech Council and a sponsor of the Venture Conference. Kathleen Coviello, Director of the EDA’s Technology and Life Sciences division, sits on the Tech Council’s Board of Directors.
In addition to tomorrow’s Venture Conference, the Tech Council has several events planned in upcoming months to boost collaboration among innovators. These include the Internet of Things Conference 2016 (April 26), the CIO Conference (May 3), and the HealthTech Conference 2016 (May 19).
@NJEDATech asked Barrood about New Jersey’s technology ecosystem and about the Tech Council’s plans for the future:
The Tech Council offers a variety of support to emerging technology companies. What do you suggest is the first step entrepreneurs take as they establish their businesses in the Garden State?
The key to success for entrepreneurs, regardless of the industry, is to surround themselves with smarter people than themselves. This extends from their immediate team to their advisory board to their extended network. Relationships are the key to success, both short and long term.
I also recommend they seek and attain all the help they can get from our rich ecosystem of experienced serial entrepreneurs and professional advisors. Entrepreneurs can also take advantage of the numerous programs and resources at the Council, as well as at the EDA and other support organizations and universities throughout the state.
What do you consider the Tech Council’s biggest success to date?
That’s hard to say because we’ve helped thousands of people be more successful over the past 20 years. One success of note is our ability to bring in marquee speakers to our events. Rachel Holt, the Regional General Manager of Uber Technologies, is giving the keynote address at tomorrow’s Venture Conference. Serial entrepreneur and investor Gary Vaynerchuck headlined last year’s conference. We have industry leaders speak at many of our smaller programs as well.
What’s on the horizon for the Tech Council?
Earlier this year, the Tech Council moved into its new space in the heart of New Brunswick, a city that is quickly becoming a hub of activity within the state. We are planning a ribbon cutting for later this Spring and look forward to continuing our support of the technology sector from our new location.
The EDA offers a multitude of resources to help technology companies grow and thrive. To learn about these resources, visit http://www.njeda.com/tls and follow @NJEDATech on Twitter and LinkedIn.