New York starts $50M fund to attract high-growth business

By Leif Skodnick

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New York has created a venture capital fund to attract high-growth business to the Empire State.

Announced on Friday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York State Innovation Venture Capital Fund is intended to support entrepreneurs making the transition from research to marketplace, and give them an incentive to stay and grow their businesses in New York, the governor’s office reported. The state said the $50 million fund is expected to leverage twice that amount in private capital to support new businesses across different industries, including advanced materials, clean technology, biotechnology and information technology.

“New York is home to some of the brightest minds in the world – and by launching this fund, we’re helping these budding entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market right here in the Empire State,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The fund will be split into two distinct segments. The Technology Commercialization Segment will facilitate the commercialization efforts of startup companies associated with New York’s universities and make small, pre-seed stage investments of up to $100,000. The Seed and Early Stage Co-Investment Segment will invest in seed and/or early stage companies, with an emphasis on strategic industries such as information technology and biotechnology, as well as relatively underserved areas of the state, with investments ranging from $100,000 to $5 million.

The fund is being coordinated with the state’s existing innovation investments, including the Start-Up NY program, which has partnered with schools to create enterprise zones where businesses can operate without paying state taxes for 10 years while working in partnership with host schools on technology transfers and other commercial ventures. Three Westchester County colleges – New York Medical College, The College of New Rochelle and Iona College – are participating.

The fund will be administered by Empire State Development and managed by Brian Keil, the agency’s new Innovation Venture Capital Fund managing director. Keil previously served as vice president of strategy and corporate development at Nielsen Audio. He was previously a managing director and founding member of a $250 million venture capital fund sponsored by NBC Universal and GE Capital where he sourced, executed and managed venture capital investments in the digital media sector, the agency reported.

“The Innovation Venture Capital Fund complements New York’s existing business tools and helps connect the various components of the state’s innovation pipeline,” said Kenneth Adams, Empire State Development president, CEO and commissioner, in a statement. “We are excited Brian Keil has joined our team, helping to ensure the most promising startups get the support they need in early stage development and that New York state better competes for private-sector venture investment.”

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About the author

Leif Skodnick
Leif Skodnick is a former reporter for Westfair Communications. He is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, Mississippi College School of Law, and St. Lawrence University.

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