Buffalo, N.Y., January 25, 2021 – In a year unlike any other, Launch NY followed the lead of the resilient startup companies it serves by hitting several significant milestones in 2020. Most notably, it engaged over 175 investors to deliver $2.23 million to 32 companies through its #InvestLocal community, a move that pushed the venture development organization to over $5 million in lifetime investments.
“On March 13, 2020 – not even at the end of Q1 – life as we knew it changed overnight due to the pandemic,” said Dr. Marnie LaVigne, President and CEO of Launch NY. “While other entrepreneurial programs, dependent on in person events and incubator facilities, were put on hold, our regional delivery of services and funding that already leveraged remote communications quickly grew to fully virtual interactions.”
Launch NY, the first and only nonprofit venture development organization that provides the 27 westernmost counties in New York pro bono mentoring, helped companies access COVID-relief financing programs, and critical and unique seed funding programs. LaVigne said both grew because the investment community rallied to help fuel companies solving new market needs while driving jobs to counter the devastating hit to the local economy.
Launch NY’s #InvestLocal Financing Programs were built around Launch NY’s Nonprofit Seed Fund, the most active in New York State and one of the most active in the country. It was designed to catalyze startups with the little publicized, but crucial “first money in,” typically ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. Even with a stalled regional and national economy, these programs grew dramatically in 2020. Some highlights include:
- $2.23 million – Total funding invested from Launch NY’s #InvestLocal Financing Programs last year, which more than doubled the investment capital to a total of $4.9 million to 65 startups since 2016.
- 32 – Number of companies funded by Launch NY’s #InvestLocal Financing Programs in 2020. Details include:
- 29 companies from Launch NY’s Nonprofit Seed Fund through 30 transactions (16 new, 14 follow-on) totaling $872,500 compared to $855,000 in 2019 and $762,500 in 2018.
- 29 companies from Launch NY’s LP Fund through 30 transactions (21 new, nine follow-on) totaling $922,500 compared to $305,000 in 2019 when the Fund made its first investment. The LP Fund is Launch NY’s first for profit financing program that raised $5.4 million, exceeding its $5 million target in September, with over 70 limited partners.
- Five companies through Launch NY’s new Investor Network raised $435,000 in its inaugural year for Launch NY portfolio companies, including the first Qualified Opportunity Fund of its kind in 3AM Innovations LLC. The Investor Network includes 108 accredited investors who can fund individual companies of their choice starting at $10,000.
- 65 – Total number of portfolio companies funded by Launch NY’s #InvestLocal Financing Programs to date. This represents an increase from 49 companies in 2019. These companies, comprised of , fueled 284 jobs, attracted over $65.8 million in co-investment and follow-on capital, and generated more than $7.9 million in annual revenues.
- The portfolio companies are among 1,168 startups mentored by Launch NY since 2012, comprised of 41% women and/or minority-led companies, fueled 4,094 jobs, attracted over $813 million in co-investment and follow-on capital, and generated more than $115 million in annual revenues.
Companies who received seed capital from Launch NY’s #InvestLocal Financing Programs in 2020 included:
Western New York:
- 3AM Innovations LLC
- Aviate Audio
- BetterMynd, Inc.
- CAHill Tech, Inc.
- Circuit Clinical Solutions, Inc.
- EagleHawk One, Inc.
- GCLIP Row, Inc.
- GRASPIE, Inc.
- Jeca Bar
- MemoryFox LLC
- Ru’s Pierogi
- Walkabout Collaborative LLC
- Agape App Inc.
- Casana Care, Inc. (formerly Heart Health Intelligence)
- Coastal Innovations LLC
- Eat Me Ice Cream LLC
- Gian Corporation
- Paradigm of NY LLC
- Prolivio, Inc.
- Re-Nuble, Inc.
- SunDensity, Inc
- The Perfect Granola LLC
- VPG Medical, Inc.
- CathBuddy, Inc.
- Promptous, Inc.
- Dimensional Energy, Inc.
- Ecolectro, Inc.
- Ellicottville Greens LLC
- Exotanium Inc.
- Iterate Labs, Inc. (formerly OrthoFit)
Reflecting on 2020’s accomplishments, LaVigne said, “At a time when the only predictable thing was unpredictability, we’re celebrating the adaptability and perseverance of our regional economic community who worked hand-in-hand with our team to keep driving forward our mission of inclusive economic prosperity through high-growth entrepreneurship. I am confident that we’ll see this same resilience, collaborative spirit and positive impact in 2021.”