Our friend and mentor, J. Montieth “Monty” Estes, a visionary leader who helped create the culture of entrepreneurship support in Upstate NY, passed away on February 11, 2018. With his passion for founders commercializing new technologies, Monty was a true advocate for our region and its entrepreneurial potential. During his forty-year career as a lawyer, startup mentor, and fundraising advisor, Monty was the go-to person for scores of founders seeking to build fast growing companies.
Monty was also one of the first people to realize that our region as a whole is much stronger than any individual community, and he worked tirelessly to build the connections and collaborations that we take for granted today. To that end, he played a pivotal role in the formation of the Upstate Capital Association of New York, SmartStart Venture Forum, Pre-Seed Workshops, Seed Capital Fund of CNY, Upstate Alliance for Innovation and other organizations dedicated to building a more connected region. Monty also drove numerous tech transfer initiatives that united Upstate NY research universities behind the goal of research commercialization.
We were very fortunate to have been able to recognize Monty’s enormous contributions to our region’s founders last September with the David M. Ahlers Master Ecosystem Builder Award. We miss Monty, but all we have to do is look around to see his impact on our region.