Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and 43North, New York state’s startup competition that invests $5 million annually to attract and cultivate startups in Buffalo, are partnering on a multiyear program to further develop and scale the Western New York entrepreneurial ecosystem. Together, Techstars and 43North will build a self-sustaining coalition of entrepreneurs, corporate partners, local and national investors, government and academic leaders, and startup enthusiasts within the community.
In addition, Techstars announced the formal launch of the Techstars startup ecosystem development program. It offers economic and government leaders at the state and city level research, program management staff, and services to support the rapid injection of key ingredients into city infrastructure and leadership – all with the goal of driving economic development and job growth. Techstars is launching with Buffalo as the inaugural city for the Techstars startup ecosystem development program.
“Techstars sought a community that had a blend of passion, population size, and the organizational commitment to take their ecosystem and supersize it,” said Chris Heivly, vice president of innovation at Techstars. “Buffalo already has a burgeoning ecosystem with strong players such as 43North, Launch NY and SUNY Buffalo. While Techstars is partnering with 43North on this initiative, the Techstars startup ecosystem development program is a communitywide effort, and Techstars will focus on increasing the existing collaboration in the community.”
Techstars began its work on this initiative in the fall by researching the current state of the Buffalo entrepreneurial ecosystem through a series of interviews and surveys. Techstars officials then used this information and Techstars data on building ecosystems in other communities to create a roadmap for the future growth of Western New York’s startup community.
“I have long believed that, in the modern era, you can start a scalable, high-growth company almost anywhere, and every metropolitan area with over 100,000 people should have a thriving startup community,” said Brad Feld, co-founder of Techstars and partner at Foundry Group.
Techstars startup ecosystem development program for Buffalo includes providing mentorship to 43North companies and other Buffalo startups; coaching and facilitating interactions with Western New York mentors, community leaders, investors and potential investors; producing year-round events and programming; forging connections with Techstars global network; producing and posting digital content about the Buffalo ecosystem; and conducting ongoing measurement of the progress of Buffalo’s startup community.
Techstars is currently seeking a Buffalo-based executive director who will work with Techstars executives, a small Buffalo staff, and the 43North team to execute the plan.
“Whether you’re looking at the number of startups, the volume of venture capital, or the engagement of our community’s leaders, Buffalo’s startup ecosystem is the strongest that it has ever been. While we are encouraged by our recent growth and success, we have an opportunity to double down on our efforts to build our entrepreneurial community into one that generates jobs and prosperity for generations to come,” said Eric Reich, 43North board chair. “Techstars is one of the world’s most respected organizations for supporting startups and building startup communities, making them the ideal partner to help Buffalo and 43North take the next steps on our journey. We are excited to welcome them to Buffalo and to work collaboratively across the ecosystem to deliver the results that this great community deserves.”
"Buffalo’s startup ecosystem has made significant progress, and the partnership between Techstars and 43North is a strategic commitment to support its continued growth and regional economic impact," said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky.
The Techstars startup ecosystem development program in Buffalo is a partnership with 43North, with support from M&T Bank, National Grid, and others to be announced. To learn more about the Techstars startup ecosystem development program, join Techstars and 43North for an AMA (“ask me anything”) on ecosystem development at 3 p.m. Thursday. The AMA will be recorded.
Find Techstars online at www.techstars.com.
For more information about 43North, visit www.43north.org.