AireXpert joins CAHill TECH and Arbol in LNY Underrepresented Founder Round

With Reduced Minimum Investment of $5,000 Extended

Buffalo, N.Y., August 29, 2022 – Launch NY added a third diverse-founded startup company to its current round of Investor Network deals featuring underrepresented founders.

AireXpert, a Black-founded startup based in Buffalo, NY, is a digital platform which facilitates workflow and communications for the global aircraft maintenance industry. The system, which includes mobile and web interfaces, enables airlines to control and manage unscheduled aircraft maintenance in a manner which significantly reduces potential for flight delays or cancellations. AireXpert optimizes aircraft maintenance operations with real-time collaboration, event-driven data, and a single source of truth for technical, engineering, and management teams.

In February, Launch NY provided a total of $125,000 in seed funding to AireXpert—$75,000 from its nonprofit Seed Fund, and $50,000 from its for profit Limited Partner (LP) Fund—the largest funding to date for a first investment in a company. Now the company, its due diligence files, and Meet the Founder Webinar being hosted on Wednesday, August 31st at 12pm are available to accredited investors who want to #InvestLocal through Launch NY’s Investor Network, available through a no cost, no-obligation-to-invest membership sign up.

AireXpert founder, Andy Hakes, has been entrenched in the airline industry for 30 years in maintenance and technical roles. He is respected within the industry for his views and expert commentary on global aircraft maintenance issues.

Black and women founders together receive less than 3% of the venture capital deployed in the United States annually, but Launch NY is seeking to buck that trend by featuring underrepresented founder-led portfolio companies on a special round of featured deals on its Investor Network. This #InvestLocal financing program is the only online investor platform dedicated to hosting local startup investment opportunities to more than 230 accredited investors who can invest – for the first time – as little as $5,000 in companies they choose, reduced on a time-limited basis from the usual $10,000. Since its first investments in 2020, Launch NY’s Investor Network has provided nearly $1.3 million in funding to 11
Upstate New York startup companies in 13 transactions.

Launch NY has had a longstanding commitment to underrepresented founders by funding well above the national venture capital averages in the low single digits such that the Launch NY portfolio comprises 28% women-led and 28% BIPOC-led, which together represent 42% of the companies. This DEI round of investment opportunities also builds upon Launch NY’s award-winning DEI program, Founders Go Big that started in 2020 through support from JPMorgan Chase.

There are now three startup companies led by underrepresented founders – including Black, Latino and woman founded companies – on Launch NY’s Investor Network online platform.


Arbol: Democratizing opportunity by breaking barriers in education, making a more equitable world for everyone.

Arbol is helping low-income students stay in school and graduate. Arbol helps students in need pay for non-tuition expenses by providing them with recurring micro-grants and connecting them to a community of mentors and supporters.

Arbol earns a 12% management fee on all donations, with 88% of contributions going directly towards the students. By comparison, about 25% of all contributions made to nonprofits are spent on overhead costs. Arbol plans additional future revenue streams from debit cards, a student rewards program, and bridge financing for college students. Arbol was founded by a diverse team of first-generation Latino college graduates:

• David Gonzalez – Co-founder & Co-CEO. Former COO at 43N startup Kangarootime. Former VP, Innovation at M&T Bank. MBA, Canisius College. 10+ years of professional experience across marketing, product, operations and finance.
• Favio Osorio – Co-founder & Co-CEO. Founding member of M&T Bank’s Multicultural Banking. MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. 10+ years of professional experience across wealth financial planning, project management, business analytics and strategy.

CAHill TECH: Modernizing construction safety training for the non-desk field worker.

CAHill TECH’s mobile and web-friendly app prepares, trains, tests, and measures workforce readiness for the construction worker, enabling them to feel safer, more prepared, and more efficient on the job site. Business owners get their new hires working more quickly, increasing ROI and enabling the team to take on more projects faster. By increasing worker engagement, there is proven risk reduction and compliance protection. CAHill improves job readiness for the NextGen, modernizing mentor/protégé relationships for non-desk workers.

CAHill TECH was founded by one of the few women leaders in the construction industry.
Carley Hill – 15+ years’ experience in family-owned heavy construction business. Former Labor Relations Director at Associated General Contractors of NYS. Executive MBA Graduate, University at Buffalo School of Management. Sits on National infrastructure and construction boards. Recent winner of Ignite Award of Women’s Business Center at Canisius College, National Innovation Award from Associated General Contractors of America, and Top 10 Innovations in Construction Tech at the Insight Success conference.

Launch NY’s Investor Network is designed to work in tandem with its nonprofit Seed Fund and for profit Limited Partner Fund, which are the most active seed funding sources in New York State and among the most active in the country funding on average 2-4 companies each month. Through its digital platform, Launch NY can also help match investors with companies that align to their interests, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), industry sector and geographic location, so they can mentor as well as fund startups of their choosing.

“At a time when it’s so important to lift up our community, we know investors, just like our organization, want to connect with opportunities to support all startups, but especially those who are typically overlooked by the usual sources of venture capital in our region,” said Marnie LaVigne, President and CEO of Launch NY. Our Investor Network provides a one-of-kind platform to make it easy, especially now with our reduced minimum investment of $5,000 that makes the #investlocal effort convenient and affordable.”

230 accredited investors have already joined the Investor Network through a no cost, no obligation-to-invest sign up, and more than thirty have already participated in direct investments of companies of their choice with Launch NY providing the rest of the support and management of the transaction.
Investor Network members can invest as little as $5,000 all the way up to six-figures in any or all of our next three deals. Launch NY is continuing to waive its membership fee until it reaches its target of 300 total investors for its beta phase in the coming months. Accredited investors can find out more about Launch NY’s Investor Network and take advantage of its no cost, no-obligation-to-invest sign up on its website at Investor Network – Launch NY.

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 1,403 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 4,881 jobs, attracted over $1.2 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 starting with a free sign up to join a community of over 211 members. Those funded by Launch NY’s nonprofit fund, started in 2016, include 83 portfolio companies comprising 28% women-led and 30% minority-led, have created 461 jobs, attracted over $157 million after receiving funding from Launch NY and generated nearly $47 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.

To learn more, visit