Newark Venture Partners, a venture capital firm focused on backing tech startups in Newark, NJ*, has held the first $23m close of its first fund.
Investors in the fund, which has a $50m final target, include Audible, Prudential Financial, Dun & Bradstreet and some other backers.
Founded by Audible CEO Don Katz and led by Tom Wisniewski, Managing Partner (read our interview with him here), Newark Venture Partners aims to catalyze economic development and job creation in Newark by providing companies working on ambitious objectives using technology with capital, company-building services, and working spaces.
The firm will invest in SaaS, consumer app, and mobility startups annually at the seed and Series A stage with typical investment size ranging from $100k – $1M.
Along with the first close of the fund, Newark Venture Partners has also announced the launch of NVP Labs, an accelerator program, which will be investing $80K per company for a 6% stake and host startups in a 25,000 sq ft. open office space 20 minutes away from Midtown Manhattan, offering high bandwidth, access to partners including technologist and subject matter experts and graduate-level business and engineering associates from top universities, and access to workshops covering development, legal, sales and marketing, Amazon Web Services scaling, PR, capital raising, etc.
Post Program, NVP guarantees follow-on investment for each portfolio company in a qualified financing up to $1m, 3 more months of free space with option for an ongoing residence in the workspace and continued access to partners.
The lab is led by Director Dimitris Kouvaros.
The first investment was made in StrongArm, which builds innovative technologies that reduce injury risk and boost productivity for industrial athletes worldwide.
*Newark is the largest city in New Jersey, headquarters to numerous corporations, such as Prudential Financial, Audible, Panasonic Corporation of North America and PSEG. It has 300k residents with more than 100k additional people coming each day for work. Nearly 15% of the city population is university and graduate students at Rutgers Newark, NJIT and Seton Hall Law School and other schools.
Newark is a transportation hub only 20 minutes from Midtown Manhattan with train, bus and Path access and a major airport.