September 26, 2023
Launch NY makes first investment out of new for-profit fund
Buffalo-based Diadem Capital’s pre-seed round will help accelerate impressive growth
Buffalo, N.Y., September 26, 2023 – Diadem Capital is a fast-growing fintech platform that connects founders to venture capital and other forms of early-stage funding. Launch NY is proud to announce that it is supporting that journey with a $115,000 pre-seed investment, paving the way for a new frontier of growth at Diadem Capital.
The deal is a milestone for Launch NY as the first investment out of its LaunchNY Seed Fund II, LP, a for-profit limited partner fund that backs startup companies in western and upstate New York. A predecessor fund, Launch NY’s Seed Fund I, LP ultimately raised $5.425 million from 73 accredited investors and backed 55 companies over the course of 4 years. Seed Fund I secured its first significant exit earlier this year with the sale of portfolio company Patient Pattern.
“Connecting founders with investors capital through our InvestLocal funds means that we can continue creating opportunities for talented entrepreneurs in Upstate New York, giving them a chance to launch their ideas into the marketplace and raise larger rounds of funding that support that growth right in our own backyard,” said Dr. Marnie LaVigne, the president and CEO of Launch NY. “It’s fitting that our first investment from Seed Fund II into a startup that helps young companies raise capital is completely aligned with our mission to bring funding to under resourced founders, and we can’t wait to watch Diadem Capital take the early-stage funding market by storm.”
Launch NY is the most active seed fund in New York state, making investments through its for-profit funds and Investor Network, fueled by over 350 investors, and its nonprofit Seed Fund, which is supported by donations and grants. The Diadem investment included $65,000 through Seed Fund II, and $50,000 from the nonprofit, LaunchNY Seed Fund LLC.
Diadem was launched in January 2022 by Wall Street veterans Stephanie Rieben (CEO) and Joe Hammill (COO), who were seeking to bring the efficiency of the trading floor to the startup fundraising marketplace. Rieben spent a decade in investment banking at Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Berenberg Bank before moving to a venture-backed fintech funding platform, where she learned about the challenge of fundraising for private companies. Hammill previously spent a decade on the trading floor at Citigroup before joining Stephanie at their last fintech startup. Hammill moved back to his hometown Buffalo during the pandemic.
The company’s innovative model brings startup founders through a comprehensive, synchronized journey that helps them present their deals to investors. If the deal doesn’t get funded, Diadem doesn’t earn any fees. The company has supported 17 deals that have raised $55 million from seed to Series B funding rounds thus far. More than 700 venture capital funds and over 100 lenders have opted to receive curated, pre-vetted deal flow from Diadem.
“Diadem Capital is the connective tissue between talented founders and investors looking for great deals, creating opportunities for deals that wouldn’t otherwise exist,” said Rieben, Diadem’s CEO. “We’re using our experience in fintech and the capital markets to act as a trusted extension of the deal-sourcing teams at venture capital, corporate venture, family office, private equity, venture debt and non-dilutive firms.”
Diadem Capital is on its way to closing a larger pre-seed round, with Launch NY as the lead investor. The company plans to leverage the investment cash to continue building out its platform, launch an integrated marketing effort and hire a support specialist who can manage the founder pipeline. Diadem Capital has had more than 1,200 companies seek out its services in the past 21 months.
“Our automated solution streamlines the fundraising process for startup founders, with a proven track record of helping deals go from pitch to close,” Hammill said. “That means they have more time and energy to actually run their company, focusing on the execution of their growth strategies.”
About Launch NY: Launch NY is a nonprofit venture development organization that operates in the 27 westernmost counties of New York state. The core mission of Launch NY is to identify, support and invest in high‐growth, high‐impact companies and to catalyze the entrepreneurial culture of Upstate New York through regional collaboration with ecosystem partners. Since its inception in 2012, Launch NY has served more than 1,500 companies which have gone on to raise more than $1 billion and support more than 5,000 jobs. Launch NY delivers its mission through its mentorship and capital access programs that include non-profit and for-profit investment funds, an Investor Network deals marketplace that features hundreds of accredited investors, and pro bono mentoring through its Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, Founders Go Big program for underrepresented and underserved founders and other programs, and Emerging Cleantech Opportunity (ECO) Incubator.
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.