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Veteran-led Ithaca startup selected for Veteran Founder Lab program

By Journal Staff


ITHACA — EMPEQ, an Ithaca–based startup company, announced it has been selected to join the “exclusive” Veteran Founder Lab program of the Founder Institute, a Palo Alto, California–based pre-seed startup accelerator.

Veteran Founder Lab is a fundraising program that is part of the Founder Institute’s Veteran Founder Initiative. Through this initiative, EMPEQ, an energy efficiency project investment and asset management firm, said it will gain access to free programming and resources within the Founder Institute’s global network while receiving hands-on acceleration support from Vet-Tech, a startup accelerator in Silicon Valley that helps fund and scale veteran-led startups. With Vet-Tech headquartered at the Plug and Play Tech Center, “EMPEQ sits at the intersection of two of the largest startup organizations in the world whose combined networks span over 200 cities and 11,000 mentors,” the company said in a release.

EMPEQ, a NYSERDA and LaunchNY portfolio company, said that participating in the Veteran Founder Lab program will help fund and scale EMPEQ’s energy efficient project financing business globally. 

“Being selected for this highly competitive program is quite an honor. The best part is that we aren’t forced to relocate to Silicon Valley or New York City to access world class investors and advisers. These types of impactful resources enable EMPEQ to more efficiently create jobs and invest capital right here in Upstate NY,” Herbert Dwyer, CEO of EMPEQ, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and Ithaca resident, said in the release. “Many Upstate NY startups believe they must leave our region to access the necessary resources needed to become successful. With programs like the Founder Institute, this is simply not the case.”

The Founder Lab is a virtual advisory program that helps early-stage startups raise seed funding. Over the course of the “regimented” three-month program, participants will work closely with the Founder Institute and Vet-Tech teams in Silicon Valley to “improve their pitch materials, build an investor pipeline, pitch to angels, negotiate terms, and generate strong investor interest,” the release stated. 

Veteran-led startups also gain access to the combined global networks of the Founder Institute and Vet-Tech to scale their companies using corporate partnerships, customer introductions, and a network of startup talent as part of the initiative’s wide global network.

The Veteran Founder Initiative was created by Ryan Micheletti, director of global operations at the Founder Institute and co-founder of Vet-Tech.

EMPEQ says it helps businesses to access commercial energy efficiency equipment, such as LED lighting or an air source heat pump system, quickly and without upfront costs.

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