Launch NY Q2 investments include three local companies

Launch NY invested some $385,000 across nine companies during the second quarter, the venture development organization said this week.

The investments were from both its nonprofit Seed Fund and for-profit LP Fund and helped advance three Rochester firms.

Eat Me Ice Cream LLC produces plant-based frozen desserts in savory, smoky and tropical flavors. Its core values include creativity and imagination, taste experiences and awareness through connection, sustainable environments/food systems/future of food/eco-packaging, women empowerment and cross-cultural experiences.

Paradigm manufactures devices, both for the retrofit and original equipment manufacturing markets, which reduce pollution in gasoline and diesel engines, resulting in substantial reductions in fuel and maintenance costs while improving engine uptime.

The Perfect Granola LLC is a granola manufacturer with a social purpose: sharing a portion of its profits with charities, and administering a student mentorship program. The Perfect Granola is distributed in Wegmans Food Markets Inc., Walmart, Hannaford, ShopRite, Tops Markets and many other retailers, as well as in New York state school lunches.

“Our region’s greatest resource is its brainpower,” said Launch NY President and CEO Marnie LaVigne in a statement. “Even amidst a global pandemic, we still had significant activity across all of our #InvestLocal platforms. Inventors kept innovating, entrepreneurs kept creating and investors kept supporting. I couldn’t be more proud of these fearless and formidable changemakers.”

Based in Buffalo, Launch NY is Upstate New York’s 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.

The LaunchNY Nonprofit Seed Fund LLC began in 2016 and is designed to provide $25,000 to $100,000 in investment capital to companies that meet Launch NY’s criteria. It has been supported by grants and donations from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation and U.S. Department of Treasury CDFI Fund, among dozens of individual and organizational funders, and has invested more than $3 million in startups to date. Fueled by grants and donations, all returns come back to this nonprofit fund to support investments in future startups in what is known as an “evergreen cycle.”

Launch NY’s for-profit Limited Partner Fund debuted in 2019 and is designed to co-invest alongside Launch NY’s nonprofit Seed Fund, ultimately doubling the capital available for Launch NY client companies. These financing programs are offered through Launch NY’s #InvestLocal platform, which also supports deal-by-deal investments from accredited investors into the portfolio companies through its no cost sign up, deal-by-deal Investor Network, also offering Qualified Opportunity Funds with special tax incentives for investments in eligible businesses in the designated low-income Opportunity Zones.

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Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Rochester company selected as 76West Competition semifinalist

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has selected 20 semifinalists as part of its annual 76West Clean Energy Competition, including one Rochester organization.

In the Finger Lakes Region, Paradigm of New York was one of the companies chosen among 183 applicants worldwide. Paradigm designs and manufactures pollution control devices for diesel and gasoline engines.

The 76West Competition celebrates emerging clean energy innovation while supporting business and economic growth as one of the largest competitions in the U.S.

“This year’s 76West semifinalists have brought forward a wide range of innovative clean energy technologies that can help New York scale up its progress with meeting our nation-leading climate and clean energy goals established by Gov. Cuomo,” said NYSERDA Acting President and CEO Doreen Harris. “This competition sets the semifinalists up for success through mentoring opportunities with Southern Tier companies as they advance their proposals. Clean energy innovation will continue to be a critical ingredient for tackling some of our nation’s most pressing environmental and clean energy challenges.”

Administered by NYSERDA, the 76West Competition was started in 2016 as a $20 million four-year initiative to grow the clean energy ecosystem in the Southern Tier with funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Clean Energy Fund. Because of its positive impact, the competition this year is being funded by Empire State Development through the Southern Tier Soaring Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

The 20 semifinalists represent a range of clean energy companies focused on energy storage, efficiency, transportation and more. Each company will be paired with a local company for mentorship and advisement on advancing through the competition. The semifinalists will present their final pitches to a panel of judges the week of Aug. 17 at a virtual session hosted by the Southern Tier Startup Alliance.

The judges will then select four winners who will be awarded a total of $2.5 million in funding this fall. The grand prize will be $1 million, while three others will receive funding of $500,000 each.

As a result of NYSERDA’s technology investments and business development support, more than 440 new and improved clean energy products have been commercialized, officials said.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer