Launch NY Receives $100,000 Investment from JPMorgan Chase To Advance “Founders Go Big” Program for Underserved Entrepreneurs

Buffalo, N.Y., December 5, 2022 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, has received a $100,000 investment from JPMorgan Chase (JPMC) to advance its Founders Go Big program.


Established in 2020 with a $300,000 grant from JPMC, the Founders Go Big program was designed to expand access to mentorship and equity capital for underserved, underrepresented entrepreneurs. Among the hundreds of startups it supports each year, Launch NY provides enhanced mentorship, customer discovery, and other programming services to 66 Founders Go Big companies, and it and has invested $745,000 in eight of those companies. Currently, Founders Go Big companies have 83 employees and nearly $5.7 million in revenues.


The investment from JPMC will enable Launch NY to build on lessons learned and opportunities identified during the first two years of the Founders Go Big program, which will be discussed in great detail in a Founders Go Big whitepaper scheduled for release in the New Year. “From the beginning, we knew that historic challenges to diversity persist in the startup ecosystem, especially accessing and utilizing mentorship and equity capital,” explained Crystal Wallace, Program Manager of Launch NY’s Founders Go Big program. “But over the past two years, we’ve made a number of discoveries that challenged our initial intentions and expectations. To be effective, we need to meet founders where they are, and not expect them to be where we want them to be. We need to allow extra time to create trust and buy-in. We need to show, not tell. And we need to show them others with whom they can identify.”


“Founders Go Big and endeavors like it require a long-term commitment to building a truly inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. We hope that the progress we’ve made will motivate others to join us on this challenging, yet important and rewarding journey, whether directly providing resources and programming to founders or supporting those who do.


“We’ve historically served about 40% minority- and/or women-led companies, so we are incredibly grateful that JPMorgan Chase recognizes the importance of doing even more to support underrepresented founders. We welcome others to join their lead as well, because we know we have only scratched the surface on what will require long terms support and culture change to be sure our entire community is participating in the economic renaissance happening through entrepreneurship,” said Marnie LaVigne, Ph.D., President and CEO of Launch NY.


“At JPMorgan Chase we are focused on inclusive economic growth,” said Jeanique Riche-Druses, Vice President in Global Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “We recognize that there are entrepreneurs out there with much promise but with limited access to the resources they need to grow their businesses. That is why we are glad to support Launch NY as they develop methods to connect low-wealth entrepreneurs to equity investments that position them to successfully compete for the follow-on investments needed to take their businesses to scale.”


For more information about Launch NY, or to obtain a copy of our Founders Go Big whitepaper, email Crystal Wallace at For programs and other entrepreneurial opportunities, visit its website at, and follow Launch NY on its Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages.


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 1,420 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 4,916 jobs, attracted nearly $1.25 billion in co-investment and follow-on capital after joining Launch NY and generated $228 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 starting with a free sign up to join a community of over 211 members. To date, Launch NY has invested nearly $9.35 million in 85 startup companies that have created 498 jobs, attracted over $157 million in follow-on funding, and generated $60 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.

For more information about Launch NY, its programs, and other entrepreneurial opportunities, visit, and follow Launch NY on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.


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