Launch NY Newsletter – January 2018


Launch NY

Launch NY News & Updates Upcoming Events

 Jennifer Beckage Joins Launch NY Board

Jennifer Beckage, a partner with Phillips Lytle law firm in Buffalo, brings a strong background in entrepreneurship as a new addition to the Launch NY Board of Directors. “Launch NY is truly making a difference for entrepreneurs across the state,” said Ms. Beckage. “I look forward to guiding Launch NY in their work with these companies as they continue to grow and develop their businesses.” Read the full announcement on our website.

#LaunchHour TwitterChat: Funding 101: Managing Investor Relations

Are you seeking investment capital? How can you make this daunting task easier? The answer is through excellent investor relations practices. Be sure to join us on Wednesday, January 17th noon to 1 pm for our next #LaunchHour TwitterChat when we’ll have both investors and entrepreneurs who have raised capital successfully answering questions on the do’s and don’ts of finding and managing investors. Our panelists include: Elisa Miller-Out (Chloe Capital and Singlebrook), Jennifer Tegan (Cayuga Venture Fund), Mike Annunziata (Farther Farms), James Shomar (StartFast Venture Accelerator), and more!

Buffalo Angels is Taking a Chance on Entrepreneurs in WNY

Buffalo Angels’ goal is to invest in companies with a potential to provide a significant return. Angel investing can be high-risk, but this local angel group with an active fund wants to help startup businesses in the Western NY region that can grow and be successful job and wealth creators. Jack McGowan oversees both the Buffalo Angels and the Western NY Venture Association and recently sat down with Upstart NY to discuss the growth on angel investing and startups in the region. Read the full Q&A on

January 17, 2018
#LaunchhHour TwitterChat: Funding 101: Managing Investor Relations
12:00 – 1:00 PM

January 17, 2018
Mobilizing High Performance Sales Engines
2:45 – 6:00 PM
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

January 18, 2018
Investment Trends & Tax Reform
4:30 – 7:00 PM
Buffalo, NY

January 25, 2018
Innovation & Biotech Luncheon: Policy Updates Facing the Industry
12:30 – 2:00 PM
Syracuse, NY

January 31 – February 1, 2018
NY Economic Development Council 2018 Conference
Albany, NY

Startup Spotlight

Creating Thriving and Healthy Communities through Granola

The Perfect Granola, based in Rochester, NY, started as a way for the founder, Michele Liddle, to feed the

 hungry in her community, but her passion project quickly grew into a company and full-time job. The Perfect Granola can now be found in several retailers, including Wegmans, Price Shopper, Dash’s Markets, and soon Shop-Rite. The Perfect Granola is still committed to giving back, while also creating a successful healthy food startup. Five percent of their

profits are donated to homeless shelters, outreach centers, and food banks.

Michele Liddle, started working with Steve Nicosia, the company’s assigned Launch NY EIR, a few months ago while preparing to scale the company and plan for future success. “Steve has offered advice and mentorship on financial projections, pitch decks, and overall business advice for growth in this fast-paced industry. His experience and expertise in the food industry specifically has been key, and we look forward to continuing to work with Launch NY as we grow into new markets,” said Michele Liddle.

What Success Looks Like: Thimble Graduates from the Z80 Incubator to Their Own Home

In late 2015, Thimble launched their wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to raise $25,000 and ended up with over $290,000. Fast forward to 2018 and Thimble’s team is growing to 8 employees! With a growing team and many monthly orders to fill, Thimble is graduating from the incubator space in the Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and is moving to the Pierce Arrow Building in downtown Buffalo.

Congratulations on your continued success and growth!

#LaunchHour TwitterChat Tips Launch NY Resources
LaunchHour TwitterChats are monthly virtual chats featuring important topics for startups and entrepreneurs. Join us monthly to hear from industry experts on our panel. If you missed us you can view our past TwitterChats in our archive and checkout some great tips from previous months below!

December 20, 2017
#LaunchHour: Launch NY’s Startups 2017 Year in Review
View the whole chat on Storify.

Q5. What challenges did your startup face in 2017?
  • Tuzag (@tuzag_inc) – Raising money for the transition, managing services and clients, while building product, changing sales/business models #LaunchHour
  • Thimble (@thimbleio) – Biggest challenge for us in 2017 = learning how to properly manage supply chain/manufacturing partnerships. #LaunchHour
  • SimpleFund (@getsimplefund) – One of the biggest challenges for any startup is to find your audience #LaunchHour
Q6. How did you seek to overcome those challenges and what lessons learned do you have for other entrepreneurs?
  • High Tech Rochester (@HighTechRoch) – Flexibility is key. Be productive and be able to make changes when necessary. Sometimes it’s all hands on deck, and you’ve gotta band together and get it all done as a team! #LaunchHour
  • Thimble (@thimbleio) – Best lesson learned for other entrepreneurs? Always communicate with your customers, even if the news is bad #LaunchHour
  • House at Work (@houseatwork) – Experiment and try different marketing techniques, some will work, some will not, focus on what works and learn from what doesn’t #LaunchHour
  • GRASPIE (@GRASPIE) – We have already started building our team locally! Pulling interns from UB and other local colleges help, as well as bringing on key team members locally that gives us great push on the technical side! In terms of focus we decided to do a beta test to start! The group will be made up of 75% target and 25% other market/industries. By doing this we can now hone in on what works and what doesn’t for each! #LaunchHour

View the whole chat on Storify.

Join us for our next #LaunchHour TwitterChat, this Wednesday, January 17, 2018!


Upstate NY Resource Network
 Check it out here >

Upstate NY Rainforest Canvas Study
 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 Joe Kunkemoeller

Joe Kunkemoeller is the Managing Member of Aurora Capital Partners, LLC. He is an accomplished senior professional with a record of domestic and international achievement as a consultant, entrepreneur, and investment banker.

He brings industry expertise in Energy, Advanced Materials, Financial Services, Consumer Services, and Retail. He has led capital raising, capital structuring, and exit transactions for start-up, small cap, and growth capital clients. In addition, he has 25+ years experience in management evaluation, management coaching, and mentoring (as a principal team member and advisor). He is currently providing commercialization, strategic, and capital raising advice to companies in Upstate New York including companies emerging from local incubators.

Read more about Joe and our other EIRs on our website.
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