Edenesque CEO moves headquarters to Buffalo following support from Launch NY

Launch NY invests $175K in plant-based dairy startup as it relaunches in 100+ retail stores

Edenesque, a Black woman-led company, plans to build team at Buffalo HQ

Buffalo, NY – Launch NY is pleased to announce it has invested $175,000 into Edenesque, a plant-based dairy startup company that is moving from the Hudson Valley to Buffalo. Additionally, the company will be featured in the coming weeks on Launch NY’s Investor Network, giving its 320 members a chance to inject even more growth capital into the company.

Edenesque is led by founder and CEO Leslie Woodward, a Black woman who developed the company after spending more than 20 years as a chef in New York City, where she trained at Restaurant Daniel, was executive chef at Columbia University’s President’s House and then worked privately for high-net worth individuals.

Woodward and her company’s HQ have both relocated to Buffalo, where the company will be closer to its new contract manufacturing partner, Steuben Foods, and its main distribution partner, Sonwil Logistics. Edenesque’s chef-crafted, plant-based dairy products provide uniquely superior nutrition to enable its customers to thrive and Be the Love™ — nourishing themselves, their communities, the environment, and their local economy.

Launch NY is the most active seed funder in New York state based on the volume of investments made into startups from its InvestLocal financing programs. The Edenesque investment includes $75,000 from Launch NY’s nonprofit seed fund and $100,000 from its new for-profit LP Fund II, including $50,000 from the NY Ventures State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), which matches against Launch NY’s LP Fund II investment vehicle.

“Launch NY’s mission is to drive inclusive economic prosperity, so we are extremely proud to be adding yet another underrepresented founder to our portfolio, as Leslie moves her headquarters to Buffalo and embarks on plans for significant growth,” said Marnie LaVigne, Ph.D., president and CEO of Launch NY. “This is a huge win for our region as it will bring high-quality jobs to Buffalo, increase its diversity of startup founders and support a health-conscious product that is good for our bodies and the environment.”

Launch NY’s involvement with Edenesque started with its Founders Go Big program, which engages startup founders from underrepresented communities and provides them with mentorship, business resources, and investment. Given the startling data showing that less than .5% of venture capital invested in the U.S. last year went to Black, women founders, Launch NY’s leadership is critical in serving the capital access need among startups that are positioned to revitalize our economy. Founders Go Big has become a pillar of Launch NY’s dedication to racial and gender diversity in entrepreneurship in the Upstate New York innovation economy.

Founded in 2014, Edenesque takes aim at the disconnect between marketing and reality with most plant-based milks, which are typically just 2% nuts and filled with non-natural thickeners and stabilizers. Edenesque’s almond and oat milks are gluten-free, vegan and bring a unique combination of nutrient density and flavor, with no thickeners or stabilizers. The company’s mission starts with a belief that love is actionable, and Edenesque is committing to inspiring people to love themselves, their community, the environment and the local economy.

Based on increasing demand for the product, Edenesque made the decision last year to shift manufacturing to a contract partner that could handle larger orders. The company is sold in retail stories throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan, has a presence in corporate offices such as Calvin Klein and Estée Lauder, and is sold at restaurants and cafes in New York City.

Edenesque products will hit the shelves at Whole Foods this summer, and it is planning a marketing blitz that coincides with its reemergence on the market. The company will also commence sales and marketing efforts with Western New York retailers and cafe/restaurant owners. Edenesque is planning on building an employee base in Buffalo, with immediate needs for a chief of staff and sales personnel. Edenesque is also participating in the University at Buffalo’s Cultivator accelerator program.

Edenesque’s goal is to be a $15 million company within five years.

“There is tremendous consumer demand in the non-dairy CPG market right now, and Edenesque has a unique opportunity to present a product that lives up to customer expectations in both nutrition and taste,” Woodward said. “We are absolutely thrilled to enact this vision in our new hometown of Buffalo. Launch NY’s investment and mentorship have been essential in turning this vision into a reality.”




About Launch NY: Launch NY is the only nonprofit venture development organization and U.S. Treasury-designated Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that serves and directly funds startups in Upstate New York. The core mission of Launch NY is to identify, support and invest in high‐growth, high‐impact companies and to catalyze the entrepreneurial culture of Upstate New York through regional collaboration with ecosystem partners. Since its inception in 2012, Launch NY has served more than 1,600 companies which have gone on to raise more than $1.4 billion, generate more than $250 million in annual revenues and supporting more than 5,100 jobs. Launch NY delivers its mission via mentorship and capital access programs, starting with pro bono mentoring through its Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, Founders Go Big program for underrepresented and underserved founders, and Emerging Cleantech Opportunity (ECO) Incubator. These programs prepare entrepreneurs for investment capital from multiple sources, including Launch NY’s InvestLocal Financing Programs comprised of nonprofit and for-profit investment funds, and Investor Network deals marketplace that features hundreds of accredited investors. Through these vehicles, Launch NY is the most active seed investor in New York state and has been ranked among the top 5 nonprofit seed funds in the country.

For more information about Launch NY, its programs, and other entrepreneurial opportunities, visit www.launchny.org, and follow Launch NY on Facebook , Twitter and LinkedIn.