Buffalo Innovation Seed Fund is an early-stage, evergreen venture capital fund dedicated to funding and growing the next generation of outstanding businesses in Buffalo.
The initial fund has been capitalized by NYS Empire State Development with $10M to deploy as part of the Innovation Hub Initiative.
The Innovation Hub Initiative goal is to accelerate the commercialization of technology being developed at UB and our research partners at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Center, the Jacobs Institute and Kaleida Health, by connecting innovators to the resources they need to start and grow companies right here in WNY.
We intend to invest these funds over five (5) years in pre-seed and seed investments, reserving some capital to make follow-on investments in portfolio companies who show the best progress. We will partner with exceptional entrepreneurs and help them build valuable companies that grow in Buffalo. The fund is administered by State University of New York Research Foundation at University at Buffalo.
Calling all technology based startups created by an Innovation Hub Partner's faculty, researchers, students or staff.
The following is intended to prepare you in compiling the appropriate information and to set reasonable expectations about the fund’s application, due diligence and investment processes.
Seeks to understand certain basic financial information of the company to determine both eligibility and fundability according to the fund’s investment thesis.
The full application intends to capture comprehensive information on your overall business opportunity. In addition, you will be asked to upload several documents and to consent to a credit/background check of company officers.
Based on information provided in the funding application, this review/analysis will looking for any obvious red flags which might prohibit a successful funding outcome.
Assuming a positive outcome up to this point, the applicant will be invited to make their first investment pitch to a team of internal reviewers, including a 20-minute presentation followed by 30 minutes of Q&A.
During “Defensive Due Diligence,” the fund management team and/or its Due Diligence Partner will conduct additional primary
and secondary research, supplementing the information provided in the funding application.
Assuming a positive outcome up to this point, the applicant will be invited to make an investment pitch to an external Advisory Board, including a 20-minute presentation followed by 30 minutes of Q&A.
Download the Seed Fund Investment Process: Full Details (PDF)
The purpose of the seed fund is primarily to catalyze new ventures in the Buffalo region. Companies receiving an investment from the seed fund will be required to establish or maintain their principle place of business in Western New York for a minimum of 36 months. Additionally, we seek primarily to fill venture funding gaps for early-stage companies, not to replace or compete with established venture capital funds. As such, we intend generally to invest in companies that have previously raised less than $250K in equity funding and which are generating less than $1M in annual revenues.
Yes, UB is willing to lead or follow on pre-seed or seed investments.
Co-investors are always encouraged, but not necessarily required for pre-seed investments (up to $100K). Seed investments will generally require a 1:1 match.
UB is using standard SAFE and convertible debt notes. We can be flexible to match the needs of the entrepreneur and co-investors. Our goal is to keep our investment documents simple and entrepreneur-friendly so as to limit the need for lengthy and costly legal review by our portfolio companies.
For pre-seed and seed investments, we will typically not set a valuation. Rather, we will allow the valuation to be set during a future priced round.
Investible companies will be making good progress building scalable and sustainable companies. We are interested in companies addressing large markets and helping solve severe problems. To be considered for investment you should be making good technical and product progress and you should be building out all areas of your business. Companies will be assessed according to:
An external advisory board will make investment recommendations.
Companies will be expected to provide various documents and information, including:
It will vary depending on a deal-by-deal basis and depending upon the quality and timeliness of the applicant’s due diligence materials. If due diligence can run smoothly we should be able to make investment decisions in 8 – 10 weeks.
To be considered, start the process by telling us about your business venture.*
Learn more about Innovation Hub resources and services. We offer a variety of programs, services and networking events to help you connect to the right expertise to advance your business.
We are here to help you achieve your goals and take your ideas to the next level. Programs and resources are available to help you access the funding and incentives you need at every stage of your business.
University at Buffalo incubators offer affordable, flexible spaces, programs and support for technology based startups created by the Innovation Hub partner’s faculty, researchers, students or staff.
As a premier public research institution, UB offers a wealth of resources. Whether you need co-working space or a state-of-the-art class 10,000 cleanroom, we can help.