January 14, 2019

Launch NY Newsletter – January 2019

Launch NY News & Updates

From Dealmaker of the Year to a New Invest Local Investor Network


On the heels of Launch NY’s COO and Fund Manager, Lindsay Stencel, being named Early Stage Dealmaker of the Year last month, Launch NY is introducing its new Investor Network in an expanding family of Invest Local financing programs. The idea is to capitalize on the robust deal flow of the Launch NY Seed Fund that has made it the most active source of seed funding in New York State. Since 2016 the Launch NY Seed Fund has invested $1.6 million in 35 companies, with over 120 co-investors, investing over $20 million. In order to fulfill even more co-investors’ desire to “Invest Local” not only by donating to the Launch NY Seed Fund, but also with an investment that can return capital to them, the Investor Network will provide a platform featuring its companies who are fundraising. Interested investors will be able support these companies through a process that will funnel not only capital but mentorship and other resources that accredited investors want to bring to our most promising entrepreneurs.

Are you an accredited investor who wants to be part of this momentum? Contact us today to learn more.


Cleantech Startups, Save the Date


Are you a pre-seed to Series A cleantech company? Next month, Emerging Cleantech Opportunity (ECO) Incubator will open applications for its first Innovation Sprint, on understanding the policy and regulatory environment for cleantech startups. ECO Incubator will be looking for 5 to 8 pre-seed to Series A cleantech companies to participate in this no cost program including initial document sharing and communication with our mentor team culminating in a 1 day in-person workshop in Buffalo, NY later this Spring. Selected companies can expect hands on mentoring around developing a company specific regulatory plan, networking opportunities, and more.

Sign up for program information.


Join us Wednesday, January 16th at Noon for #LaunchHour TwitterChat


Did you know that there are four business competitions in Upstate NY that offer a top prize of $1 million? Join us on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, to learn more about these competitions and others, and how to determine which may be best suited for your company and your fundraising plans. Never joined a TwitterChat before? It’s easy, just follow @Launch_NY on Twitter and use the hashtag #LaunchHour to see the discussion. Enjoy the conversation and jump in with tweets anytime.


Startup Spotlight

Launch NY Portfolio Company, EMPEQ, Reflects on 2018 Accomplishments


EMPEQ, one of 35 Launch NY portfolio companies, is looking forward to continued success in 2019 after a tremendous 2018. Last year the fintech startup, who provides innovative financing models for the upfront cost of energy efficiency upgrades to commercial buildings, raised over $530,000 and was named a finalist at the 76West Clean Energy Competition, completed their Empower Visibility MVP and featured in Utility Drive magazine. 

“2018 was a year of tremendous accomplishment for EMPEQ as we continue to push our vision of a cleaner, greener planet through efficient, simple financing of commercial energy efficiency projects. However, we would not have been able to achieve near this much without the generous support of Launch NY. The organization’s desire to aid early-stage startups in Upstate NY to reach their full potential was on full display not only through funding, but also through regular coaching and impactful introductions. We cannot thank Launch NY enough for their unwavering support,” said Derek LaClair, Co-Founder, EMPEQ.


WeRadiate to Join 2019 NYC Futureworks Incubator


Congratulations to WeRadiate, a hardware technology company that aims to create better and more efficient composting processes, who was recently accepted into the Futureworks Inbubator in New York City. “This opportunity will support our growth as a hardware and manufacturing startup enabling us to prototype and accelerate our business competitiveness across New York State,” said Sashti Balasundaram, Founder & CEO, WeRadiate.

#LaunchHour TwitterChat Tips

LaunchHour TwitterChats are monthly virtual chats featuring important topics for startups and entrepreneurs. Join us over your lunch to hear from expert panelists. Check out our archive for past TwitterChats filled with tips like those below. See you at the next #LaunchHour TwitterChat Wednesday, January 16th at noon.
December 19, 2018
Launch NY Startups’ 2018 Year in Review
View the whole chat on Wakelet.

What were your company highlights from 2018?

  • Better Bred (@BetterBred) – Securing a contract with UC Davis’ Veterinary Genetics Lab. Compiling data for 4600 dogs, developing solid relationships with 100s of users, helping them see the value we provide. As well as participating in the @ChloeCapital Pitches
  • NuNee (@NuNeeRelief) – NuNee sales were launch in May 2018, with many great testimonials from product users. We also received an investment from the @Launch_NY Seed Fund!
  • MemoryFox (@TheMemoryFox) – Finished our MVP for our first cohort of early adopters.
  • Off Duty Blue (@OffDutyBlue) – Off Duty Blue now has 10 agencies nationwide using their platform to schedule thousands of hours/month, and have processed over $200k in officer payments.

How did your company seek to overcome challenges and what lessons learned did you have from 2018?

  • Eat Me Ice Cream (@eatme_icecream) – We push through, take a break with yoga or meditation and get back to it. Say Yes to the challenges and pay attention as you go through it and end up on the other side of the challenge so that you can reflect on +/-.
  • MemoryFox (@TheMemoryFox) – Don’t sit around and wait for seed money, you need to be actively pitching to people who are actively investing.  Start with friends & family to demonstrate skin in the game.
  • NuNee (@NuNeeRelief) – We used industry experts and consultants to help in areas where expertise was essential ie. Patent, FDA, production, e-commerce, and marketing.

Join us for our next #LaunchHour TwitterChat, January 16th, Navigating Business Plan Competitions in Upstate NY.

Meet Launch NY Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs)

Holly Hillberg


With more than 35 years of experience, Holly Hillberg has extensive experience in global business leadership at companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Carestream Health, and Eastman Kodak. She has held a broad range of leadership positions which have included technology development, manufacturing, marketing, business management, operations, global strategy, Chief Technology Officer, and Chief Marketing Officer. Her career has been centered around successfully delivering new innovative products to market across the medical devices, and commercial and consumer business spaces. Of special note is Ms. Hillberg’s experience in leading not one, but two successful multi-billion dollar divestitures, then building the infrastructure to support growth and success for the new stand-alone companies. Ms. Hillberg holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University as well as a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology.Read more about Holly and our other EIRs on our website.