Upstate  New  York  A  Year  Later 

A year ago I spent two days in Upstate New York meeting with a bunch of folks working in and around the entrepreneurial community at the request of my long time friend Martin Babinec and his partner Nasir Ali. I wrote a summary post titled Two Days of Entrepreneurial Community Building In Upstate New York.

Today I noticed a post titled Early spring for Upstate NY entrepreneurs on the StartFast Venture Accelerator site (Martin and Nasir’s accelerator that is a member of the Global Accelerator Network.) I thought it was a good summary of what’s going on right now in the region and asked if I could republish it. The post follows!


2012 is shaping up to be a great year for our entrepreneurs with lots of events to attend and successes to celebrate.

EXITS:  Hot on the heels of recent exits for Sensis (Syracuse), Kionix (Ithaca), and Paetec(Rochester), Buffalo-based Synacor debuted on the NASDAQ this past week, creating liquidity for two of the region’s early stage investors: Rand Capital and Advantage Capital.

FINANCINGS:  The Seed Capital Fund of CNY (a StartFast investor) reports that four portfolio companies are expected to close about $7MM in new funding this quarter.  In addition to SCF, participating investors include Cayuga Venture Fund, Rand Capital, Eastern NY Angels and several out of state angels/VCs.

STARTUP WEEKENDS:  Last November’s sold out events in Ithaca and Syracuse showed just how much talent is locked up in our region and the many serial entrepreneurs who are ready to mentor a new generation of startups.  This year promises at least four to six more such events, beginning with Albany in March and Rochester in April.

MEETUPS: Just a year after its launch, the Syracuse Tech Meetup group continues to grow in size and popularity, drawing hundreds of attendees.  The next meetup is February 28 and offers startups a chance to meet organizers and mentors from the StartFast and Student Sandbox accelerators.

Subscribe to the Upstate Venture Connect calendar via RSS to stay in the loop on future events.

  • Thanks Brad! Your trip made a big difference as does your support for StartFast. We are now accepting applications at

  • Anecdotal stuff: This past week I sat with John Liddy (EIR and Head Coach of the Sandbox) at the iCafe located on the campus of Syracuse University. Within 90 minutes, we met with two new Startups (each 2nd goes by Masters students and much more solid for it), came across another banging away on code trying to keep up with customer demand of their less than one-year-old venture, another who was closing on strategic partnerships to expand into the NYC market and then was finally able to sit and watch a great interview by another local startup (with some significant backing) on a major news network in prep for a new look and “relaunch” at SXSW. We didn’t have to leave our seats to experience any of it. We were then off to Idea2Startup (one of our “courses” held at The Tech Garden) to help out another 20, or so, aspiring startups. It was nice to feel the emergent buzz. Something is afoot in Upstate.

    • Great example of entrepreneurial density!

      • Syracuse appears to be approaching entrepreneurial density faster than any other city in Upstate. I’m not surprised given what I’ve observed in my travels to each community since last March. I hope the model spreads to other nearby cities so they all can link together to build entrepreneurial density at a regional scale. That is the key to building a sustainable economy for Upstate entrepreneurs to live in.

  • Nice summary of activity, and glad to see D’Eredita’s anecdotes. Every time I meet with entrepreneurial students they amaze me with their work. It’s always awesome to make connections for them (and for me, particularly for veteran students here at Syracuse, and our entrepreneurs from our Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, and our partner program for families). Also seeing a lot of cross-university partnerships, and partnerships between universities that enhance ability to work between “town and gown”.