Release Date: May 18, 2012
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 locations.
"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 technology.
"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 provider.
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 ecosystem."
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 industry.
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 Investment: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/13380
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/