CDFI Fund Awards Launch NY in Funding for 4th Consecutive Year

Buffalo, N.Y., September 30, 2020 – For the fourth year in a row, Launch New York (Launch NY), Upstate New York’s first and only venture development organization to provide pro bono mentoring and capital access to high-growth startups across the 27 westernmost counties of the state, was awarded funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund.

This year’s $375,000 CDFI Fund award to Launch NY, one of 950 in the country receiving a total of $204.1 million, is allocated for Launch NY’s nonprofit Seed Fund. The Seed Fund is designed to support investments in startups in what is known as an “evergreen cycle,” which recycles returns to the fund to continue providing capital to new ventures in the future. The Fund is fueled by grants and donations, and it provides $25,000 to $100,000 in investment capital to companies who meet Launch NY’s criteria.

Launch NY received $225,000 last year from the CDFI Fund, and $168,000 in each of the two previous years, after receiving the prestigious CDFI Certification from U.S. Department of the Treasury in 2017, which is a designation given by the CDFI Fund to specialized organizations that deliver financial solutions in economically underserved areas. These awards have facilitated Launch NY building the most active seed fund in New York State and one of the most active in the country investing in 2-4 Upstate NY companies per month.

“Since 2016, Launch NY has invested over $3 million in 61 of Upstate New York’s most promising startups,” said Dr. Marnie LaVigne, Launch NY’s President and CEO. “We have seen our portfolio companies create over 275 jobs and attract more than $61.8 million in co-investment and follow-on capital. With over 72% of our portfolio companies located in low income and economically distressed communities and over 45% in women and/or minority led companies, it is gratifying to see that we’re achieving our mission of inclusive economic prosperity where it is needed most.”

Recipients of the Seed Fund include high-growth potential companies who have worked with Launch NY’s mentors, known as Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, in order to prepare for Launch NY’s rigorous investment process that not only helps entrepreneurs achieve key milestones in their business, but also to position them for follow-on funding from other investors.

“Small businesses created by Americans with a dream of serving their community are the lifeblood of our nation,” Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) said. “While we deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are excited to look to the future with another round of federal funding to support the great work done by Launch NY in helping local Upstate New York businesses get on their feet.”

“This exciting award will help foster the ongoing growth and expansion of Rochester’s business economy at a time when it is crucially needed,” said Congressman Joe Morelle of NY’s 25th district. “Since their inception, Launch NY has been a leader and a crucial asset in helping innovative start-up ventures in our community learn and thrive. I am grateful for their partnership and dedicated efforts to strengthening our region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and I look forward to their continued success.”

“Since its founding, Launch NY has been instrumental in growing Upstate businesses and economies, and this funding will help them continue that important work as we continue to rebuild from COVID-19. New York State is home to the best and brightest entrepreneurs in the nation, and I know Launch NY will continue to give hardworking New Yorkers the boost they need to get their businesses off the ground,” said Congressman Anthony Brindisi of New York’s 22nd district.

“We were proud to support the CDFI Fund award for Launch NY Inc,” said Rep. Tom Reed, Congressman of the NY-23rd district. “We care about getting our businesses and the organizations that help them succeed the resources they need to thrive. By increasing access to economic development and financial services, we can ensure our communities, local employers, and working families will flourish.”

“I was proud to support this funding opportunity for Launch NY through the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund,” said Rep. John Katko, Congressman of the NY-24th district. “This award will enable Launch NY to provide high-growth startups in Central New York with access to capital, mentoring services, and additional critical resources with a specific focus on spurring economic growth in economically distressed areas. With an eager workforce, proximity to several international airports, and access to many universities, colleges, and technical training facilities, Central New York is ripe for investment. I am confident this award will have a significant impact on the economic growth in our region.”

In 2019, Launch NY premiered its Invest Local Financing Programs, designed to work in tandem to maximize investment potential. Launch NY’s for profit Limited Partner Fund invests alongside Launch NY’s nonprofit fund in seed stage startups building the new economy, while targeting industry standard financial returns for investors. The Invest Local financing programs offer donation and returns-based investment opportunities for accredited investors looking to make an impact on the Upstate New York entrepreneurial ecosystem and help transform the regional economy.

“The CDFI dollars are critical in helping us attract private investors to support these companies as well. In fact, we’ve had over 150 co-investors to date bringing seventeen times our funding into startups in our own backyard. With our Invest Local Financing Programs, including LP Fund, Investor Network, and Opportunity Funds, we’re creating incredible leverage on the CDFI Fund support and growing access to capital to support startups in unprecedented ways,” said Marnie LaVigne, Ph.D. President and CEO of Launch NY.

For accredited investors who want to learn how they can #InvestLocal in the hundreds of innovative startups, they can learn more about the Investor Network that affords individual company investment opportunities for as little as $10,000 per company and sign up for free during the pilot period at

For more information about Launch NY, its programs and other entrepreneurial opportunities, visit its newly-redesigned website at, and follow Launch NY on its Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.