Golden Seed’s Mission to Create a More Equitable Innovation Economy in NJ

Thirteen months ago, Golden Seeds, a national network of angel investors dedicated to investing in women-led startups, launched a New Jersey chapter in partnership with First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to increase the capital available to women. -directed companies. Since then, Golden Seeds has connected more than 80 women-led businesses with seasoned angel investors through a series of monthly office hours and follow-up conversations. To celebrate Women’s History Month, NJEDA takes a closer look at the chapter’s important role in New Jersey’s innovation economy and the resources available to women entrepreneurs.

Since its inception in 2005, Golden Seeds has grown into a leading force by focusing on women’s leadership, gender diversity and entrepreneurship. Over its sixteen years, Golden Seeds has had over 850 investors nationwide – in the angel network and/or as fund investors. Together, members and funds have invested approximately $140 million in more than 200 companies. Despite the impact of COVID-19 on investments worldwide, Golden Seeds invested $12 million in 33 investments nationwide in 2020.

The New Jersey chapter of Golden Seeds currently has 27 members. The chapter holds monthly office hours, during which investors meet privately with individual entrepreneurs to help them build, grow and eventually fund their businesses. Seven to 12 investors attend each session during office hours. When the COVID-19 lockdown began shortly after the launch of the New Jersey chapter of Golden Seeds, the investment network moved its office hours online and continued one-on-one meetings virtually. In November 2020, East Hanover-based ROAR Augmented Reality became the first New Jersey company to close an investment from Golden Seeds since the launch of the New Jersey chapter. The chapter actively seeks new entrepreneurs who want to connect with knowledgeable and experienced angel investors.

“Golden Seeds has a proven track record of successful investments and creating opportunities for women-led startups nationwide and we have seen firsthand the impact this network of angel investors has on women entrepreneurs in our state,” First Lady Murphy said. “Our thriving New Jersey Chapter continues to open doors and provide opportunities for women-led businesses across the state. Establishing a Golden Seeds chapter in New Jersey has been key to building our innovation ecosystem and driving sustainable economic growth that will continue to thrive post-pandemic.

NJEDA Executive Vice President for Technology, Life Sciences and Entrepreneurship Kathleen Coviello is a member of the New Jersey Chapter of Golden Seeds, through NJEDA.

“Access to capital has always been one of the biggest barriers to success for female founders, and under Governor Phil Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey is working to remove that barrier,” Coviello said. “By connecting female founders directly with experienced investors who can offer insight and advice and the potential for funding, we equip them with the tools they need to best position their early-stage companies for growth.”

The national Golden Seeds network is led by Loretta McCarthy, Peggy Wallace and Jo Ann Corkran. McCarthy is one of the managing partners of Golden Seeds and focuses on network membership, orientation and engagement. She is also a frequent speaker, both in the United States and abroad, on seed investing, women entrepreneurs, and gender diversity. Wallace, also a managing partner and fund partner, works to create a post-investment ecosystem that helps accelerate and grow Golden Seeds businesses. Corkran is a managing partner and fund partner who manages deal flow for Golden Seeds.

“Women’s History Month not only celebrates the accomplishments of women entrepreneurs, but also the vast network of mentorship and guidance they receive from other women across the state,” McCarthy said. “The New Jersey chapter of Golden Seeds is a perfect example of this support in action and I’m so proud of all our members have done to support women-led businesses over the past year.”

The creation of the New Jersey Chapter of Golden Seeds is one of many initiatives launched under Governor Murphy’s administration to stimulate opportunities for entrepreneurs within New Jersey’s innovation economy. In the summer of 2019, the Governor signed legislation doubling the amount of tax credits (from 10% to 20%) an investor could receive on a qualifying investment in a qualifying New Jersey corporation through the program. state angel investor tax credit. It also added a 5% bonus for investments made in women- or minority-owned businesses. Under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, which Governor Murphy signed into law in January, the statutory cap for this program was increased from $25 million to $35 million for the 2021 program year and in the future. The law also strengthened New Jersey’s Net Operating Loss (NOL) program, which allows technology and life sciences companies that have not yet achieved profitability to sell their net operating losses and their unused research and development tax credits for cash. Part of the act increased the program’s annual cap from $60 million to $75 million. It also increased the lifetime cap for an individual claimant from $15 million to $20 million.

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