Waters named managing director of JumpStartNJ

Former marketing/comms head for Feliciano Center will run member-led angel group

JumpStart New Jersey Angel Network, a member-led angel group of successful serial entrepreneurs, business executives and venture capitalists who actively invest in early-stage startup technology ventures in the mid-Atlantic region, has named Sharon Waters its new managing director, the group announced Friday.

Waters currently serves as the CEO of Waters Strategies, a consulting firm offering writing, editing and marketing services. But, prior to that, she spent nearly seven years at Montclair State University overseeing marketing and communications for the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and taught the “Entrepreneurial Mindset” course.

Waters was the founder, along with Dennis Bone, of Women Entrepreneurship Week, which she grew to 242 colleges and universities in 32 countries and 49 states from 2014-2019.

JumpStartNJ Chair Stephen Dyer said Waters’ background made her the perfect person for the role.

“As we continue to expand JumpStartNJ’s membership, Sharon’s marketing and communication skills are a big advantage, and we are delighted to have her expertise,” Dyer said. “We are grateful for the excellent work of Stephanie Caravela for reorganizing JumpStart NJ over the past two years and setting the table for a new focus on marketing and growing membership.”

Waters said she’s eager to start.

“After more than a dozen years working with entrepreneurs and startups, I am excited to be more involved with New Jersey’s angel investor community through JumpStartNJ,” she said.

A journalist for 12 years, Waters was the former editor of NJBIZ. A former accountant, Waters also was the New Jersey deputy communications director for the Bloomberg 2020 campaign.

Since its formation in 2002, JumpStartNJ has developed strong relationships with the angel and venture capital communities in New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia and Boston. These relationships allow JumpStartNJ to take full advantage of resources in the mid-Atlantic region to help early-stage companies innovate and grow.

And, while JumpStartNJ is involved with companies throughout the mid-Atlantic region, the group said about a third of its investments are tied to the state. Members made more than $1.7 million in investments in 2020.

JumpStartNJ’s areas of investment interest include Software-as-a-Service technology, Internet of Things, telecommunications, robotics, artificial intelligence, health care tech, medical devices, alternative energy, shipping and logistics tech, cybersecurity and fintech. Members have deep knowledge and experience in many areas; they invest not only their dollars, but their expertise in helping young companies grow.

Startup ventures seeking financing can apply at JumpStartNJ.org.

Accredited investors who are interested in joining JumpStartNJ or obtaining more information should contact Waters at swaters@jumpstartnj.com.