NJ FAST, fintech accelerator featuring Stevens, Prudential and EDA, to be announced Tuesday

Noted N.J. entities will partner with Plug and Play, globally renowned venture capital firm, to create accelerator based in Hoboken

NJ FAST, an accelerator aimed creating and nurturing fintech and insurtech startups that will be led by a collaboration of Stevens Institute of Technology, Prudential Financial, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and Plug and Play, a globally renowned venture capital firm, will be announced Tuesday morning in Hoboken, ROI-NJ has learned.

NJ FAST, which aims to help New Jersey maintain its spot as a global leader in fintech, will be funded heavily by the EDA, which could contribute as much as $18 million to the project with funding it has available for Strategic Innovation Centers.

Stevens, Prudential and Plug and Play will come together to contribute a similar funding amount in what will be a one-for-one match.

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said NJ FAST is another example of Gov. Phil Murphy’s longstanding economic mission to bring higher education together with the corporate world and venture funding to create startup hubs around the state.

NJ FAST, Sullivan said, will be similar to the EDA partnership with HAX in Newark to support startups in hard tech in Newark.

NJ FAST, which is close to signing a lease in Hoboken, aims to move quickly; it is expected to have its first cohort of startups (at least 10 companies) in September.

“This is very exciting on a number of levels,” Sullivan said.

Consider the value of the collaborators:

Stevens: The school already is a leader in FinTech research, having been selected by the National Science Foundation in 2020 (along with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) to house the first industry-based cooperative research center. Faculty, grad students and undergrads are expected to participate.

“Stevens will be a big part of the intellectual horsepower that fuels these companies,” Sullivan said.

Prudential: Aside from being a global leader in insurance and investing, Prudential has long been a valued corporate partner in the state. Its presence means NJ FAST will have a connection to Newark, as well. And it won’t be the only corporate partner.

“We expect to have more, but having Prudential as the anchor corporate collaborator is a big deal,” he said.

Plug and Play: The Silicon Valley-based firm is one of the most notable venture firms in the world, with a who’s who list of connections to successful startups, including PayPal, Dropbox, Trulioo and Honey.

What’s in a name

NJ FAST stands for Financial Accelerator at Stevens Institute of Technology.

“They are one of the premier accelerators in the world,” Sullivan said.

NJ FAST fits the innovation economy concept espoused by Murphy, following not only the HAX model in Newark, but also efforts in Princeton (the AI Hub), New Brunswick (HELIX), Jersey City (SciTech Scity) and elsewhere.

“As we all know, startups tend to come from universities, whether it’s from faculty or the students; that’s why these kinds of collaborations are really important,” Sullivan said. “Between this, and what we are doing elsewhere, you’re really seeing the essence of the governor’s innovation strategy.”