$225K federal grant will support startup investment through perpetual nonprofit Seed Fund


Buffalo, N.Y., – For the fifth year in a row, Launch New York (Launch NY), Upstate New York’s first and only venture development organization to provide pro bono mentoring and capital access to high-growth startups across the 27 westernmost counties of the state, is receiving support from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund.


This year’s $225,000 CDFI Fund award is allocated to Launch NY’s nonprofit Seed Fund. The Seed Fund is designed to support investments in startups in what is known as an “evergreen cycle,” which recycles returns to the fund and continues providing capital to new ventures in the future. It’s fueled by grants and donations and offers $25,000 to $100,000 in investment capital to companies that meet Launch NY’s criteria.


Launch NY received $375,000 from the CDFI Fund in 2020, $225,000 in 2019 and $168,000 in 2018 and 2017. CDFI’s Rapid Response program also awarded Launch NY $952,000 in 2021 to support operations and its nonprofit Seed Fund. Additionally, Launch NY received the prestigious CDFI Certification from U.S. Department of the Treasury in 2017, a designation given to specialized organizations that deliver financial solutions in economically underserved areas.


These awards have helped Launch NY prepare entrepreneurs for investment capital and to receive direct funding from Launch NY’s nonprofit Seed Fund, which is the most active in New York State and one of the most active in the country, backing between two and four Upstate NY companies per month. Launch NY currently has 76 Seed Fund companies, with more than 71 percent located in low-income and economically-distressed communities. 43 percent are minority and/or women-led. In total these companies have created over 436 jobs in the region.


“Since 2016, Launch NY has invested over $4.1 million in 76 of Upstate New York’s most promising startups from its nonprofit Seed Fund, augmented by Launch NY’s for profit #InvestLocal programs yielding a total of nearly $7.8 million,” said Dr. Marnie LaVigne, Launch NY’s President and CEO. “This injection of funds attracts capital from outside Launch NY too, with our portfolio companies raising a total of $85 million. This fifth CDFI Fund award helps ensure we can continue our commitment to inclusive economic prosperity through high-growth entrepreneurship where it is needed most.”


For more information about Launch NY, its programs and other entrepreneurial opportunities, visit, and follow Launch NY on its Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.





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 1,319 companies, has more than two dozen 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, that have created 4,542 jobs, attracted over $1 billion in co-investment and follow-on capital after joining Launch NY and generated over $155 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 150 members. Those funded by Launch NY’s nonprofit fund, started in 2016, include 76 portfolio companies comprising 32 percent women-led and 21 percent minority-led, have created 436 jobs, attracted nearly $90 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.


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