Business growth and expansion requires capital. Accessibility and cost of capital are key factors in a company’s determination of how to fund growth. For early-stage, high-growth companies, raising funds from venture and angel investors in exchange for equity is critical.
The Buffalo Niagara region has a range of resources in the venture and angel capital realm. Leaders in the region have made growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem a major priority and the results have been measurable. In recent years, the amount of equity capital raised by Buffalo-area companies has increased significantly. In 2020, Buffalo-based early-stage companies raised $205.7 million. According to Buffalo Business First this is the third straight year that deal volume surpassed the $200 million mark.
To initiate a conversation with these types of funding sources, a company should be prepared with an executive summary and/or a pitch deck that is shareable – i.e. not confidential.
Below is a list of some of the angel, seed, and venture funding resources available in Western New York (WNY)
43North – dubbed the world’s largest business plan competition, 43North just launched their seventh annual competition that awards $5 million to eight winning companies, with investments ranging from $500,000 to $1,000,000. The application is open and this year’s finale will be in person and on stage at Shea’s Performing Arts Theater on October 28, 2021.
Armory Square Ventures – a seed and early-stage venture capital fund targeting deals in Upstate New York. Armory Square particularly focuses on tech companies with a web, mobile, or technology-enabled service.
Buffalo Angels, LLC – a member-managed seed investment fund.
Excell Partners – a venture capital fund that invests in seed and early-stage high-tech startups in New York State, focused on the Upstate NY area. Excell has the dual mission of generating returns and supporting economic development.
Lakelet Capital - seeks private companies with annual EBITDA in the $1MM to $10MM range. Smaller targets are considered if other criteria are strong. They look for companies with one or more key differentiators such as a strong product or service offering, quality customers, a dynamic management or employee team, and/or proprietary business processes.
LaunchNY – a Venture Development Organization (VDO) providing both pre-seed, proof-of-concept funding and complimentary support services to high-growth companies located in a 27-county region of Upstate NY.
Lorraine Capital – a private investment firm focused on acquiring controlling positions in businesses, focused on Upstate NY and the Northeastern US.
NYS Innovation Venture Capital Fund – a $100 million venture capital fund, managed by Empire State Development (New York State’s economic development agency) investing in seed and early-stage companies throughout NYS. The fund promotes commercialization of new technologies and encourages job creation.
Rand Capital – a business development company that focuses its equity investments in early or expansion-stage companies.
Varia Ventures – helps already promising startups raise funds and grow their businesses. They build upon capital, business acumen, industry-specific support systems, investors, and business leaders. All these components combine to provide a streamlined platform for successful growth.
WNY Impact Investment Fund – an innovative for-profit investment fund featuring collaboration between corporate, private and philanthropic investors who pooled their capital to seek both financial and social returns supporting the WNY resurgence.
WNY Venture Association – a not-for-profit organization with the mission to elevate the economic growth of the Buffalo Niagara region by proactively increasing the size and sophistication of the angel investors base, and the quality of investments opportunities throughout WNY.