Just 14 months ago, SOSV announced a $25 million agreement with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to expand SOSV’s HAX program to Newark, NJ. Today, HAX is up and running in Newark, with a 10-year lease for 35,000-square-feet at 707 Broad Street in historic downtown Newark, 10 new hires, 10 new startups in residence, and a growing number of local partnerships. It’s a good time to provide a quick update on HAX’s remarkable progress.
As a quick refresher, the purpose of the HAX startup development program is to give hard tech founders an “unfair advantage” by de-risking their businesses through access to pre-seed funding, hands-on, technical help building physical prototypes, and careful preparation to raise seed and later rounds from top-tier venture firms.
Just this month, the first Newark-based HAX startup crossed that last threshold: TechCrunch reported that GAIA AI, which uses AI to help foresters better quantify and manage carbon stock in forests, closed a $3 million round led by E14, with participation from Ubiquity Ventures, Space Capital, and SOSV.
HAX also hit two other funding-related milestones. The NJEDA announced that HAX has been approved for NJ Accelerate, which allows NJEDA to match investments made in HAX startups so long as they locate in New Jersey within six months after graduating from HAX. NJEDA’s match is in the form of a direct loan up to $250,000. NJEDA also announced that Renovate Robotics will be the first loan recipient at HAX. Renovate is building robots to automate the installation of shingles and solar panels on single-family residences.
At the same time, HAX’s leadership is realigning around the Newark office. SOSV General Partner Duncan Turner, the managing director of HAX, officially relocated from Hong Kong to lead the Newark effort. He continues to oversee HAX’s facility in Shenzhen, which provides vital design, engineering, and prototype assistance to HAX companies in Newark and globally.
Susan Schofer, who recently joined HAX as Chief Science Officer and Partner, notes that in the Newark facility HAX is already able to support founders with hands-on engineering and tools to iterate through prototypes. That includes advanced 3D printing, manual metal fabrication, CNC machining, laser cutting, water jet cutting, and precision electronics for rapid iteration and prototyping. The workshop is also equipped with basic metrology and testing facilities, and is adding a growing array of analytical equipment for materials and molecular characterization.
In its new home at 707 Broad Street, HAX is currently operating out of a temporary space on the 10th floor and will be moving to a permanent location on the 9th floor early next year. When the buildout is complete, HAX will add wet lab capabilities with benchtop and walk-in hoods to help founders de-risk their chemistry and physical science. Those facilities will help support companies working in areas like critical mineral recovery, battery and plastics recycling, biomanufacturing, and development of new materials.
HAX is already staging small meetups in the interim HAX space—feel free to reach out if you would like to learn more.
HAX currently has ten startups already working in the HAX space in Newark. Here are the five no longer in stealth.
- Renovate Robotics – automated shingle and solar installation
- XN Health – a medical device company that induces diaphragm contractions in mechanically ventilated patients to protect against Ventilator Induced Diaphragm Dysfunction (VIDD)
- PDS – a portable diagnostic device that provides law enforcement with accurate drug screening data from a small sample of saliva
- Pons – a portable ultrasound utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning
- Gaia.Ai – a hardware and software platform that captures data for forest carbon markets
The startups at HAX in Newark receive at least $250,000 in initial investment, 180 days of close support from HAX’s expert product, design, and engineering team, introductions to a global founder mentor community, and ongoing support to raise more venture capital from top firms, including further investment from SOSV. More than 250 startups have completed the HAX program in the past decade, and today they have a cumulative value of more than $8 billion.
The HAX team in Newark is taking shape fast. Chief Science Officer and Partner, Susan Schofer, mentioned above, has more than two decades of experience scaling industrial biotechnology companies. Her experience includes work with early deep tech pioneers—Modern Meadow, Symyx, and Amyris—in key business development and product roles.
Also new to the team are investment principal, Andrew Gollach, who brings 10 years of experience in the industrial chemistry sector, and workshop manager Joe Oliveira. Andrew will support teams with business development and product strategy, and Joe will manage the build out of our industrial facilities and machine shops.
In addition to HAX’s facilities, HAX founders will have access to partners’ advanced workshops including the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), which is a few blocks away. To help support entrepreneurs coming up locally, HAX has also forged partnerships with Princeton, Rutgers, Rowan, and NJIT and launched programs Phase Zero and the HAX Venture Fellowship to provide a variety of ways for folks to engage with HAX’s ecosystem.
HAX is also working with community organizations, corporations, and academic institutions such as Newark Alliance, Choose New Jersey, NRBP, NJPAC, as well as two corporates headquartered in Newark, Prudential and Audible, to encourage new networks between HAX, startups, and local organizations and corporates.
The HAX effort in Newark is coming together faster than the HAX team ever dreamed, but time is still of the essence. Hard tech innovation is crucial to addressing the multi-threaded challenges of climate change, supply chain disruptions, soaring energy costs, and depletion of critical resources.
Please help by sending HAX’s way great founders with world-changing, hard tech projects.