Launch NY February 2021 Newsletter

Launch NY Prepares Black Entrepreneurs Building


Scalable Businesses Across All High-growth Industries The road to building a new startup company is fraught with bends and valleys for all entrepreneurs, but for Black founders, who receive only 1% of venture capital invested in the country annually, embarking on a business that wants to “go big”– generating tens of millions of dollars in product sales in a year or more – the navigation can be especially tough. That’s why Launch NY continues to be a go-to resource for Black entrepreneurs to access both expert business coaching and #InvestLocal financing.


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Launch NY Announces New Board Member


Quincy Allen, capping recent expansion of Launch NY’s Board of Directors as the newest addition, has over 35 years of leadership experience in the technology services industry and community leadership. He most recently serving as IBM’s go-to-market leader of Cognitive Process Services and chief marketing officer for IBM Cloud from 2015 to 2018. Allen is currently on the board of Office Depot and is an advisor for the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester.


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Launch NY ECO Program Coordinator Wins Buffalo Business 30 Under 30


A huge congratulations to our longstanding team member and Emerging Cleantech Opportunity (ECO) Incubator Program Coordinator, Danielle Blount, for making Buffalo Business First’s 30 under 30! Danielle began her journey at Launch NY during her UB MBA studies as an intern in the summer of 2015, and she continues to support our innovative high-growth startups and our overall organizational efforts!

Thank you Danielle for your hard work, dedication, and leadership that have fueled Launch NY’s tremendous growth to serve our entrepreneurial community with ever-better resources!


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President & CEO, Marnie LaVigne, recognized in Power 250


Another huge congratulations to our President & CEO, Marnie LaVigne, PhD, for being recognized in Buffalo Business Journal’s Power 250! With her leadership and vision, Launch NY hit multiple milestones in 2020, mentoring and funding more companies than ever and engaging with hundreds of investors to close its first for profit LP Fund and make its first investments from its Investor Network, the first and largest on demand digital platform helping funders #InvestLocal.  All this on behalf of growing the startup community in Upstate NY!

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Startup Spotlight



Forbes Article – This Smart Toilet Might Save Your Life One Day

Launch NY portfolio company, Casana Care, formally Heart Health Intellegence, was recently featured in a Forbes Article about their at home medical monitoring device, The Heart Seat™.

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dooProcess Releases New Collection on Sunday

Launch NY Founder’s Go Big company, dooProcess, will be releasing their new collection of hoodies and T-shirts this Sunday, February 28th. The company gives 15% of its profits to non-profit organizations. To read more about the company, see their most recent article in the BKReader.

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WeRadiate awarded $25,000 grant

WeRadiate recently received a $25,000 grant from NextCorps to support manufacturing of hardware and software technology to improve soil health.

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OpenBottle Rebrands to Divvyd

Divvyd is now the new name and face of OpenBottle. An app that was once strictly wine now offers even more options that allows consumers to reserve food, wine, beer, whiskey and more!

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Join the Conversation on Twitter Every Month!

Catch up here! –  “High Growth Entrepreneurship from the Perspective of Black Founders” We cover new topics every month! Join us every third Wednesday of the month! Next twitterchat is January 27th! #LaunchHour TwitterChats are monthly virtual chats featuring important topics for startups, entrepreneurs, investors, and ecosystem stakeholders.

Thank you to our panelists!
MyRetreat  – Anaghe Atelier – Jesse Mack – Arkatecht – dooProccess – Agape – AireXpertsKanga Klothing
Tips from February’s TwitterChat:
Read the full conversation here

Q5. Statistics show that African-American Founders make up only 1% of the recipients of venture capital (VC) in the US. What steps should be taken to increase this?#LaunchHour

@arkatecht1: A5: So much lost opportunity results from not valuing different experiences and knowledge about problems that exist. Black Founders often have such diverse experiences, and knowledge that gets overlooked to their ventures’ detriment and that of VCs.
@dooprocessNY: A5. I would say Black Founders only make up 1% of VC is because they are not exposed to it. With lack of exposure comes lack of education on the topic and without that it just won’t work. So, some steps to increase that would be to expose VC to more Black Founders. #LaunchHour

A6. I started as full-time entrepreneur right before the pandemic. I needed a solid foundation and systems to remain nimble in the marketplace. I also ramped up Social Media marketing and it has been paying off.

@CMWServicesLLC: Q6. Pivot is a huge buzzword right now as we are approaching one year of the pandemic. What steps have you taken to pivot your business?

@MYRetreat1: A6. We listened to B2C2B customers who asked for our Chocolate Mindfulness App to be developed. We have taken the learnings from in-person Chocolate Mindfulness Retreats and produced quality bite-sized virtual retreats. #LaunchHour

View our TwitterChats archive.