Launch NY Newsletter – July 2016

Launch NY
Vital Startup Guidance for Entrepreneurs
Launch NY News & Updates
$2.5M Award from Ralph C. Wilson Foundation
Launch NY has been awarded a $2.5M grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. The largest single grant award received since Launch NY’s inception, these funds will support a 24-month initiative to optimize the impact of the current venture development organization’s infrastructure with capacity-building and strategic planning elements. “With the introduction of our new seed fund side-by-side with our established pro bono mentoring services, the timing of this award couldn’t be better to fully scale up our support for startup businesses,” said Marnie LaVigne, PhD, president and CEO of Launch NY. To read the full press release, click here.

VilCap Communities Application: Vital Connections & $100,000 in Investments
Steve Case’ vision impacts our region again! Get ready health and life sciences companies for a follow-up program to the Rise of the Rest tour last fall with the VilCap Communities program, also sponsored by Kauffman Foundation and Sorenson Impact Center. Program applications for the 12 company slots will be accepted soon, so stay tuned for your chance to benefit from this fall’s program featuring world class industry representatives and investors, plus the unique VilCap Communities peer selection method that will award two $50,000 investments. Read how we were chosen for VilCap Communities.

Meet the New Resources & Leaders in the Upstate NY Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Just two days to this month’s #LaunchHour TwitterChat, July 20 12-1 pm will introduce you to brand new resources and people in our ecosystem featuring Upstate Venture Connect, Business Incubator Association of NYS, Upstate Venture Association of NY, and more. Meet them all here.

We’ve moved!

The Launch NY offices have recently moved to a new location on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC). We are now located at 77 Goodell Street in the Gateway building, sharing  suite 201 with University at Buffalo’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL).We are very excited to be co-located with CEL and surrounded by local startups in StartUP NY space and in other nearby bustling locations in the BNMC and downtown area.

Startup Spotlight


Euphony Inc, led by Fuz Eller in Syracuse, develops a text-to-speech technology that is more user friendly through life-like speech for machines and software. Euphony’s success in this field has led to work to assist speech therapists and simulation with pilots and air traffic controllers. Recently, Fuz and his team received $50,000 in funding when they were named winners of the Second Round of the Syracuse Tech Garden’s accelerator program, Germinator.

Paul Brooks, our assigned Launch NY EIR, encouraged me to join Launch NY, just as I was wondering if I was stuck in my own echo chamber regarding business planning and client development. Most recently, Paul has been able to connect me to the NYS Science and Technology Law Center, through a partnership with Launch NY, which has helped in performing a prior art search on our intellectual property” – Fuz Eller, President, Euphony, Inc.


Op-Smart is amanufacturing operations management software company located in Buffalo, NY.  Op-Smart has been installed on multiple production lines for multiple companies, providing significant improvements in production efficiencies.  Their single platform provides extreme ease of installation and use.  It includes automated data collection as well as integration with existing business systems.  It offers planning, scheduling, execution, production reporting, activity based costing, maintenance, and much more.  Op-Smart plans to be on 100 more production lines over the next 18 months. Op-Smart has been working with their Launch NY EIR, Al Culliton, since March 2016.

“Launch NY has been extremely helpful in the maturation of the Op-Smart business concept.  Al Culliton, as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence, has acted as a general business mentor as well as an investment advisor.  Op-Smart approached Launch NY with a specific need to refine its product distribution and go to market strategy.  Al was able to facilitate the emergence of a simple, sensible and, most importantly, executable game plan” – Kevin Hagerty, President, Op-Smart.


Upcoming Events

July 20, 2016

#LaunchHour: Meet the New Resources and Leaders in the Upstate NY Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

12:00 – 1:00 PM

July 20, 2016
6 Ways to Hire Smarter
11:30 – 12:45 PM
Amherst, NY

July 20-21, 2016
New York Venture Summit
New York, New York

July 27, 2016
Allstate Minority & Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Open House
8:00 – 10:30 AM
Buffalo, NY

August 2, 2016
App MBA: Mastering the Business of Apps
6:00 – 8:30 PM
Rochester, NY

August 4, 2016
UVANY Day at the Races
Saratoga Springs, NY

August 11, 2016
Southern Tier Startup Alliance Hardware Accelerator Demo Day
Ithaca, NY

August 11, 2016
Startup Drinks
7:00 – 9:00 PM
Rochester, NY

August 15-19, 2016
Upstate NY Tech Tour
Syracuse, NY


#LaunchHour TwitterChat Tips

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

 “Bright Buffalo Niagara Pre-Event Conversation” – June 15, 2016

 Q1. What is the Bright Buffalo Niagara Forum?
A1.  It’s a great event that showcases some of the best and brightest entrepreneurs in the WNY area. Go #Buffalo! #launchhour (@GarrettSmith)
A1. @Bright_Buffalo has evolved into a great event that brings startups and investors together to talk, pitch, and make deals #launchhour (@frankgullo)
A1. It is the #Buffalo #Niagara region’s premier startup forum and networking event. Connections are key. #launchhour (@Invest_BN)
Q4. What sets your company apart?
A4. @inboundmd encompasses everything a #healthcare practices needs in order to successfully market themselves online
A4. #launchhour People pass away… their stories, wisdom, & history are lost with them @TheMemoryFox helps people capture/preserve their history
A4. We provide extremely targeted, relevant, and mortgage specific data to our client #launchhour
Q6. How did you prepare for your pitch tonight?
A6. A lot of focus on the audience and hitting the key points that made @inboundmd standout. Lots of rewrites! #launchhour (@inboundmd)
A6. Practiced in front of mirror, shower, car drive here. It’s tough to pack a pitch in 90 seconds. Should be fun! #launchhour (@Thimbleio)
A6. Lots of work trying to stay away from boring bank talk! #launchhour (@LenderLogix)


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 Ed Bizari
Finger Lakes Region
Ed is an accomplished Sales, Marketing and Business executive with nearly 30 years of global experience working with emerging technologies. Over the course of his career, Ed has held positions with Fortune 500 as well as start-up companies in the areas of software, telecommunications, and health services. He has held executive level positions in the area of sales, marketing, and product management and has a comprehensive understanding of scalable growth and bringing new products and technologies to market. He’s worked in the private as well as government/military sectors, with a significant percentage business conducted in Europe and Asia. For more on Ed and our EIRs, 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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