2021 Launch NY Yearly Round Up



 Investments Increased 34% Last Year Despite Ongoing COVID Pandemic 

 Launch NY’s #InvestLocal Lifetime Investments Now Total $7.7 Million; 

Generated $85.2 in Follow-On Investments  


Buffalo, N.Y., January 31, 2022 – 2021 was another challenging year—fraught with an ongoing public health crisis, as well as social, political and economic duress—yet Launch NY persevered in its work to support growth of the startup ecosystem in Upstate New York, increasing its investments in locally based startups by 33.9% to $2.987 million as of December 31. Plus, it continued its pace of 2-4 investments per month that has made it the most active seed fund in New York State and one of the most active in the country for the past three years.


Total investments made by Launch NY from its nonprofit Seed Fund since it commenced in 2016 reached $4.3 million, which have enabled its portfolio companies to raise an added $85.2 million—nearly 20 times more—in follow-on funding from outside investors. The follow-on capital raised by its portfolio companies came from angel investors, venture capital firms and other institutional investors attracted by the strength of the businesses and the robust ecosystem supporting their growth.


Additional investments from Launch NY’s newest funding programs introduced in 2019, including $2.2 million from its for-profit Limited Partner (LP) Fund and another $1.2 million from its Investor Network, yielded a grand total of $7.7 million in lifetime funding from Launch NY’s #InvestLocal financing programs.


Launch NY is Upstate New York’s first and only venture development organization to provide capital access and pro bono mentoring to high-growth startups across the 27 westernmost counties of the state.


“Last year, like the one before that, was unprecedented, uncertain and unpredictable. So, our team at Launch NY redoubled its efforts in 2021 to supply venture capital—as well as mentorship, programming and vital introductions—needed to sustain and expand our startup ecosystem through such challenging times. We were gratified that our relentless entrepreneurs and growing investment community rallied in ways that Launch NY could support,” said Marnie LaVigne, Ph.D., President and CEO of Launch NY.


2021 Launch NY Financial Highlights: 


$2.987 million is the total invested in Upstate New York startups through Launch NY’s #InvestLocal financing programs last year.


33.9% is the year-over-year increase in amount invested by Launch NY in 2021.


$955,000 is the amount invested in 2021 by Launch NY’s nonprofit Seed Fund through 26 transactions (12 new and 14 follow-on) in 22 companies. This compares to $872,500 in 2020 and $855,000 in 2019. Launch NY’s nonprofit Seed Fund is the most active in New York State and one of the most active in the country, and has invested $4.3 million since its inception.


$997,273 is the amount invested in 2021 by Launch NY’s Limited Partner (LP) Fund through 26 transactions (11 new and 15 follow-on) in 21 companies. This compares to $922,500 in 2020 and $305,000 in 2019. The LP Fund, Launch NY’s first for-profit fund that debuted in 2019 and invests alongside the Seed Fund, has thus far invested over $2.2 million.


$1,035,000 is the amount invested in 2021 by Launch NY’s Investor Network. Of the 189 accredited investors enrolled in the network as of the end of last year, 28 participated in seven transactions in six companies. The Investor Network’s largest investment last year—and to date—was $415,000 in Circuit Clinical. $105,000 was invested by the Investor Network in 2020, its first year of operation.


77 is the number of startup companies funded by Launch NY’s #InvestLocal financing programs to date. This is an increase from 65 companies at the end of 2020. These companies have created 438 jobs, attracted $85.2 million in co-investment and follow-on capital and generated more than $22.3 million in revenues. Forty three percent of Launch NY’s portfolio companies are women and/or minority-led ventures.


Companies that received seed capital from Launch NY in 2021 included:  


Western New York 


Agaghe Atelier—men’s clothier and online retailer 

Azuna—all-natural, American-made odor-eliminating product line 

Braidbabes—mobile hair braiders in Buffalo, NY, Nashville, TN and Raleigh, NC 

Breezi—predictive maintenance solution for HVAC equipment 

Cahill—delivers knowledge, iron and safety to the construction workforce in an innovative way  

Circuit Clinical—transforming experience of finding, participating and conducting clinical trials 

Dimien—new class of EV batteries designed for longer range and shorter charge times 

EagleHawk—drone solutions for large-scale facility asset management 

Feedback Solutions—sensors to calculate highly accurate occupancy in buildings 

HELIX Intel—simplifies management of supplies and services for commercial buildings 

Patient Pattern—software to identify and communicate patient risk across facilities, care settings 

Verivend—reduces friction and risks in B2B Accounts Payable/Receivables 

ZiZo Technologies—customizable business intelligence and employee performance dashboard  


