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New leader takes helm at UVANY, plans more programs

By Journal Staff


The Upstate Venture Association of New York, Inc. (UVANY) has a new executive director and plans for growth in 2013.

The nonprofit, based in Albany, works to increase capital investment in private companies through upstate New York. Its member funds manage more than $1 billion in capital and between 2005 and 2012 invested more than $430 million in more than 125 New York companies.

Samuel Ticknor took over as executive director Dec. 4. Ticknor had been on the UVANY board for four years. He previously worked for M&T Bank, Bergen Capital, Corporate Fuel Partners, and Provident Group.

He succeeded Bob Buckley, who retired after nine years as executive director.

UVANY plans to double the number of programs it runs in 2013, Ticknor says. The group will run two programs per month instead of one.

The new events will include smaller meetings at successful companies around upstate New York. The first one took place in the summer of 2012 and will serve as the model for this year, Ticknor says.

The group met at a business in Saratoga Springs that had just received $2 million in new investment. UVANY members had the chance to meet and talk with the investor and the firm’s CEO.

The discussion focused on why and how the investment came about, Ticknor says.

“We got a great response on that,” he says. “This was 25 people. They got to see the company firsthand and have some direct contact.”

UVANY will also continue to host larger events and work to attract significant keynote speakers. During the first quarter of 2013, one of those bigger events will take place at GE where speakers will discuss growth strategies and what they look for when considering investments.

The group will also look go increase its membership by 25 percent this year. UVANY currently has 100 members with 40 percent being capital providers. The others include entrepreneurs and service providers.

The group recently added four new capital-provider members, Ticknor says.

UVANY’s two main goals are to increase awareness of capital availability in Upstate and help companies position themselves to win investments, Ticknor says.

“If you show up wearing the wrong clothes and talking the wrong language, you’re going to turn off that investor,” he says. “We’re trying to prepare those companies to access and retain that capital.”

He adds that there are more investors and capital available in upstate New York now than ever before. The number of angel investors, capital funds, and incubators is growing across the region.

People across the state, Ticknor says, are looking for ways to reinvent the economy. Upstate’s colleges and universities and legacy companies provide a rich stream of innovative technology and employees who could become entrepreneurs in the future, he says.

In addition to Ticknor, UVANY also has a new board president. The group announced the election of Brian Model of Stonehenge Growth Capital to the post in October.

Model is currently managing director of New York City–based Stonehenge.

Dan Penberthy of Buffalo–based Rand Capital Corp. was announced as vice president. Penberthy previously served as UVANY’s board president.


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