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New Jersey’s Startup Scene Is A Lot More Than BlockFi

While Jersey City is just an 11-minute train ride from Manhattan’s financial district, it’s historically been worlds apart when it comes to startup funding.

Ditto for the state of New Jersey as a whole. Despite being the most densely populated U.S. state and a major center of expertise in areas from pharma to finance, the Garden State lags its northern neighbor, New York, by a long shot when it comes to startup funding.

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Now, crypto can no longer be counted on to help close that gap. The bankruptcy filing this week of Jersey City-based cryptocurrency lender BlockFi marks an end to any realistic hope of venture returns from its business. Before this year, the company ranked among New Jersey’s most heavily funded startups and was one of the hottest names in the emerging space.

Still, one would be remiss to count out New Jersey’s startup scene. So far this year, Garden State companies have pulled in $2.47 billion in seed through late-stage funding, per Crunchbase data. With a month left in the year, that’s already the second-highest haul of the past five years, as charted out below:

Yes, it’s well behind New York, which has a little more than double the population and pulled in $23.5 billion in startup funding so far this year. But still, New Jersey’s numbers reflect a pretty sizable and diverse startup scene, led by pharma, fintech and enterprise software.

Biggest rounds, biggest sectors

So far this year, New Jersey’s biggest funding round by a long shot is a $620 million March Series D that went to Cross River, a provider of embedded financial tools that counts a number of well-funded fintechs among its users. Andreessen Horowitz and Eldridge led the financing for the 14-year-old company.

Other recipients of large rounds include:

Over the years, New Jersey’s startup funding tallies tend to fluctuate quite broadly, depending in large part on the number and size of a handful of supergiant rounds. But even with venture funding down overall both globally and in the U.S., the Garden State is poised for an above-par year for venture funding.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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