1 Don Katz
Audible and Newark Venture Partners
Katz, now the executive chairman at Audible, has proven to be a visionary at two key tech entities: Audible, the leading digital spoken-word entertainment vehicle in the world, and Newark Venture Partners, which connects Newark to the East Coast technology ecosystem as the state’s most elite early-stage fund and accelerator. See Katz’s full profile here.
2 David Rosenberg
The world’s first sustainable indoor agriculture company — one that has the potential to help feed the world in a healthy and environmentally friendly way — is based in Newark. It truly is technology that can change the world for the better, and it’s being developed in New Jersey, joining a long list of society-changing innovations from our state. How cool is that?
3 Joel Bloom; Nariman Farvardin
New Jersey Institute of Technology; Stevens Institute of Technology
The state has not one, but two of the leading higher-education institutions for tech in the country. NJIT and Stevens are schools that are changing the way the world works with their research and inventions while producing highly sought-after graduates — students who come from all walks of life, a much-needed accomplishment in the tech ecosystem. This didn’t happen by accident. Both Bloom at NJIT and Farvardin at Stevens have overseen exponential growth in size, structure and stature at their schools for years. New Jersey, and the tech ecosystem, is better off for their efforts.
4 Thai Lee
She is one of the richest self-made women in the world — a feat she accomplished by taking a little-know tech company in Somerset County to one with more than $12 billion in revenue. And, while Lee has moved to Texas, her company — and the spinoff she started during the pandemic — remain firmly planted here.
5 Sampath Sowmyanarayan; Hans Vestberg
President of Global Enterprise; CEO
They are the company that is helping to bring 5G technology — and some of the products that will benefit from it — to New Jersey. More than that, they love being in New Jersey. Both Sowmyanarayan and Vestberg are active with New Jersey businesses (showing them how to adapt to a new remote workplace) and New Jersey government (the company was a key resource in the digital divide issue brought forth by the pandemic).
6 Domhnaill Hernon; Pekka Lundmark
Head of experiments in arts and technology; Global CEO
Nokia Bell Labs; Nokia
That Nokia Bell Labs — perhaps the greatest center for technical innovation the world has ever known — does not crack the Top 5 is a testament to the tech talent in the state. And, truth be told, also representative of the fact that the Murray Hill facility is looking for a new leader. That person, who will be selected by Lundmark, will step into a role where Nobel Prizes are expected and frequently achieved.
7 Aaron Price
He brought attention to the wide array of tech talent in the state when he created the Propelify Festival, an annual event that speaks to the state’s great tech heritage. Now, as head of the state’s premier tech organization, it is his job to bring all the talent and companies together in a unified — or united — way like never before.
8 Scott Stephenson
Data analytics has been all the rage for some time — and it continues to be the wave of the future. This Jersey City-based company is perhaps the top analytics firm in the country, as it is used by more than 70% of the Fortune 100 to manage risks and improve operating efficiency.
9 Paul Hoffman
Liberty Science Center
LSC already is arguably the best science center in the country, one that introduces STEM to more students — and more students from underserved communities — than any other. But that’s just the start. SciTech Scity, where 400 high school students and 200 startup companies will join scientists and create a community for learning and innovation, will soon be under construction. It will be a mini-city envied around the world.
10 Kathleen Coviello
Executive vice president-technology
N.J. Economic Development Authority
A lot of great investors are recognized on this list, but none has done it as well or as long as Coviello, who has helped deliver more than $1 billion in investments, business incentives, tax credits and venture fund investments to emerging technology companies — and done so with all of the supporting infrastructure and resources needed to execute the seamless delivery to customers. She helps the state’s innovation economy come to life as well as anyone.