Central New York 


Promptous—flexible dental and vision benefits for SMBs 


Finger Lakes 


Agapé—relationship wellness app designed to prompt meaningful conversation 

CYRISMA brings accessibility, affordability and simplicity to cyber security 

Combined Energies—specialty electronics for renewable energy generation, storage and EVs 

Iryss—wealth tech app for financial literacy, wellness & resiliency 

SunDensity—Photonic Smart Coating (PSC™) to enhance optical processes 

TheirStory—interviewing platform that collects, preserves and engages with community stories  


Southern Tier 


Antithesis—food technology company making better food ingredients through science 

Halomine—solutions that enhance the fight against bacteria and viruses 

Iterate Labs—AI smartwatch that maximizes employee productivity, retention and safety 


2021 Launch NY Other Notable Accomplishments: 


Launch NY received the 2021 Building Inclusive Economy Award, presented by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Western New York, which works to bring local neighborhood ideas to life by creating great places to live, work and raise a family for all. 


Launch NY raised $3.032 million in grants from public- and private-sector funders in 2021 to continue expanding the volume of capital provided through its #InvestLocal programs, as well as its mentorship programs. 


Launch NY expanded its ECO Incubator program, supported by the New York State Energy Research & Development Agency, by seven new clients in 2021, including Breezi, whose expansion to manufacturing facilities in Buffalo was facilitated by ECO.  


Launch NY introduced a new virtual incubator and coworking space called Launch Station, an online platform wherecompanies, mentors, investors, partner organizations and Launch NY staff can interact on a real-time basis in a virtual office location. 


Launch NY celebrated successes achieved by many of its mentorship and portfolio companies, including 2021 43North winners, Top Seedz ($1 million grand prize), Verivend and BetterMynd ($500,000 prize each); Upstate Capital Seed Fund of the Year Award winner, Agapé; and GrowNY finalist, WeRadiate. 


Reflecting on 2021’s accomplishments, LaVigne said she was “proud of the resilience, ingenuity, tenacity and endurance” shown by Launch NY’s many partners in the startup ecosystem. “Our founders, mentors, investors and staff showed their strength in the face of adversity, and I’m confident that 2022 will be even bigger and better for entrepreneurs in Upstate New York,” said LaVigne.


About Launch New York:  

The mission of Launch New York, Inc. (Launch NY), the only U.S. Treasury-designated Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) directly providing venture funding to businesses in New York State, is to identify, support and invest in high-growth, high-impact companies that can transform the local economy and catalyze the entrepreneurial culture in the 27 counties comprising the western half of Upstate New York. Launch NY is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit venture development organization that promotes economic development through best practices, including high-quality pro bono business mentoring, while operating the most active seed fund in New York State that provides access to seed capital as part of an array of #InvestLocal financing programs designed to facilitate funding for investment-ready companies which have the promise to drive significant economic impact and jobs for our region. 


Launch NY is headquartered in Buffalo and has co-locations with partner organizations in Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester and Syracuse. Since 2012, it has served over 1,324 companies, has more than thirty experienced local entrepreneurs-in-residence and its National Mentor Network of 2,000 industry, business and investment experts. Launch NY has mentored companies, including 27 percent women-led and 27 percent minority-led startups, thatwhich have created 4,547 jobs, attracted over $1 billion in co-investment and follow-on capital after joining Launch NY and generated over $159 million in annual revenues. 


Launch NY’s #InvestLocal Financing Programs include a nonprofit fund, for profit limited partner fund and Investor Network. The Investor Network includes opportunities for accredited investors to fund Launch NY portfolio companies of their choice for as little as $10,000 starting with a free sign up to join a community of over 190 members. Those funded by Launch NY’s nonprofit fund, started in 2016, include 77 portfolio companies comprising 31 percent women-led and 27 percent minority-led, have created 438 jobs, attracted over $85 million after receiving funding from Launch NY and generated over $22 million in annual revenues. Launch NY also leads the premier Emerging Cleantech Opportunity (ECO) Incubator, one of six designated clean energy incubators sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), as well as the Founders Go Big program, an innovative diversity and inclusion initiative introduced in 2020. 


Tag: Launch NY, Upstate NY startups, Venture capital, #InvestLocal, Seed funding, Nonprofit Seed Fund, Limited Partner Fund, Investor Network, Startup investments, Entrepreneur support, Venture development, Economic growth, Business mentoring, Investment capital, High-growth startups, Minority-led ventures, Women entrepreneurs, Cleantech Incubator, Entrepreneurial ecosystem, New York venture funding, Launch NY 2021 investment highlights, Upstate New York startup funding, Nonprofit venture capital in NY, Investing in NY high-growth startups, Seed funding opportunities in Upstate NY, Benefits of Launch NY’s Investor Network, Launch NY’s impact on local economies, Funding minority-led startups in NY, Support for women entrepreneurs in NY, Launch NY and regional economic development.