“It’s a cause for celebration when outside investors show up to invest in our startups”

August 14, 2015

Another Voice: Steve Case’s visit to Buffalo documents the city’s new entrepreneurial spirit

By David J. Colligan

On Sept. 30, Steve Case’s Best of the Rest bus tour will arrive in Buffalo. This is a significant achievement for the emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem that locals have been feeding and nurturing for the last decade.

As a co-founder of AOL, Case knows entrepreneurship needs three ingredients: smart people with new ideas; an environment that can encourage startups; and money to fuel the rapid growth of the startups. Case’s tour stop means Buffalo is now recognized nationally for having these basic ingredients for a growing startup culture.

Case is coming here to speed the economic transformation of Buffalo into a startup hotbed by shining his spotlight on our entrepreneurial ecosystem. He’ll no doubt spend some time at D!g, the entrepreneurial co-working space where 100 or so new startup enterprises are working next to each other.

Case will see D!g is located at the Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The campus will soon be home to 20,000 highly educated, highly trained medical personnel, a great place for innovation to start.

While at the Innovation Center, Case will be able to visit with the 11 43North winners who have taken up residence there.

No doubt, Case will also spend time with Launch NY’s Entrepreneurs In Residence: 12 highly experienced mentors who support these new startups daily.

If Case has the time, he may get to see why the Buffalo startup scene is coalescing into community catering to entrepreneurs. He can go to Algonquin Studio’s “V Camp” held every Tuesday for entrepreneurs to practice their pitch to investors.

Launch NY has a monthly “Launch Hour” Twitter chat. Google Entrepreneur sponsors “Startup Grind” that meets here monthly. And the first Friday of every month, FIKA Buffalo meets so the Swedish tradition of coffee and discussion can provide a forum for entrepreneurs to network. Buffalo has a lot to offer entrepreneurs.

The stated reason for Case’s visit is to increase investor attention on these exciting new homegrown companies. It is a cause for celebration when outside investors show up to invest in our startups alongside the Buffalo Angels, Z80 Labs and Rand Capital. Buffalo is already working hard to source new capital streams from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency and Launch NY. Additional funds from outside the region are more than welcome.

Buffalo’s industrial past is legendary, but led to a Rust Belt label. Case’s visit proves that our new reputation as a rising startup ecosystem means that fast-growth startups are finding a home in Buffalo and the world is noticing. For Buffalo’s economic resurgence, that is the best news yet.

David J. Colligan is a partner in Colligan Law of Buffalo and chairman of Launch NY.