BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Investors and entrepreneurs from across the
Great Lakes region convened in Buffalo May 16-17 for the 2012
Venture Forum, which featured two full days of networking and
deal-making in high-tech sectors.
Highlights included panel discussions on technology transfer,
along with a full day of fast-paced pitch sessions during which
high-tech entrepreneurs presented business plans to angel investors
and venture capitalists.
Thirty-three companies participated, with each receiving one
minute or 10 minutes to pitch. A list of all presenting firms --
including 12 from Western New York and three from Ontario, Canada
-- is available at http://bit.ly/Iwkn0d.
The forum drew an audience of more than 300 people, including
nearly 60 investors from New York State and well beyond.
The 2012 Venture Forum is a partnership between two
well-established venture forums: Buffalo Niagara's annual Bright
Forum and the Center for Economic Growth's (CEG) annual SmartStart
UNYTECH Forum, an Upstate New York event that travels to different
"The high quality of the presenters we attract each year is a
testament to the wealth of innovation we have in Upstate New York,"
said Jeff Lawrence, CEG executive vice president for
"These forums give us the opportunity to showcase our very best
early-stage companies," said Marnie LaVigne, University at Buffalo
associate vice president for economic development. "Investors
travel from all over Upstate New York, the eastern United States
and Ontario, Canada to attend because they see the value and
promise in the technologies emerging from our region."
Major sponsors of the 2012 Venture Forum include UB's New York
State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences,
which leads the Bright Buffalo Niagara coalition that plans the
Bright Forum; the Center for Economic Growth (CEG), the leading
economic development organization in New York's Tech Valley; and
Superior Group, a global workforce and business solutions
Events took place May 16 at UB's Center for the Arts and Statler
City, and May 17 at the Albright Knox Art Gallery. A full agenda is
available at http://bit.ly/IjdelV.
Attendees represented every sector of the high-tech economy,
from investment groups to startups to established firms like
Procter & Gamble. University research offices were
well-represented at the technology transfer panels, which focused
on best practices in corporate-sponsored research, technology
licensing and more.
UB Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Alexander N. Cartwright delivered opening remarks on May 17, along
with Empire State Development Deputy Commissioner and Senior Vice
President for Community Economic Development Steven Cohen, the lead
for the new Innovate NY Fund. The featured keynote speaker was
Victor Thorne, director of Ohio TechAngel Funds, the largest angel
group in the United States.
In the past, both the Bright Forum and SmartStart UNYTECH
Venture Forum have been significant forces in improving the climate
for high-tech investment in Upstate New York.
Venture forums not only plant the seed for new high-tech deals,
but also give investors, entrepreneurs and community leaders the
chance to meet and establish valuable relationships. The Bright
Forum, for example, was the catalyst for an important partnership
that led to the creation of Launch New York, a regional nonprofit
devoted to growing high-tech companies.
"This year's Venture Forum brought together a diverse group of
stakeholders, each of whom plays an important role in driving the
growth of the high-tech economy," said Scott Stenclik, president of
Superior Group. "As a provider of human resources solutions in
high-tech sectors, our company understands the importance that
events like these play in strengthening a region's entrepreneurial
About the Bright Forum:
The Bright Forum is Western New York's premier annual event for
connecting investors with promising early-stage, high-tech
companies from across the Great Lakes region, including Canada. The
forum has featured nearly 100 companies since its inception three
year ago. The forum is organized by Bright Buffalo Niagara, a
coalition of public and private organizations led by the University
at Buffalo to connect investors to the region's high-tech
Website for the Bright Forum and Bright Buffalo Niagara: http://www.brightbuffaloniagara.com
About the SmartStart UNYTECH Venture Forum:
The Center for Economic Growth's SmartStart UNYTECH Venture
Forum is an important annual showcase for the most promising
technology companies and business innovators from New York State
and beyond. The forum, now in its 12th year, has highlighted 255
companies, including spin-outs from universities that partner on
technology transfer through the Upstate New York Technology Group
(UNYTECH). Sixty-two featured companies have raised over $500
million in equity financing, including over $72 million directly
attributable to participation in the forum. The forum is presented
by the Center for Economic Growth, the leading economic development
organization in New York's Tech Valley.
Website for the SmartStart UNYTECH Venture Forum: http://www.smartstartvf.org
Website for the Center for Economic Growth: http://www.ceg.org
Investors Come Looking for Deals In Upstate/Western New York: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/13432
In Western New York, an Improving Climate for High-Tech
Superior Group Helps Buffalo Niagara's Life Science Businesses
Grow Through Sponsorship of 2012 Venture Forum: http://www.superior-sdc.com/news/superior-sponsors-2012-venture-forum/