Launch NY Newsletter – August 2016

Launch NY
Vital Startup Guidance for Entrepreneurs
Launch NY News & Updates
 $2.5M Award to Launch NY from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

Last month, we were pleased to announce that The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation (RCWJRF) awarded Launch NY $2.5M over two years to continue to build on our successful mentoring program, scale up the Launch NY Seed Fund and strategic planning for the regional. The announcement of this award was kicked off with a trip by Launch NY CEO & President, Marnie LaVigne, to Detroit, to see best practices in action that have led to a successful entrepreneurial ecosystem in their community. “Launch NY is pleased to bring our community the tremendous relationships and models from the amazing people we are meeting through the RCWJRF.”

$100,000 in investments for Life Sciences Startups: Application Closes August 26, 12 PM

Critical Path is a VilCap Communities Accelerator Program, a follow-up to Steve Case’ Rise of the Rest competition, open to life sciences startups in the 27 county region Launch NY serves. Two startups will be awarded $50,000 each from the Launch NY Seed Fund through a unique peer selection process. Applications will be open until August 26, 2016 at noon.

To learn more about the program, please visit,, and to hear from investors about what they look for in life sciences startups, join us August 17 12-1pm for #LaunchHour TwitterChat .

Apply now: Critical Path Application

What are Investors Looking for in Life Sciences Startups?

Find out online August 17 at #LaunchHour TwitterChat. Launch NY is pleased to bring together angel, VC and other investors from the northeast US and Toronto to tell you what they are seeking when investing in the whole range of biomedical businesses from drug development to medtech and IT – and everything in between. Join us August 17 from noon to 1pm to hear from Brian Bloom, Bloom Burton & Co Ltd, Omar Bakht, NY Medical Angels, Beth Zimmer, Innovation Collaborative, and Christopher Cavanagh, North Bridge.


Startup Spotlight

Solara, Inc.

Solara, Inc., d/b/a Olive Ridley, led by Sarah Battaglia, is a NYS Certified Women Business Enterprise and a Launch NY client based out of Niagara Falls, NY. Olive Ridley offers a premium recycled-content latex paint product for private companies and institutions, as well as paint recycling and recycling event planning solutions for municipalities. The company has positioned itself to bridge the gap between paint recyclers and the coatings industry and, by doing so, is defining a circular economy for paint. The company aims to deal with the problem of excess paint by diverting useful material from disposal and re-engineering it into a second generation, high quality product.

“Olive Ridley is on a mission to solve the ‘Paint Problem’ and I can’t believe we are now a part of Launch NY. I am continually impressed by Deb O’Shea  (Launch NY assigned EIR) who has shared valuable connections and legal insight; her experience shines through her advice and suggestions.  Plus, she is only a call away. Having her support and advocacy has lifted a heavy weight off my shoulders, giving me the confidence needed to continue this new venture.” – Sarah Battaglia, Founder & CEO, Solara, Inc.


StopPack is a chemical free, social alternative to smoking cessation. The product is a case which smokers who are seeking to quit, place their pack of cigarettes into. StopPack has a range of sensors that track the user’s

smoking habits. The collected data is relayed to an app on the user’s smartphone. The StopPack app will learn the user’s behavior, and prompt them to set custom goals to wean them off of nicotine over time. StopPack allows the user to choose a small selection of friends, family, or loved ones to download the app, and follow along on their journey towards quitting.

StopPack was started by Alex Horner a student at Ithaca College, in an Entrepreneurship course with Launch NY and Southern Tier Startup Alliance EIR, Brad Treat. Over the summer, Alex and his team have been participating in REV Ithaca’s Hardware Accelerator program, which just completed its demo day, August 11th. With the many resources and mentoring available to them this summer, StopPack has made great strides in the development on their product. “Without Brad, StopPack would not exist. His guidance has been paramount to our success, and we are very thankful to have him as a mentor. Professor treat inspires students to push their abilities beyond what they thought existed in their realm of confidence. Professor Treat encouraged us to apply for REV’s hardware accelerator program, where we achieved feats of engineering we had not thought possible given our personal abilities” –Alex Horner, Co-Founder, StopPack


Upcoming Events

August 17, 2016
#LaunchHour: What Are Investors Looking for in Life Sciences Startups?
12:00 – 1:00 PM

