James Barrood discusses the state of the innovation economy in New Jersey

James Barrood, Founder and CEO of Innovation +

Former Chairman of the NJ Tech Council (now called TechUnited), and now Founder and CEO of Innovation +, an organized global community of entrepreneurs and innovators, James Barrood continues his work of cultivating the high-tech ecosystem by engaging academics and business communities, advising businesses and helping startups finance themselves, grow, grow and more.

Among the key leaders of the East Coast innovation ecosystem, having helped nurture the region’s entrepreneurial, innovation and technology communities, Barrood shared his thoughts on the current state of the East Coast’s innovation ecosystem. New Jersey.

“New Jersey has an incredible heritage of innovation,” Barrood told New Jersey Business. “From Einstein to Edison to Bell Labs and everything in between, we’re so lucky to have this story.”

In addition to its history, the state has well-documented attributes, such as its top-ranked school systems, its nation-leading diversity, and its globally coveted talent pipeline.

“There are a lot of factors that make New Jersey such a special and vibrant state, and they all contribute to the state’s future of having an innovation economy,” Barrood said.

As regional pillars like New York and Massachusetts remain at the pinnacle of innovation, it is clear that New Jersey has all the qualities necessary to match their prowess at reinventing and developing its own innovation ecosystem.

Before the pandemic, the New York metropolitan area ranked second in the country behind Silicon Valley in venture capital funding, but Barrood says the pandemic has forced a change of mind for them. investors.

“The pandemic has actually improved the situation for entrepreneurs around the world – especially in this region,” said Barrood, adding that working remotely has made investors more comfortable investing in companies they are working with. are not physically close.

“Now is the best time [to secure funding], probably in the story, because there’s so much more money and it’s not relegated to the regions… it’s global, and just a Zoom call, ”says Barrood.

According to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, $ 3.7 billion in angel and venture capital investment has been raised for 129 companies since October 1, 2020.

“We’ve been fueling our innovation economy for decades now. We’re better than ever before, but we still have a long way to go, ”says Barrood.

New Jersey’s road to reclaiming its innovative state stature is not without its challenges, as its fiscal climate and inability to retain top talent remain issues, but Barrood remains optimistic that the state is on the line. right way.

“If we can continue to nurture entrepreneurs and innovators in a more thoughtful and efficient way – without all the bureaucracy – in a more user-friendly ecosystem where everyone helps each other even more collaborate, then I think we will be positioned for a even brighter future, ”Barrood said.

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