Great businesses are born when entrepreneurs and investors get together, and that’s exactly what the New Jersey Entrepreneurial Network sets out to facilitate with its Pitches, Posters, and Prizes event. At the annual contest, new companies get a chance to introduce themselves to important contacts in research universities, companies, investors, and other members of the business community, and win prizes for their business plans and pitches.

This year’s competition will take place Wednesday, March 29, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Princeton University Frick chemistry building atrium. Tickets are $45. For more information, visit www.njen.com, or call 609-688-9282.

This year, one of the richest people in New Jersey, high-tech investor Jesse Treu, will give a speech at the event. In 1985 Treu co-founded Domain Associates, a Palmer Square-based venture capital firm, and he is still a partner there. This business has been so successful that in 2015, NJ Biz listed him as the 28th-richest person in New Jersey with a net worth of $540 million.

Treu earned this wealth over a career in which he has been a director of 37 early-stage healthcare companies, leading 23 of those firms to public offerings. His expertise in science has helped his endeavors in high-tech business: he has a degree in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a doctorate from Princeton.

Treu got his start in business soon after completing his PhD at General Electric’s Corporate Research and Development Center in Schenactady, New York. RPI’s alumni magazine reports that Treu soon moved to the business side of the operation. With his familiarity with both business and science, he was able to show companies how technology developed at the lab could apply to real-world business problems.

Among his recent successes as a venture capitalist was an investment in Afferent Pharmaceuticals. Founded in 2009, the San Mateo, California-based biotech company was developing drugs for neurogenic disorders. Merck bought the company for $1.25 billion in 2016. He also led an investment in NPS Pharmaceuticals, a Bedminster-based pharma company acquired by Shire in 2015 for $5.2 billion.

With a track record like that, it’s little surprise that Treu will speak to the NJEN on the topic of “converting ideas into successful companies.”

Treu has been active in the community, as well as in business. He is a trustee of the Princeton Healthcare System, and has contributed so extensively to the Princeton JCC that the center is holding a “spring soiree” event on Saturday, April 1, to honor him and his wife Marissa.

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