Welcome to Launch NY.
Notice how the green and blue logo is comprised of a series of boxes that form the telling “up” arrow? The blue stands for management, and the green for money. The boxes are the 27 counties in its geographical area, whose largest cities consist of Buffalo on the west, Rochester on the center, Syracuse on the east, and then south toward Binghamton and also Ithaca. Key here is that it is the area of central and western New York State.
John Seman is the CEO of Launch NY, which is a non-profit venture development corporation. He recently left Boston, Massachusetts, and now lives in the city of Buffalo, not too far from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. His goal is to lead the organization, which is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs across upstate New York State grow their businesses with an infusion of capital and management expertise.
Mr. Seman was kind enough to share with us what is happening with Launch NY at the monthly Commercialization Lecture Series at the Center of Excellence for Bioinformatics and Life Sciences in the heart of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus here in downtown Buffalo. I blog about these activities because I see the Life Sciences sector continuing to grow and helping Buffalo to rise. I believe the jobs created here are real, and will last decades.
How is Buffalo like Boston?
Mr. Seman explained that Boston was a high tech hub at one point, but then it descended around the time that Silicon Valley ascended. So Boston concentrated on rising again with the Biotech sector. They succeeded, but it took them about 20 years. Now Buffalo is rising with its focus on the Life Sciences sector.
How is Buffalo’s collaboration bigger than Chicago, or even Los Angeles?
Well, the Los Angeles area has around 3.8 million folks. Chicago has around 2.7 million folks. By leveraging the resources of Buffalo and the four other central/western New York State cities, the folks in the area of Launch NY number over 4 million. So this initiative has more folks in the Launch NY region than in Los Angeles, or in Chicago. (This sounds to me like the LaunchNY team thus gives Buffalo’s collaboration a significant edge over what Chicago or Los Angeles has to offer)
How does Buffalo overcome the Valley of Death?
The goal of Launch NY is to support early-stage startups in our western/central NY state region. Mr. Seman mentioned five steps of startups:
4. Market Entry
5. Growth and Sustainability
The Valley of Death happens between step 1, Imagining, and step 3, Demonstrating. The Valley of Death is the area where most startups fail. Buffalo has been identified as needing assistance in getting better in this crucial segment of startups. The biggest reasons for startup failure have been identified as a lack of:
3. Entrepreneurial Talent
From what Mr. Seman has shared, I understand that LaunchNY looks to unite the upstate New York region, and with networking, connecting and leveraging this area, these weaknesses will be overcome.
I can even think of an example to demonstrate how this could work: Say Buffalo needs help in three opportunities that it doesn’t have the resources to handle itself. Opportunity 1 might be solved by someone in Irondequoit, opportunity 2 in Skaneateles, and opportunity 3 in Corning. So, in this example all four regions come together to solve Buffalo’s complex problem, even though the opportunity exists in Buffalo. Plus if these regions need help with a project that they can’t handle themselves, Buffalo may be able to assist in kind. I think this model also sounds similar to how problems are often solved in Silicon Valley in California, or Silicon Alley in New York City.
What’s coming up next for LaunchNY?
Mr Seman mentioned:
1. Building collaborative relationships in our Launch NY area.
2. Identifying opportunities to complement existing programs for entrepreneurs.
3. Creating new innovative programs to help startups and emerging companies succeed.
4. Pursuing sources of funding that allow for direct investments in emerging companies.
Buffalo Rising reader… Please share with us anything that the Buffalo region might be able to assist the regions of Rochester, Syracuse, Binghampton and Ithaca.