To grow entrepreneurial ecosystem,

LNY has mentored 1,369 startups

and provided $8.2 million in seed capital

to 80 companies across 27 westernmost counties of Upstate NY

LNY to Commemorate 10th Anniversary at Events

Connecting Local Founders, Investors, Mentors and Partners


Buffalo, N.Y. – Launch NY, the first and only nonprofit venture development organization to provide pro bono mentoring and seed capital access to early-stage startups in the 27 westernmost counties of New York State, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. To commemorate the success of its decade-long effort to develop Upstate New York’s startup ecosystem, Launch NY is planning a series of Founders and Investors Celebration events to further engage and encourage the growing numbers of local founders, investors, mentors and partners.


“When I look back at what was happening—or more importantly, what wasn’t happening—to support entrepreneurs in our region in 2012, I can’t help but marvel at the truly remarkable progress we’ve made on the journey we began ten years ago. By focusing on a high volume of scalable businesses, we are truly transforming our community so that we can be competitive in the innovation economy of the future,” said Launch NY Co-Founder, President, and CEO, Marnie LaVigne, Ph.D., one of the leading women in entrepreneurialism and one of the few women venture fund managers in the country.


“Since inception, Launch NY has mentored nearly 1,400 startup companies and invested $8.2 million in 80 companies as the most active seed funding source by volume of transactions, and even more importantly, we’ve cultivated a strong network of founders, investors, mentors and partners who strengthen and support the regional ecosystem for the future,” said LaVigne. “Today, aspiring entrepreneurs can implement their ideas and innovations to start and grow new businesses right here in Upstate New York, instead of taking their ideas elsewhere or letting them die on the vine as they so often had to do a decade ago.”


In the 10 years since it was founded in October 2012, Launch NY has provided mentorship to 1,369 startup founders, of which 42% have been women and/or BIPOC. Overall, companies supported through Launch NY mentorship have created 4,865 local jobs, raised over $1.1 billion, and generated more than $214 million in revenues. The 80 companies funded through Launch NY’s #InvestLocal programs since its first investment in 2016 have received a total of $8.2 million in seed capital investments, including $4.5 million from its nonprofit Seed Fund, $2.4 million from its for-profit Limited Partner fund, and $1.3 million through its Investor Network. After receiving investments from Launch NY’s Seed Fund, the most active in New York State and one of the most active in the country, portfolio companies have raised an additional $154.4 million in follow-on investments, a 34X impact, and generated nearly $45 million in revenues and 446 jobs.


Additionally, Launch NY has created specialty programs, including the Founders Go Big initiative, which is designed to enhance the engagement of underrepresented, disadvantaged founders in creating high-growth potential businesses, as well as the Emerging Cleantech Opportunity (ECO) Incubator, to support climatech startups with measurable and scalable impacts on energy efficiency, renewable energy, greenhouse gas reduction and overall sustainability goals.


“I have a passion for supporting entrepreneurs in our region, especially expanding access to capital and mentorship, and equalizing access to entrepreneurialism and economic opportunity. That passion stems from being a native of Syracuse, born to immigrant parents who had a small local business. Ultimately it led me to build my first startup in Buffalo after graduating from college, and to my role today leading Buffalo’s first ‘unicorn’,” said George Chamoun, CEO of ACV Auctions and Chairman of Launch NY’s Board of Directors.


“Knowing the challenges of starting and growing a business, I believe that we must provide support to every promising entrepreneur in this community—especially to those in who have been underserved. That’s what Launch NY is all about, assembling the critical resources to give good ideas a pathway to growth for all founders,” said Chamoun. “We have accomplished much in our first 10 years to establish a robust venture development organization, and now it’s time to double-down to ensure an inclusive, sustainable startup ecosystem by growing our seed capital funds and #InvestLocal financing programs, increasing the impact of our well-established mentoring services, and championing underrepresented, under resourced communities to bring them into a world of economic opportunity.”


Launch NY will be celebrating its 10th anniversary with a series of events in its Upstate New York service area through the end of the year, starting June 23rd in Buffalo where it is headquartered, to bring together founders, investors, mentors and partners for celebration, connection and collaboration. “We are deeply committed to continuing our transformational journey and growing, supporting and expanding our region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.” said LaVigne.


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 #InvestLocal 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 1,369 companies, has more than 30 experienced local entrepreneurs-in-residence and its National Mentor Network of 2,000 industry, business and investment experts. Launch NY has mentored companies, including 28% women-led and 28% minority-led startups, which have created 4,865 jobs, attracted over $1.1 billion in co-investment and follow-on capital after joining Launch NY and generated over $214 million in annual revenues.


Launch NY’s #InvestLocal Financing Programs include a nonprofit fund, for-profit limited partner fund and Investor Network. The Investor Network includes opportunities for accredited investors to fund Launch NY portfolio companies of their choice for as little as $10,000 starting with a free sign up to join a community of over 210 members. Those funded by Launch NY’s nonprofit fund, started in 2016, include 80 portfolio companies comprising 29% women-led and 29% minority-led, have created 446 jobs, attracted over $154 million after receiving funding from Launch NY and generated nearly $45 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.


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