August 15-26, 2016
Application Open for Critical Path
$100K in Investments

August 15-September 6, 2016
Applications Open for Genius NY
$2M in Awards

August 14-20, 2016
Upstate NY Tech Tour w/ Investor Paul Singh
Syracuse, NY

August 16, 2016
StartFast Venture Accelerator Demo Day
2:00 – 6:00 PM
Syracuse, NY

August 23, 2016
NYS Economic Development Council 2016 Summer Seminar
12:00 – 5:00 PM
Saratoga Springs, NY

September 8, 2016
Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Syracuse, NY

September 16, 2016
Upstate Unleashed Conference
8:30 – 2:00 PM
Verona, NY

September 26-27, 2016
Albany, NY


#LaunchHour TwitterChat Tips

Can’t make it to all the ecosystem events? Join us monthly online to learn and share and check our archive.

“Meet the New Resources & Leaders in the Upstate NY Entrepreneur Ecosystem” – July 20, 2016

Featured Panelists: Marc Alessi, Business Incubator Association of Upstate NY (@bianys), Noa Simons, Upstate Venture Association of NY (@UVANYorg), and Nasir Ali, Upstate Venture Connect (@UVConnect)

Q1. What is the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem?
A1. Ecosystem = Founders & supporters Supporters = Mentors, investors, partners, advisors, friends, & family #LaunchHour (@UVConnect)
A1. It is the network of resources built out around helping new business thrive in Upstate New York #LaunchHour (@UVANYorg)
A1. Entrepreneurial Ecosystem – the culture & environment that all parts bring together #LaunchHour (@mphisocial)

Q2. What is your organization & how does it serve the ecosystem?
A2. We host monthly events for #entrepreneurs #LaunchHour (@StartUpGrindBuf)
A2. The Business Incubator Association of New York is a statewide association of incubators to improve ecosystem #LaunchHour (@bianys)
A2. Southern Tier Startup Alliance is partnership with Launch NY & mentors companies in the region via our network of incubators #LaunchHour (@ken_rother)

Q7. Can you share how the Upstate Ecosystem has evolved over the past few years?
A7. There is greater understanding about what spurs business growth & economic advancement in communities across the US #LaunchHour (@UVANYorg)
A7. New programs like @Start_Fast Accelerator, #StartFastCODE creating huge opportunities for talent. #LaunchHour (@UVConnect)
A7. This maturity of the ecosystem is beginning to attract the attention of larger companies in innovation & capital #LaunchHour (@bianys)

For our full archive, click here.


Upstate NY Ecosystem Map
Check it out here >

Is Launch NY a fit for you?
Launch NY provides entrepreneurs experienced mentoring using best practice processes and connections to specialized resources both in and beyond the Upstate NY ecosystem.Thus preparing you to compete for and win the funding and additional resources needed to move forward. Apply Now! >

Entrepreneur Toolkit 
The toolkit is a set of templates and links designed to help start, launch and grow your business in upstate New York.
Check it out here >

5 Business Stages – Where are you?
Each stage contains critical deliverables for moving forward. Starting with the Explore stage, see where you are on the path to success.
Find out here >
EIR Introduction
Meet Michael Bovalino

Mike is an experienced and successful senior executive with diversified experience. Mike has been the President and CEO of six different companies including both publicly traded and privately owned businesses.  Mike’s industry experience includes telecommunications/utilities, medical devices, real estate, and consumer goods.  Mike has a unique blend of corporate and field experience with an outstanding P & L track record.  He has an extensive background in creating new markets and companies, gaining market share in highly competitive environments, building effective customer and employee relationships, mergers and acquisitions, and implementing processes for change and growth. Most recently Mike was the President of the medical device manufacturer BioSpherix. Other significant positions include being the President and CEO of the Pyramid Management Group, the largest privately held commercial real estate company in the US. Mike was the founder and CEO of Energetix, a diversified energy company that grew into a billion dollar business.  Mike has also been an executive officer of both Niagara Mohawk and Rochester Gas and Electric.

For more on Mike and our other mentors, please visit


We appreciate your interest in our work and mission, and we are always eager to share our vision with those who just want to learn more about the “entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Please feel free follow us on our social media channels or explore our website, and refer others interested in our organization and services.

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