Launch NY Newsletter – December 2016


Launch NY
Vital Startup Guidance for Entrepreneurs 

Launch NY News & Updates Upcoming Events
Join us January 12 for Public Pitches & $100,000 in Investment Awards for VilCap Communities Critical Path Companies

It has been an exciting and busy last few months for our life sciences startups participating in the VilCap Communities Critical Path Accelerator – the follow up program to Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest Tour in Buffalo last year – as they have worked on customer discovery, business planning, team development, and honing their pitches. Launch NY is among the first of the 16 VilCap Communities selected this year to offer this unique program to drive promising startups solving big problems. During our final session, two companies will be peer selected to each receive a $50,000 investment from the Launch NY Seed Fund. Join us January 12, 2017 at 2:30 PM at the Buffalo Clinical & Translational Research Center for the final pitches and announcement of the winners! Register for the event.

Launch NY Announces New Seed Fund Investments

Today we announced two new investments from the Launch NY Seed Fund to Buffalo Automation Group and Evoke Healthy Foods. Buffalo Automation Group is developing autonomous navigation systems for cargo ships. Thiru Vikram, Buffalo Automation Group CEO, was “pleased that Launch NY’s investment was matched by Z80 Labs bringing our total investment from both organizations to $25,000.”
Evoke Healthy Foods is a muesli cereal company located in Rochester, NY. “In addition to mentoring support, Launch NY’s investment has allowed us to accelerate our growth, including launching our new single-serve product line, which will develop Evoke in new distribution channels,” said Ian Szalinski, Founder, Evoke Healthy Foods. Launch NY will provide investments up to $50,000 to Evoke Healthy Foods. Read our full press release.

While the Launch NY Seed Fund is making a difference through investments today, we welcome additional donations to reach our $5M goal to fuel more companies in the future. You and others who want to see our region thrive can make a charitable donation online or contact Marnie LaVigne at or 716-881-7576.

Launch NY & Syracuse Tech Garden Partnership Brings Home Federal Funding for Entrepreneur Resources

Last month the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced a $245,460 award to Launch NY to ramp up its mentorship-driven seed fund, as one of only eight nationwide recipients from the Seed Fund Support Grants program, and the only one located in the northeast. Collaboration with Syracuse Tech Garden on the proposal showcased the type of coordinated effort sought by federal funders says Linda Cruz-Carnall, Regional Director at U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. “Communities across this country have key assets to share that will accelerate the growth of businesses led by promising entrepreneurs. It’s the power of bringing these resources together that will drive success in growing startups, so we were pleased to support the collaborative efforts in Upstate New York with this federal award.” Read our full press release and the EDA announcement.

Launch NY Rainforest Canvas Study Results on Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Published Online

We all can sense the excitement about entrepreneurship in our region with what seems like more activity than ever. So how are we doing building our entrepreneurial ecosystem? Launch NY recently shared the results of a regional study using the Rainforest Canvas model developed by Victor Hwang. The study, sponsored by NYSERDA, that included 30 interviews with entrepreneurs, investors, resource providers, and other stakeholders showed that we have made tremendous progress in developing a support network for entrepreneurs, but that we also have more work to do when it comes to access to capital, experienced entrepreneurs and role models, coordination of services, and raising awareness and visibility of entrepreneurial activity and successes. These results and more were shared and discussed at our November #LaunchHour, plus the public can access an executive summary and full report of the results online.


December 21, 2016
#LaunchHour TwitterChat: How was 2016 for Startups? Launch NY Client Companies Share Their Stories
12:00 – 1:00 PM

January 10, 2017
Living Room to Clinical Trials
3:00 – 4:30 PM
Syracuse, NY

January 11, 2017
Startup Drinks
7:00 – 10:00 PM
Rochester, NY

January 12, 2017
VilCap Communities Critical Path Awards Ceremony
2:30 – 5:00 PM
Buffalo, NY

January 19, 2017
Beakers & Beer
5:00 – 7:00 PM
Buffalo, NY

January 30, 2017
The Logic of Profit: Understanding Start-up Economics
5:00 – 7:00 PM
Ithaca, NY

The Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition Application
Deadline: February 3, 2017

Hardware Accelerator Application
Deadline: February 28, 2017

76West Application
Deadline: March 13, 2017
















Launch NY Startup Spotlight
Join Us for 2016 Company Highlights #LaunchHour 12/21/16 at Noon

As 2017 quickly approaches, we are pleased to recognize the accomplishments of the 125+ startups Launch NY has supported throughout 2016. Join us for #LaunchHour on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at noon when several of our clients share their stories from 2016, including: Buffalo Automation Group (BuffaloAutomat), Coqui 3D (@Surgeysim), Integral Information Systems (@ShetyeMS), MotionSavvy (@MotionSavvy) Rezedent (@Rezedent411), Thimble (@thimbleio), and Wavio (@InnovateHz). And you’re welcome to chime in with your 2016 highlights in this end of year roundup!

#LaunchHour TwitterChat Tips Launch NY Resources
Can’t make it to all the ecosystem events? Join us monthly online to learn and share and check our archive.

Add Your Voice to the Rainforest Canvas
November 16, 2016

John Liddy (@johnliddy) – Syracuse Tech Garden & Syracuse Student Sandbox
Dan Penberthy (@dpbuffalo) – Rand Capital
Jim Senall (@jimsenall) – High Tech Rochester
Jeff Liebel (@JDLiebel) – CounterPoint Consulting, who partnered with Launch NY to conduct the Rainforest Canvas Study

Q2. How do you think the entrepreneurial ecosystem has evolved over the past few years?
A2. More seed funding available, more accelerator programs, education, training, mentoring. Marking progress. #LaunchHour (@jimsenall)
A2. Certainly more awareness – both by educational institutions as well as government – need more entrepreneurs #LaunchHour (@JohnLiddy)
A2. Quickly. Focusing on what #UpstateNY excels at, rather than trying to be another Silicon Valley = growing the right way #LaunchHour (@revIthaca)

Q10. What are your top priorities for improving our entrepreneurial ecosystem?
A10. Keep building ecosystem, but also need focused effort on creating successes. That builds momentum. #LaunchHour (@JimSenall)
A10. Be a connector. Work on the innovation opportunities arising from universities, corporations, and government. As well as startups #LaunchHour (@JohnLiddy)
A10. Drive the entrepreneurial narrative. Share the stories and build the next narrative for the area #LaunchHour (@JDLiebel)
A10. Each time I sit down with a company I am thinking who else I can find to write a check – we need more VC fund investors #LaunchHour (@dpbuffalo)

View our recently completed study on the Upstate NY Rainforest Canvas, here.





NEW Upstate NY Resource Network
Check it out here >

NEW Upstate NY Rainforest Canvas Study
Check it out here >

Upstate NY Ecosystem Map
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 >

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 >

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-in-Residence (EIR) Introduction
Meet Frank Codella
codella_webFrank Codella, is a founding member of Medical Acoustics, a respiratory care medical device company located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.  He serves as Chief Executive Officer, in addition to his duties as a Director of the Company.  Previously, Mr. Codella served as Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Synacor, Inc. (“Synacor”) from November 2001 to April 2010.  As a member of Synacor’s founding executive team, Mr. Codella played a key role growing the business from start-up phase to a mature enterprise with annual sales exceeding $100 million (IPO, SYNC).  Mr. Codella is also a Co-Founder of MedRecovery Management LLC (“MRM”) Frank developed the company from a concept to a thriving enterprise.  MRM was acquired by HMS, a public company (HMSY).  He has over 20 years of experience in the information technology and telecommunications industries having held numerous sales, marketing and senior management positions.  From September 2000 to November 2001, Mr. Codella served as Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Global Crossing Ltd.  From July 1998 to August 2000, Mr. Codella served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Integrated Personnel & Systems Solutions, Inc.  From 1996 to 1998, Mr. Codella served as a Sales Director at Lucent Technologies Inc.  From 1980 to 1996, Mr. Codella held various positions in sales, marketing, product development and general management in the Global Enterprise Division at AT&T.For more on Frank and our other mentors, please visit,

Wishing you Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!