Cross River Bank Raises $620 Million, Women In Innovation And How To Raise A Series A Round

[This article was taken from NJTW News, an NJTechWeekly.com newsletter. Sign up for it here.]

Cross River

  • Cross River Bank (Fort Lee) has raised $620 million from some impressive VCs and funds.
  • The round was led by Eldridge (Greenwich, Conn.) and Andreessen Horowitz (Menlo Park), with participation from funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price (Baltimore), Whale Rock (Boston) and Hanaco Ventures (Tel Aviv and New York).
  • “Cross River is powering the future digital economy and changing lives by reinventing the way financial services are accessed,” said Gilles Gade, founder, CEO and chairman of Cross River.
  • This new capital will be used to accelerate Cross River’s ongoing technology-focused growth strategy, the company said in a press release.
  • This includes four initiatives: building out embedded payments, cards, lending and crypto solutions; further investing in its people and communities; continuing to execute plans for international expansion; and bolstering strategic partnerships.

NJEDA “Women In Innovation” Panel

“Women in Innovation” panelists | Screenshot by Esther Surden
  • For Women’s History Month, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) put together a panel of women from New Jersey’s innovation sector, moderated by NJEDA’s chief economic transformation officer, Kathleen Coviello.
  • Coviello asked the panelists to name influential women who had helped their careers.
  • She noted that when she first started out there weren’t many women who were willing to pull up the next generation or support other women.
  • An exception was Caren Franzini, former CEO of the NJEDA, who Coviello said was a great mentor who helped her significantly
  • Entrepreneur Jessica Gonzalez, one of the panelists, discussed the resources she took advantage of in New Jersey.
  • Gonzolez recently was able to exit her business, InCharged (Newark), selling it to IBrands Global (New York).
  • “I think that part of my successful exit, especially after COVID, was because of all the resources I had in New Jersey during COVID to help me propel myself and not have to let everybody go.
  • Some advice from the panelists:
    • Network, network, network. And cultivate relationships for growth
    • Take risks. Failures don’t mean you’ve actually failed. Failure is part of the process.
    • Take some time to reflect on your accomplishments, your small wins.
    • Since women have a 30 percent lower chance of raising money than men, find the place where you get the support and the resources that help you beat the odds.

Raising A Series A Round

Panelists for “Raising a Series A Round” | Screenshot by Esther Surden
  • Princeton Innovation Center BioLabs and the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council hosted a panel discussion,  “Raising a Series A Round,” last week.
  • Moderated by Anthony Williams, new ventures associate at Princeton University, the panel discussed the stages founders go through to raise funds.
  • Panelists talked about their experiences and gave advice to the online audience.
  • Some panelist thoughts about how to begin:
    • As an entrepreneur or head of the company, you need to be selective about the VC funds or angels you approach, said Mark Esposito, cofounder and former CEO of KayoThera (Seattle).
    • Find out the stage at which the venture fund is likely to invest by looking at its website and at PitchBook, said Fei Shen managing director of Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund USA (Cambridge, Mass.) and a cofounder of Princeton-based ArrePath.
    • It’s not only money coming in, it’s expertise, noted Kristina Fontanez, vice president of Fluent BioSciences (Watertown, Mass.).
    • She added, it’s not just about the fund you will be working with, it’s also about the people that you will be sitting with at long board meetings.
    • Warm introductions are always best and networking events are vitally important, the panelists agreed.

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