With $500 Million, New Jersey Wants to Invest in Your Start-Up

October 3, 2018

 By Nick Corasaniti

When he campaigned for governor, Philip D. Murphy leaned on a recurring quip in his stump speech: “New Jersey was Silicon Valley before there even was a Silicon Valley.” He was conjuring the New Jersey of a decade ago, when the state was a leader in new and thriving companies in industries like biotech.

Now, as he seeks to reshape the state’s economy, Mr. Murphy wants New Jersey to utilize one of the most quintessential, lucrative and risky practices of Silicon Valley: venture capitalism.

As part of an economic plan the governor announced on Monday, Mr. Murphy proposed to establish a fund that would allow the state to partner with private venture capitalists to invest in start-up companies that agree to set up shop in New Jersey.

Mr. Murphy’s move toward providing cash through public-private partnerships, rather than offering more traditional tax incentives to lure new business, comes as New Jersey struggles to develop homegrown companies. While New Jersey was among the top five states for venture capital investment a decade ago, it has fallen to 15th.

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