Launch NY receives $4.5 million from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

Launch New York, Upstate New York’s first and only venture development organization to help provide pro bono mentoring and capital access to high-growth potential startup businesses across the 27 westernmost counties of the state, announced this week that it is the recipient of a $4.5 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.

The latest award will build upon the success of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s previous grant in 2016 which allowed Launch NY to create the most active source of seed capital in New York state dedicated to supporting promising entrepreneurs in the region. The new award will expand Launch NY’s financing activities, including Launch NY’s Seed Fund, a nonprofit fund fueled by grants and donations with all returns coming back to the fund to support investments in future startups.

Since 2016, the Launch NY Seed Fund has invested over $1.6 million in 35 startup companies to help them complete vital proof-of-concept steps in bringing their products to the market. With requests for more than $47 million, Launch NY has had enormous demand for additional funding which it has been able to drive by working with over 120 unique co-investors to date who have brought another $20 million to these companies. Launch NY’s COO and Fund manager, Lindsay Stencel, was recognized as the early stage Dealmaker of the Year by Upstate Capital Association for leading the breakneck pace of the Launch NY Seed Fund.

“The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has shown how philanthropic leadership can transform the entrepreneurial ecosystem in our region. Their support has helped us provide vital proof-of-concept funding that attracts other funders and investors,” said Dr. Marnie LaVigne, president and CEO of Launch NY. “The new Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation award will allow us to increase our seed funding for underserved entrepreneurs by up to 50 percent over the next three years, which we expect to attract even more co-investors who want to fund local entrepreneurs.”

“Launch NY plays a critical role in the network of support available for entrepreneurs in Western New York, providing both seed stage capital and mentorship to high-growth entrepreneurs,” said Lavea Brachman, vice president of programs, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “Our goal with this grant, and the other grants we’ll continue to make throughout the year in the entrepreneurial arena, is to spur inclusive economic growth across the region.”

For more information about Launch NY, its programs, including its Seed Fund and other entrepreneurial opportunities, visit, and follow Launch NY on its Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.
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