Campus News

UB receives $32M state grant to establish Innovation Hub to support startups

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing legislation launching second phase of Excelsior Scholarship program surrounded by UB students.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs legislation launching the second phase of the Excelsior Scholarship program during a visit to the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on April 19. With Cuomo are President Satish K. Tripathi (red tie); Howard Zemsky (blue tie), president and CEO, Empire State Development; and UB students Jaycee Miller, Lilian Macancela, Jessica Burke, Harris Bresowsky and Sydney Schmidt. Photo: Douglas Levere

UBNOW STAFF

Published April 20, 2018

“When you think of the most successful startup communities from Boston to Silicon Valley to Boulder, they all have strong ties to research institutions and universities as sources of innovation.”
Christina Orsi, associate vice president for economic development

UB will facilitate a $32 million investment from New York State to launch an Innovation Hub in its New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences that will accelerate the growth of Western New York startups.

The Innovation Hub, part of the state's second Buffalo Billion investment, will support commercialization of technologies generated by UB, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Kaleida Health and the Jacobs Institute, ultimately growing private investment and jobs in Western New York.

The hub will provide incubator space to house technology startups on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, establish a technology commercialization investment fund, and deliver mentoring and other support programs and services to guide innovators from idea to market.

It is part of the Middle Class Recovery Act announced yesterday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a press conference at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.

While at the Jacobs School, Cuomo also signed legislation launching the second phase of the Excelsior Scholarship Program, which increases the annual income eligibility for the program to $110,000. When fully implemented, the program will provide free tuition at New York's public universities for families making up to $125,000 a year.

The Innovation Hub project involves three main components:

  • Planning, design, renovation, construction, furniture, fixtures and equipment funds for the approximately $7 million conversion of UB's Center of Excellence for Bioinformatics & Life Sciences into incubation and entrepreneur support space. The space will be made available to companies affiliated with UB and partner organizations, including Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Kaleida Health, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, and the Jacobs Institute. UB will utilize additional space in the Center for Excellence for entrepreneur support programs, events, education and related services. The first phase of incubation space is expected to become available in late 2019.
  • Establish a $13.5 million Investment Fund to provide proof-of-concept and pre-seed/seed investments for startups. The fund is expected to launch in early 2019.
  • Provide outreach to and engagement with UB and participating institutions’ faculty, staff and students to increase the number and quality of startup opportunities, coordinate and execute startup support programming and develop new initiatives to guide startups through all phases of development, and personnel support to administer the new programs and services. This component will utilize approximately $11.5 million of the funds over five years. Programs will begin this year.

 President Satish K. Tripathi noted that a research university is at the center of any thriving entrepreneurship hub. “Through our extensive faculty expertise, our longstanding engagement in the community, and our established record of student and faculty entrepreneurial collaborations — in areas ranging from the life sciences and materials science to IT and sustainability — UB has created a dynamic environment where entrepreneurship can grow and flourish,” Tripathi said.

Christina Orsi, UB associate vice president for economic development, called the Innovation Hub a key component to building Western New York’s innovation economy. “When you think of the most successful startup communities from Boston to Silicon Valley to Boulder, they all have strong ties to research institutions and universities as sources of innovation,” Orsi said. “They also have early stage venture capital and connections with successful entrepreneurs and market expertise.

 “The hub brings all of this together to help accelerate the number of new inventions spinning out of our institutions into startups that grow in Western New York.”