Launch NY Newsletter – March 2017


Launch NY
Vital Startup Guidance for Entrepreneurs 

Launch NY News & Updates Upcoming Events
Launch NY Designated Only US Treasury CDFI Venture Fund in Upstate NY

On March 7th, Launch NY received the prestigious designation of Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) from U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. CDFI Certification is a designation given by the CDFI Fund to specialized organizations that deliver financial solutions in economically underserved areas.

Launch NY is among only sixteen venture financing CDFIs in the country and the only one in Upstate New York. Read more.

Launch NY Leadership News

Congratulations to our board Chairman, George Chamoun, and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Dan Magnuszewski, on completing a $15 million raise for Buffalo based startup ACV Auctions. In September 2016, George, following his co-founder and Executive VP role at Synacor Inc., joined ACV co-founders, Joseph Neiman, Dan Magnuszewski, and Jack Greco, as the online car auction company’s CEO. Founded in 2014, ACV has grown to more than 60 employees and expects to add more than 100 employees over the next year. Read more.
LaunchNY_BusinessFirst Ad_Power250_Updated
We’re also proud to share that Launch NY’s Vice Chairman, Jordan Levy, and President & CEO, Marnie LaVigne, Ph.D., were named to Buffalo Business First’s 2017 Power 250. This annual ranking by the region’s premier business publication highlights the most influential leaders who are making a difference in our community. Thank you Business First for this recognition!

#LaunchHour: There is no map for startups, but there is

Join us this Wednesday, March 15th at noon on #LaunchHour to learn about a new resource tool for startups just introduced by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). StartupGPS is designed around a simple goal: to give startup companies in all industry sectors – not just energy – the information they need to commercialize their business. Our panelists this month include NYSERDA and Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC) Institute. During the hour they will introduce the Pathfinder Survey – a quick 10 minute survey to connect you directly to the resources your startup needs at every stage. Are you ready to start building your team? Pathfinder can connect you to online resources on how to develop new team roles and responsibilities for your growing company. Tune in Wednesday at noon to find out more!

The Angel Capital Group You Probably Didn’t Know About in Your Backyard: Keiretsu Forum

Whether you’re an investor or an entrepreneur, there’s a global network known as Keiretsu Forum with a chapter nearby in Toronto, Ontario. Launch NY’s President & CEO had a chance to attend the last meeting with 100+ attendees, including accredited investors in the room and dozens more tapping in virtually from around the world, along with broad industry representation, all poised to see four local and three internationally broadcasted pitches by companies from all sectors in A or B rounds, usually having already raised $500K to $1.5m, often with revenues, and seeking $500K to $2m in growth capital. With monthly meetings open to members and guests, an upcoming annual signature pitch day in June, and cross-border collaboration efforts, please contact Marnie LaVigne at to learn more about the opportunity to engage with the Keiretsu Forum and its global investment community of 49 chapters founded in the San Francisco East Bay in California in 2000 by Randy Williams.

March 15, 2017

#LaunchHour: There are No Maps for Startups, but there is
12:00 – 1:00 PM

March 15, 2017
315 Genius NY Finals
4:00 – 8:30 PM
Syracuse, NY

March 16, 2017
Tales from the Trenches
5:30 – 7:30 PM
Binghamton, NY

March 16, 2017
Startup Drinks
7:00 – 9:00 PM
Rochester, NY

March 24, 2017
NYS Makers Summit
Albany, NY

March 29, 2017
Equity Splits Negotiation: A Case Study Workshop with Dr. Susan Fleming
4:00 – 7:30 PM
Ithaca, NY

April 12 ,2017

FuzeHub Manufacturers Solutions Forum in the Southern Tier

8:00 – 5:00 PM

Vestal, NY

April 18, 2017

Ithaca College Startup Business Plan Demo Day

5:00 – 7:30 PM

Ithaca, NY


Competition & Funding Deadlines

March 13, 2017

76West Round 2

March 31, 2017

March 31, 2017
StartFast Code

May 1, 2017

Bright Buffalo Niagara Expo

May 24, 2017

43North Year 4

Launch NY Startup Spotlight

Coolture is a Buffalo based Launch NY client that has created cooling vests and accessories based on the science of improving endurance through core body cooling. Coolture has branched from chronic conditions — its early target market — into athletic, wellness, and occupational markets. Coolture products including vests and accessories are aimed at people with heat intolerance due to chronic conditions like multiple coolture_logo_tm_1396496093__44838sclerosis, COPD, heart conditions, and other illnesses — as well as competitive athletes, spectators, and occupational use. All products are currently sewn in Buffalo, NY. This spring will see another milestone reached by Coolture with their release of new cooling gloves as an additional accessory offered to both help people suffering from heat intolerance and other conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

“Launch NY has long shown support of my efforts; both in spirit and in action. There has been concern for my goals and advancement even before becoming involved in their mentor program. This mentorship, through working with Deb O’Shea (assigned Entrepreneur-in-Residence), they have provided not only guidance, but a level of “validation” that is valued by anyone who has walked in entrepreneurial shoes.” – Luanne DiBernardo, Founding President & CEO

#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.

February 15, 2017
#LaunchHour: Student Startup Madness: Meet the National University Competitors

View the whole chat Here.

Panelists included:
Sean Branigan (@StartupMad) – Student Startup Madness
Lindsay Macaluso (@TheMemoryFox) – Memory Fox
Jackie Kroeger (@TheatreGalleria) – Theatre Galleria
Brianna Wolin (@findyourditto) – Find Your Ditto

Q1. What is Student Startup Madness (SSM)? Why did you decide to apply?
A1. SSM is a competition between the top 8 digital collegiate startups in the US at #SXSW2017 #LaunchHour (@findyourditto)
A1. We heard great things about SSM and decided to apply this year after learning about it at NYC Media Lab Conference #LaunchHour (@TheatreGalleria)
A1. Being around other student startups is energizing! Tons of great ideas and creativity #LaunchHour (@TheMemoryFox)

Q8. Any advice for student startups if they are just getting starting?
A8.  There are ENDLESS resources {and non-equity funding} for student startups. Dig around! And always just apply – can’t lose. #LaunchHour (@findyourditto)
A8. Find a mentor, we’re lucky @launchpad_ub and @bxlaunchpad have people always willing to help #LaunchHour (@TheMemoryFox)
A8. Maintain willingness to know customers and problem better. Experiment, iterate, refine. #LauchHour (@TheatreGalleria)

View our full chat on Here or our entire archive.


Upstate NY Resource Network
Check it out here >

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 Holly Hillberg

H HillbergWith more than 35 years of experience, Holly’s background in global business leadership includes companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Carestream Health, and Eastman Kodak.  Over the years, Holly has held a broad range of pivotal 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 markets ranging from medical devices to commercial and consumer business products. Of special note is Holly’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.


Learn more about Holly and our other EIRs by visiting,