Hoboken is seen as the future site of the proposed Fintech Accelerator


Governor Phil Murphy attended the New Jersey Fintech Accelerator announcement at Stevens Institute of Technology (NJFAST) at the Babbio Center, Atrium, Hoboken, NJ. | Photo by Rich Hundley III/ NJ Governor’s Office

HOBOKEN, NJ—The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and Plug and Play, a Silicon Valley-based firm and innovation platform known for connecting startups, corporations, venture capital firms, and government agencies, has launched an accelerator hub known as the Fintech Accelerator at Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ FAST).

The Strategic Innovation Center (SIC) will serve as a hub for financial technology (fintech) and insurance technology (insuretech) startups. Stevens Institute of Technology will serve as the founding academic partner, and Prudential Financial will serve as the founding corporate partner for NJ FAST.

The NJEDA and Plug and Play signed a non-binding letter of intent to form a limited partnership known as NJ FAST. The two entities will oversee NJ FAST’s accelerator program with an opportunity to invest equity in select participating companies. The program will host two cohorts a year, consisting of at least ten companies per cohort. Companies will be recruited globally to participate in the program. Still, at least 20 percent of the cohort will be from New Jersey, with a strong focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Equity investments of up to $1 million will be made in at least 15 percent of participating companies.

Pending approval by its Board, the NJEDA intends to invest up to $17.5 million in the fintech accelerator.

Governor Phil Murphy said NJ FAST, the fourth Strategic Innovation Center, positions New Jersey at the forefront of innovation, research, and development, specifically within the cutting-edge fintech and insuretech sectors.

“NJ FAST will allow new entrepreneurs to bring their world-class ideas to New Jersey, increasing our state’s already impressive talent pool, all while capitalizing on the resources and expertise of our partners at Stevens Institute of Technology,” added Murphy.

“Powered by NJEDA’s Strategic Innovation Center program, NJFAST aims to make New Jersey a national leader in fintech and insuretech by supporting innovation,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “[This] will help empower startups and drive the creation of new technologies that in turn will create jobs and support long-term, sustainable economic growth across the state.”

According to NJEDA, Plug and Play saw early success from investments in companies like PayPal and Dropbox. The firm has a presence in over 60 sites across five continents, and NJ FAST is the firm’s first-ever partnership on the East Coast. Plug and Play’s network comprises 50,000 startups, over 500 leading corporations, and hundreds of venture capital firms, universities, and government agencies. It invests in over 250 companies a year.

According to CB Insights, Plug and Play was the most active startup accelerator in the world from 2020 to 2022.

The firm plans to commit at least 10 percent of the total capital commitment up to a maximum of $2.5 million in funding for the Innovation Center. It will work to secure funding and industry support from various corporate entities.

Stevens Institute and Prudential will provide training and other educational, licensing, and research opportunities for startup companies participating in NJ FAST. Stevens will also host events each year on its campus and provide a standing team of student interns who will work to support participating companies.

Stevens Institute already has a major presence in the fintech industry. Its fintech-focused research center, the Center for Research toward Advancing Financial Technologies, collaborates with academic and industry partners on innovative solutions like decentralized finance, AI-enabled finance, quantum finance, and solutions to climate-related impacts on investment. The research center also works to secure financial data by creating and testing more equitable trading platforms and supporting improved market simulation and stress-testing tools.

SICs are facilities that support research and development, innovation, and entrepreneurship through mentorship, networking opportunities, hands-on training, business support services, and education opportunities. According to NJEDA, SICs can be accelerators, incubators, or research centers. A physical location where entrepreneurs can collaborate will help support new, diverse innovators and help drive long-term economic growth.

–With Jay Domingo/PDM

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