Nasir Ali is the CEO and co-founder of Upstate Venture Connect. He has been actively building the high growth entrepreneurial ecosystem across Upstate New York since 2004.
Ali launched The Syracuse Technology Garden incubator in 2004, which subsequently became the epicenter of startup community activity in Central NY. Through Upstate Venture Connect, Ali has built an online communications platform that reaches more than 15,000 startup community members; created the UNY50 Entrepreneur Leaders group; and established the Upstate Unleashed Conference and Venture Ecosystem Awards.
Ali is an active angel investor and fund manager. He was the founder and Executive Director of UNY’s first angel fund in 2007 and helped start similar angel funds in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and the Hudson Valley. In 2011, he launched StartFast Venture Accelerator, a private capital-backed startup accelerator program invested in 48 pre-seed startups from 2012-2020. StartFast Fund II is a Seed/A stage venture capital fund targeting B2B SaaS companies outside the traditional coastal VC hubs. He is also a board member and advisor to numerous entities including the NYS Innovation Venture Capital Fund, Next Gen Venture Partners, Fitzgate Ventures and multiple StartFast portfolio companies.
Ali received his undergraduate degree in Physics from Princeton University. He also holds an MBA from Yale University.