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Launch NY 1st quarter investments include funding for two Ithaca firms

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

Date:

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Launch New York (Launch NY) has reported its first-quarter investments for 2020, which included funding for two Ithaca companies.

Those firms are Ecolectro and Iterate Labs (OrthoFit).

The investments totaled $620,000 from its nonprofit seed fund and for-profit LP fund.

Launch NY describes itself as “Upstate New York’s first and only venture development organization to provide pro bono mentoring and the most active seed fund in New York State to high-growth startups across the 27 westernmost counties of the state.”

Compared to when it deployed $155,000 in its first full quarter investing from its nonprofit seed fund and for-profit LP fund in the second quarter of 2019, Launch NY has “ramped up” to invest four times more capital in this year’s first quarter, it contends.

“Despite the challenges we’re all facing with the coronavirus crisis, we’re seeing more activity than ever among our highly innovative, resilient entrepreneurs,” Marnie LaVigne, president & CEO of Launch NY, said in a news release. “We are happy to be able to support these companies, especially those with underrepresented founders located in low income communities, not only with first time investment capital but the crucial follow-on to accelerate the efforts of our portfolio companies who are making progress. Our combination of pro bono mentorship, portfolio management, and our multiple funding sources through our #InvestLocal programs is proving to be crucial during these uncertain times.”

Looking ahead, LaVigne said the regional business community will have to adjust to an economy that has to be “more nimble” in addressing changing conditions.

“I’m cautiously optimistic because I’m already seeing new investors step up who want to support solutions to the COVID-19 crisis being presented by our startups. Entrepreneurs by nature are used to thinking on their feet, quickly adjusting to current circumstances to offer products and services that respond to market needs, and always doing more with less. Those are exactly the kind of innovators I want to back.”

About the Ithaca businesses

Ecolectro is an Ithaca–based specialty chemicals company that has an exclusive license from Cornell University for a family of anion exchange materials (AEM) toward its mission of using chemistry to de-carbonize industry, energy production, and storage and transportation sectors, as described in the Launch NY release.

Iterate Labs (OrthoFit) — also located in Ithaca — is a biomotion insights company. In its description, the firm says it “creates a feedback loop between the body and ideal performance by marrying technology and biomechanics to collect data that turns into insight for optimized training, injury prevention, and commercial and scientific discovery.”

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