From the Star Ledger:
If Gerard Adams didn’t exist, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka might have to invent him.
Adams is a 31-year-old Belleville High School grad and Caldwell University dropout, whose father grew up in Newark and worked as a manager at Prudential. He made his name by cofounding EliteDaily.com, the self-described “Voice of Generation Y,” then selling it to the Daily Mail last year for $50 million.
Adams, who recently moved back to New Jersey from Manhattan, used part of the sales’ proceeds to launch Fownders, a tech incubator, training and mentorship center, cafe, and all-purpose gathering place for aspiring young entrepreneurs in his father’s home town.
Described on its website as a “Seed2Scale Accellerator,” Fownders opened last Spring at the base of a 20,000-square-foot building on Norfolk Street in Newark’s University Heights section.
The building, which has 17 market-rate apartments upstairs, was built by Adams and his longtime friend and collaborator, Pedro Gomes, a young real estate developer and Ironbound native. The two are already planning another building a block away with more apartments and additional Fownders space.
Adams, whose father is European-American and mother is of Colombian descent, is precisely the kind of private-sector ally Baraka looks to cultivate in his “Newark 3.0” campaign to transform Brick City into a technology mecca. Along those lines, Fownders is pushing the name “Silicon City” to place Newark among the established “Valley” and “Alley” tech centers in California and New York.