The Hudson Valley Startup Fund (HVSF) Announces 30 investors already committed; more on the way
Some of the coolest and most experienced angel investors have joined forces to launch a new angel investment fund in the Hudson Valley. In a recent roadtrip to New Paltz, I met up with several of these outstanding angel investors, who are ready to support local, scalable startups with capital, mentorship and valuable network resources.
The Hudson Valley Startup Fund (HVSF) is led by experienced entrepreneur Johnny LeHane in partnership with seasoned Hudson Valley business and financial leaders Chad Gomes, Paul Hakim, Noa Simons and Tony DiMarco.
LeHane was the first investor in the fund. You know him as @JohnnyKickball, Co-founder and CIO of WAKA Kickball & Social Sports, a distributed company that has made the Inc 5000 list for three consecutive years.
“I’m excited to help develop an important source of capital for growing scalable businesses where I live in the Hudson Valley, as well as bring my experience starting a company nationally to help local entrepreneurs scale their businesses,” said LeHane.
LeHane made the official announcement of the Fund’s launch at the annual Hudson Valley Venture Forum held at SUNY New Paltz and hosted by the Upstate Venture Association of NY (UVANY). In front of a packed auditorium he shared his team’s passion and commitment to pay it forward and assist entrepreneurs in the critical early stage of their startup development.
This member-managed seed fund is the first of its kind between Albany and New York City. It was established to meet the growing needs of entrepreneurs building startups in the Hudson Valley. Together, this group of business owners, entrepreneurs and investors will seek to invest in startups with a scalable business model that have potential for significant growth. They’ll use their years of experience growing their own businesses and the resources they have acquired to make sure each of their portfolio companies succeed in bringing new jobs and financial growth to the Hudson Valley.
Since October, HVSF leaders have gathered over 30 accredited investors and raised $700,000. The Fund is targeting $1 million to invest in local companies that have strong team players, unique technology and a path to exit.
After the Hudson Valley Venture Forum we all got together for drinks and eats at Huckleberry restaurant in New Paltz. Sitting outside on the patio surrounded by many area college students was the perfect setting to learn more about how these angel investors plan on creating a new venture economy in the Hudson Valley, anchored on the talent of our next generation.
By the end of the night, about a dozen or so guests pulled our stools around a tiny two-top table to hear how Tony DiMarco played a pivotal role in spearheading the Hudson Valley Startup Fund.
DiMarco is the former Director of Strategic Initiatives at Marist College and Managing Director of the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship Network (GCSEN). He’s a key player on the team, having taken on the role of HVSF’s Founding Manager. DiMarco explained how during his time at Marist and now with the GCSEN, he’s more than aware of the young talent in the area ready to be nurtured. Prior to starting the Fund, he reached out to leaders at UVANY and Upstate Venture Connect for guidance.
“After seeing four new funds forming across the Thruway in recent years, it is great to add another region where experienced entrepreneurs and investors are coming together to grow a new generation of wealth creating companies,” said Nasir Ali, CEO of Upstate Venture Connect.
— Johnny (@johnnykickball) April 1, 2016
The Hudson Valley Startup Fund now joins the lineup of angel investing groups ready to help early-stage startups succeed in upstate New York. Some of these funds include the the Rochester Angel Fund, StartFast Venture Fund, WNY Angel Fund, Seed Capital Fund of CNY and the Eastern NY Angels (ENYA). Dick Frederick, ENYA founder and HVSF consultant said, “I’ve been investing across New York State for several years, and had started seeing more opportunities coming out of the Hudson Valley. When Tony contacted me to discuss a local fund, I was enthusiastic about helping start HVSF by sharing my experience launching ENYA in 2010.” The Hudson Valley Startup Fund continues to seek both additional members and companies to consider for investment. Membership is open to accredited investors until June 30 when the fund closes. For more information on how to join HVSF, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Entrepreneurs interested in pitching to HVSF investors can submit applications through GUST. Preferred industries include agriculture, biotechnology, clean technology, computers, fashion, food and beverage, Internet and software.