Buffalo, N.Y. – Launch NY, the first and only nonprofit venture development organization that provides the 27 westernmost counties in New York with pro bono mentoring and access to seed capital, has awarded its first funding through its Founders Go Big (FGB) program to Anaghe Atelier, a Buffalo-based men’s clothier and online retailer specializing in hand crafted, custom made clothing, including sweat suits, shoes and sneakers. Anaghe Atelier will receive $25,000 from Launch NY’s nonprofit fund.
“Through innovative collaborations, unique designs and intricate workmanship, Anaghe Atelier is proving that businesses don’t need a NYC address to disrupt the fashion industry,” said Marnie LaVigne, Launch NY’s President and CEO. “Our dedicated funding for underserved founders means being able to level the playing field for all innovators in our region to have a shot at growing a scalable business right here in our own backyard.”
Thanks in part to a grant from J.P. Morgan Chase in early 2020, FGB was created to enhance the engagement of underrepresented and underserved founders to pursue high-growth potential businesses that will in turn create more jobs, strengthen the local economy and increase the number of minority and women owned venture backed start-ups.
“Launch NY has created a robust platform for reaching hundreds of companies at any given time and has a proven track record for reaching underrepresented founders in some of our most economically distressed neighborhoods,” said Jeanique Druses, Vice President of Global Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “Now, our partnership to fuel a pathway to high-growth business success is opening doors for even more entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams.”
The first step in for all companies assisted by Launch NY is its Entrepreneur-In-Residence (EIR) program, which offers free individualized coaching using the internationally-recognized Business Model Canvas approach with a goal of helping startups become investment-ready. Anthony Boyd, Founder and CEO of Anaghe Atelier, credits his Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR), Deb O’Shea, with helping him to become better organized and focus on what was important to him. “She reminded me that there’s no rush,” he said, “I’m not running in anyone else’s race, and my success doesn’t have to happen at the same pace as the next guy’s. It’s important to keep everything in perspective.” Additionally, Founders Go Big has added new programming, such as customer discovery workshops, that offer hands-on work and peer-to-peer interactions.
Boyd shared the best insight he’s ever received when it comes to entrepreneurship. “Prepare for failure,” he said. “Know that whatever you try probably isn’t going to work the first time around. You’re going to have to regroup and try again – maybe even a few times – before you get it right. That advice has been invaluable to me as Anaghe Atelier takes each next step. There are no shortcuts, and my EIR’s guidance has put me on the right track.”
Anaghe Atelier, which also offers CAD/CAM design services, as well as sample making for the sewn products industry, will use the investment to hire more employees, which will in turn allow Boyd to complete orders faster and give him the capacity to accept new ones. “I’m often behind the sewing machine, making sure we can meet our clients’ expectations. Thanks to Launch NY and FGB, now I can have more help, which will also allow me to rev up our outreach and production capabilities.”
The impact of the funding will give Buffalo a true Fashion House and blueprint for other talented designers from the East Side of Buffalo seeking to scale, with a goal to create a net that would capture some of the commerce that passes between NYC and Toronto.
About Launch New York
The mission of Launch New York, Inc. (Launch NY), the only U.S. Treasury-designated Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) directly providing venture funding to businesses in New York State, is to identify, support and invest in high-growth, high-impact companies that can transform the local economy and catalyze the entrepreneurial culture in the 27 counties comprising the western half of Upstate New York. Launch NY is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit venture development organization that promotes economic development through best practices, including high-quality pro bono business mentoring, while operating the most active seed fund in New York State that provides access to seed capital as part of an array of Invest Local financing programs designed to facilitate funding for investment-ready companies which have the promise to drive significant economic impact and jobs for our region.
Launch NY is headquartered in Buffalo and has co-locations with partner organizations in Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester and Syracuse. Since 2012, it has served over 1,199 companies, has more than two dozen experienced local entrepreneurs-in-residence and its National Mentor Network of 2,000 industry, business and investment experts. Launch NY mentored companies, including 27% women-led and 26% minority-led startups, that have created 4,346 jobs, attracted over $1.2 billion in co-investment and follow-on capital, and generated over $143 million in annual revenues. Those funded by Launch NY starting in 2016, including 68 portfolio companies comprised of 33% women-led and 27% minority-led, have created 369 jobs, attracted over $69 million, and generated over $14 million in annual revenues. Launch NY also leads the premier Emerging Cleantech Opportunity (ECO) Incubator, one of six designated clean energy incubators sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), as well as the Founders Go Big program, an innovative diversity and inclusion initiative introduced in 2020.