Upstate Venture Ecosystem Awards

Upstate Venture Ecosystem Awards

Upstate Venture Ecosystem Awards: October 9, 2015, Turning Stone Resort
On October 9, 2015, supporters of Upstate New York’s venture ecosystem came together at the elegant Turning Stone Resort in Verona, NY for the first annual Upstate Venture Ecosystem Awards! UVC and Upstate Venture Association of NY hosted this premiere event to recognize and celebrate entrepreneurial leaders who are shaping a new economy for our region. Serial entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman was our keynote for the luncheon.

Over a hundred nominations were submitted. Finalists in each category were announced at the Awards Luncheon. Martin Babinec, UVC Founder and Chairman, remarked “Going back just a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to gather such a large and diverse group of leaders from around the entire region to come together and celebrate achievement of those making significant contributions towards creating new companies and jobs in the Upstate startup economy. This is a testament to progress in our harnessing top talent who want to participate in new economy opportunities right here in the Upstate region.”

The 2015 winners in each category are:

Community Catalyst Award – For individuals who organize programs to bring together diverse startup ecosystem players in a local community and/or increase the amount of capital and number of active early stage investors in that community.

David Colligan; Winner of the Community Catalyst AwardDAVID COLLIGAN – Buffalo, NY

Board, WNY Ventures Association
Board, Erie Canal Harbor Dev Corp
Founder, WNY Angel Fund
Chairman, Launch NY Venture Development Org
Founder/Partner, Colligan Law


Campus Connector Award – For individuals affiliated with an educational institution (could be an administrator, student, alumnus or faculty member) who are leveraging on and off-campus resources and connections to spinout research startups and/or create opportunities to retain entrepreneurial students.

John Liddy; Winner of Campus Connector Ecosystem AwardJOHN LIDDY – Syracuse, NY

Director, Syracuse Student Sandbox
Entrepreneur in Residence, The Tech Garden
Entrepreneur in Residence, Le Moyne College – Madden School
Entrepreneur in Residence, ThINCubator – MVCC


Magical Mentor Award – For individuals who have had a transformative impact on the trajectory of one or more startup companies.

Chuck Stormon, Winner of Magical Mentor AwardCHUCK STORMON – Syracuse, NY

Serial Entrepreneur with multiple venture backed companies
Angel investor, Seed Capital Fund of CNY
Co­founder & Director, StartFast Venture Accelerator
CEO, RushTera


Ecosystem Champion Award – For individuals who are catalyzing and supporting startup activity across multiple Upstate communities.

Zach Schulman; Winner of Ecosystem Champion AwardZACH SCHULMAN – Ithaca, NY

Managing Partner, Cayuga Venture Fund
Director, Entrepreneurship @ Cornell
Professor, Johnson School, Cornell University
Board Member, Upstate Venture Connect
Mentor, StartFast Venture Accelerator
Board Member, Launch NY

Deal of the Year Award – For a company whose exit created wealth for investors and founders/employees, as well as making the company a stronger contributor to the local economy.

BinOptics; Winner of the Deal of the Year AwardBINOPTICS – Ithaca, NY

Manufacturing of monolithically integrated optoelectronic components for datacom and telecommunications applications
Acquired by M/A-COM Technology Solutions in November, 2014
$38.81M in funding; Sold for $230M in cash

Upstate Venture Connect and the Upstate Venture Association of New York will soon begin planning for next year’s nominations and awards. We look forward to continuing to work with the startup community to foster faster growth for a new venture economy across Upstate New York!

2015 Upstate Venture Ecosystem Awards Sponsors

-Award Sponsor-

Ernst & Young; Building a Better Working World

-Media Sponsors-

Business Incubator Association of NY

Pitchbook | Global & Private Equity Venture Capital Data

Business Journal News Network

-Community Sponsors-

IgniteU NY

Harter Secrest & Emery LLP

-Event Hosts-