New Jersey’s nascent startup scene is wedged between more established communities in Philadelphia and New York, but that hasn’t stopped some ambitious teams like those at Princeton’s TigerLabs and TechLaunch from trying to give the state a kick in the entrepreneurial pants. After putting on quite a show last November, TechLaunch is now looking for another 10-12 early-stage ventures to mentor and fund in a bid to put New Jersey on the startup map.
Participants in the incubator’s 16-week LaunchPad program will get co-working space at Montclair State University, infusions of legal and accounting know-how and (perhaps most importantly) up to $25,000 in seed funding to get the project off the ground. Interested Garden State startups can apply to the program through February 22, though you’d best be prepared to stay in New Jersey for a while if you plan to throw your hat in the ring – TechLaunch is looking for startups that will stick around for awhile and help boost the state’s economy (though the team won’t resort to any Soprano-esque tactics if you eventually move out).
I really didn’t know what to expect when I drove to Montclair State for the accelerator’s first Demo Day, but the strength and polish of some of these early-stage ventures was a bit surprising, especially considering that co-founder and investor Mario Casabona is still fairly new to the startup scene. Some of them have already started picking up some traction to boot – Echolocation announced in mid-January that it locked up another $200K in seed funding in its bid to create a super-local version of Twitter to help locals communicate with each other, and CodeSquare’s dead-simple mobile-reward redemption scheme has attracted over 600 local clients and attention from chains like Dunkin’ Donuts.