Media Releases

Governor Murphy, Stevens Institute of Technology Announce the Establishment of NJFAST, Fintech Accelerator in Hoboken

NJFAST is the fourth Strategic Innovation Center in the state and will support research and development, innovation and entrepreneurship in the financial and insurance technology sectors

Hoboken, N.J., May 7, 2024 – Governor Phil Murphy announced today at Stevens Institute of Technology that 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, have signed a letter of intent to form a partnership known as the New Jersey Fintech Accelerator at Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ FAST).

“Serving as the fourth Strategic Innovation Center, NJ FAST positions New Jersey to remain at the forefront of innovation, research and development, specifically within the cutting-edge fintech and insuretech sectors,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “NJ FAST will allow for 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. This center sends a clear message that when it comes to technology and innovation, the Garden State is the place to be.”

This Strategic Innovation Center (SIC) will serve as a hub for financial technology (fintech) and insurance technology (insuretech) startups. Stevens brings to NJFAST decades of expertise and leadership in financial systems technology, AI, cybersecurity and more. Stevens' faculty and students will collaborate directly with partners and startup fintech companies to advance fintech's frontiers and spur economic growth. Stevens already has a major presence in the fintech industry, including through the NSF-backed Center for Advancing Financial Technology (CRAFT). Researchers at CRAFT work to secure financial data by creating and testing more equitable trading platforms and support improved market simulation and stress-testing tools.

“NJFAST is an excellent example of a public-private-higher education collaboration that has the potential to bring significant economic value to our State and to serve as a national and global leader,” said Stevens President Nariman Farvardin. “Stevens is pleased to leverage its deep and significant expertise in financial systems, technologies and entrepreneurship and our knowledge of emerging fields such as AI, machine learning and quantum computing to the benefit of all partners and the State.”

The NJEDA and Plug and Play will oversee NJ FAST’s accelerator program with an opportunity to make equity investments into select participating companies. The program will host two cohorts a year, which will consist of at least 10 companies per cohort. Companies will be recruited globally to participate in the program, but at least 20 percent of the cohort will be from New Jersey and there will be 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.

“Since taking office, Governor Murphy has prioritized growing New Jersey’s innovation economy by ensuring that the companies of the future have access to first-rate resources and support as entrepreneurs grow and scale their business,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Powered by NJEDA’s Strategic Innovation Center program, NJFAST aims to make New Jersey a national leader in fintech and insuretech by supporting innovation, which 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.”

Plug and Play was founded in the 1990s and saw early success from investments in companies like PayPal and Dropbox. The firm, which invests in over 250 companies per year, has a presence in more than 60 sites across five continents. NJ FAST is the firm’s first-ever partnership on the East Coast. Plug and Play’s network consists of 50,000 startups, over 500 leading corporations and hundreds of venture capital firms, universities and government agencies. From 2020 to 2022, Plug and Play was the most active startup accelerator in the world, according to CB Insights.

Plug and Play 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 and will work to secure funding and industry support from various corporate entities.

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

With renowned financial institutions, such as Prudential, Barclay’s, Fiserv and JP Morgan, already having a presence in New Jersey, NJ FAST will build upon the state’s longstanding history as a leader in the financial industry. With a focus on fintech, NJ FAST will support the growth of new types of companies and career opportunities, expanding New Jersey’s influence in the national finance and fintech industries.

“NJ FAST will create new and exciting business ventures for entrepreneurs in Hudson County, New Jersey and the region. Investments such as this are critical to creating jobs and expanding New Jersey’s innovation economy,” said NJEDA Chief Economic Transformation Officer Kathleen Coviello. “NJ FAST will serve as a central hub for innovative fintech entrepreneurs, which will allow for new, cutting-edge developments to advance.”

Information from a news release issued by the NJEDA was used in this article.

About Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens Institute of Technology is a premier, private research university situated in Hoboken, New Jersey. Since our founding in 1870, technological innovation has been the hallmark of Stevens’ education and research. Within the university’s three schools and one college, 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students collaborate closely with faculty in an interdisciplinary, student-centric, entrepreneurial environment. Academic and research programs spanning business, computing, engineering, the arts and other disciplines actively advance the frontiers of science and leverage technology to confront our most pressing global challenges. The university continues to be consistently ranked among the nation’s leaders in career services, post-graduation salaries of alumni and return on tuition investment.

Stevens Media Contact
Kara Panzer
Interim Director of Public and Media Relations
Division of University Relations
[email protected]

On May 7, 2024, Governor Phil Murphy announced a partnership between the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and Plug and Play to form the New Jersey Fintech Accelerator at Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ FAST).