When SOSV issued a Request for Proposals last spring, seeking a location to establish a U.S. headquarters for its highly regarded hard-tech accelerator, HAX, Gov. Phil Murphy jumped in right away.
He knew the competition would be fierce. And he knew the process would play out quickly.
Murphy met with SOSV founder and Managing Partner Sean O’Sullivan in July in Newark — not only touting Newark and its high-speed internet as an ideal tech hub, but the number of incentive programs the state was putting in place to grow the innovation economy Murphy has talked about since his first campaign speech.
Tim Sullivan, the CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, said he feels the personal pitch from the governor was a big reason why New Jersey won out. SOSV announced Wednesday morning that it is coming to Newark — and doing so in a deal where it is committed to finding and developing 100 companies in the next five years.
“The governor was personally and directly central to this pitch and this effort,” Sullivan said. “I think his personal and direct commitment to how important this was, was critical and made a big impression on Sean and the SOSV team.”
As did what the state had to offer, Sullivan said.
“Beyond the things that often distinguish us, such as talent and infrastructure and location, was the suite of innovation tools that have been developed,” he said. “Programs such as the Accelerate, Ignite and Evergreen programs all made an impression and showed the state’s commitment to early-stage companies.”
That commitment, Sullivan said, goes beyond the Governor’s Office.
Choose New Jersey played a huge role in the process, Sullivan said, as it helped the pitch showcase the resources that are available in New Jersey, including a strong connection to the higher education players in the state.