Want to know a secret? New Jersey is quietly emerging as a technology hub.
I know what you are thinking. Despite the jokes about the Garden State and the perceptions, thanks to Pauly D, The Sopranos and the most tanned lady on the planet, New Jersey is home to some really interesting startups and innovation.
In the past 18 months, several meetups have popped up to support groups congregating in key areas of New Jersey, from Hoboken and Princeton to Red Bank andAsbury Park. There is a renaissance in the making, and the state that is largely known for pharmaceuticals and farm-fresh tomatoes is evolving into a technology and telecommunications center.
Cultivating the growth of startups and entrepreneurship in New Jersey is TechLaunch, one of several accelerator programs to help facilitate the commercialization of innovative technology. It was formed in collaboration with the NJ Economic Development Authority (EDA), Montclair State University and successful entrepreneurs. Executive Director Travis Kahn explains the technology ecosystem which New Jersey has to offer in this recent interview on TechCrunch.
Companies like Thumb (crowdsourced market research), Sched-It (social calendar),WhipTail (enterprise storage), and EtherFax (cloud fax automation) are just a few companies that have roots in New Jersey.
Through TechLaunch, the various meetups and support from academia such as Princeton University, Rutgers University and Stevens Institute of Technology to name a few, there is no doubt New Jersey will distance itself from the jocularity and create a new persona anchored around technology and innovation.
Disclosure: The Red Bank meetup a.k.a. NJConnect is organized by Springboard Public Relations. Additionally, Domenick Cilea, the author of this post was recently asked to be a mentor for TechLaunch.