April 14, 2021

Launch NY’s Seed Funds Fuel Six Companies with $420,000 in Q1

Buffalo, N.Y. – Launch NY, Upstate New York’s first and only venture development organization to provide pro bono mentoring and the most active seed fund in New York State to high-growth startups across the 27 westernmost counties of the state, announced its Q1 investments from its nonprofit Seed Fund and for-profit LP Fund, which totaled $420,000 across six companies, bringing the total investment from these funds since inception to over $3.5MM in 69 companies from the nonprofit fund and over $1.4MM in 43 companies from the for profit fund. The Q1 investments span industry sectors from cybersecurity, health IT, hardware, and cleantech to consumer products.

As Women’s History Month wrapped up, Launch NY marked its final investment of the quarter with funding for woman-founded braidbabes, a Buffalo-based company providing mobile hair braiding services targeted to events that have expanded to Buffalo and most recently Nashville, Tennessee, one of the most popular destinations in the country for bachelorette parties.

First quarter funding through Launch NY’s #InvestLocal Financing Programs was also punctuated with rounds involving capital from strategic investors. As recently announced, in Q1 Launch NY’s Investor Network closed on $275,000 in Circuit Clinical’s $7.5MM raise alongside investment from strategic partner LabCorp. Launch NY portfolio company, Iterate Labs, raised more than $1 million including follow-on from Launch NY in a seed round funding led by Monozukuri Ventures and co-investor Tyson Ventures, Tyson Foods Inc.’s venture capital division.

“The momentum in our entrepreneurial ecosystem across nearly every type of company is inspiring investors of all kinds to jump into our portfolio companies.” said Marnie LaVigne Ph.D., President and CEO of Launch NY. “We’re gratified to be able to be among the first investors backing these innovative entrepreneurs to help them grow and ultimately attract others, including individuals through our Investor Network all the way to strategic venture capital.”

Launch NY highlights the following companies that received initial investments of $335,000 through its nonprofit Seed Fund and for nonprofit Seed Fund and for profit LP Fund:

  • Azuna, co-led with an ACV Auctions co-founder, this Buffalo-based company provides a plant-based alternative to odor elimination that is long-lasting.
  • braidbabes, a Buffalo-based mobile braiding company that specializes in boho braids for events and bridal parties.
  • CYRISMA, (formally known as Data Spotlight) a Rochester-based SaaS company with a revolutionary platform that helps organizations manage risk without the usual headaches associated with enterprise cybersecurity.
  • Feedback Solutions, a Launch NY Emerging Cleantech Opportunity (ECO) Incubator company recently expanded to Buffalo from Ontario, Canada that provides ventilation optimization solution using ingenious sensor technology.

And follow-on investments of $85,000 total from the nonprofit Seed Fund and for profit LP Fund in these existing portfolio companies:

  • Iterate Labs, an Ithaca-based company that has developed the first AI-powered Internet of Things (IoT) platform that digitizes human motion into precise, actionable, data-driven insights designed to be “a game changer driving real-time visibility, safety, and productivity for the North American manufacturing workforce.”
  • Patient Pattern is a Buffalo-based digital health company that has developed Frailty risk assessment and clinical decision support software for health professionals and risk-bearing entities caring for individuals with chronic and advanced illnesses.

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.

 

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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 1,190 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 4,333 jobs, attracted over $817 million in co-investment and follow-on capital, and generated over $115 million in annual revenues. Those funded by Launch NY starting in 2016, including 69 portfolio companies comprised of 33% women-led and 28% minority-led, have created 364 jobs, attracted over $65.8 million, and generated over $14.5 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.