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September 20, 2019



featuring investor and best-selling author Chris Yeh

Upstate Unleashed is an annual Conference and Awards luncheon that brings together innovators in Upstate NY. Founders at the helm of high-growth companies meet active investors; early-stage entrepreneurs connect with community leaders. Together we’ll learn, collaborate, and build relationships needed to create a positive impact on our economy. Our 2019 Conference was held at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino on September 20th.



Chris Yeh is a writer, investor and entrepreneur who has been working with startups and scaleups since 1995. Chris helps founders, venture capitalists, corporate leaders, policymakers, and everyday people better understand how the internet has changed the way we work together to build amazing organizations. His day-to-day is expansive, and includes Founding Partner, Bitzscaling Ventures; Co-founder, Global Scaling Academy; General Partner, Wasabi Ventures; and more. Chris is also the co-author of Blitzscaling, which explains how to build world-changing companies like Amazon, Alibaba, and Airbnb in record time.

Melanie Shapiro Upstate Venture Connect

MELANIE SHAPIRO  |  Token  |  Co-founder / CEO

Token is the first universal identity network – for keys, cards, passwords, and IDs. As co-founder and CEO, Melanie is an advocate for personal freedom. She recently spoke at TED2018, and the United Nations about identity ownership. Prior to Token, Melanie co-founded Digsby, which was acquired in 2011. She received her MBA and BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Mark Oney | Upstate Venture Connect

MARK ONEY  |  EmployeeChannel  |  SVP, Product Operations

Mark is a serial entrepreneur living in Silicon Valley. He cut his teeth at Apple, and continued on to launch eight ventures of his own. Most recently, Mark joined EmployeeChannel, Inc., as SVP of Product Operations. He’s an RIT alumni, a founding member of RIT’s West Coast Board of Advisors, and a member of the UNY50 Leadership Network.

John Torrens | Upstate Venture Connect

JOHN TORRENS  |  Vertical Companies  |  President

Dr. Torrens is a healthcare and education entrepreneur with 25 years leading high growth companies. In addition to Vertical Bioscience, John also holds a faculty position at Syracuse University’s Whitman School, where he is recognized as an award-winning Professor of Entrepreneurial Practice.

Somak Chattopadhyay | Upstate Venture Connect

SOMAK CHATTOPADHYAY |  Armory Square Ventures  |  Managing Partner

Somak has been operating, advising or investing in technology companies since 1999. He Chattopadhyay founded Armory Square Ventures (ASV)  in 2014 and serves on the Firm’s Investment Committee. Somak represents ASV on the boards as a director or observer of ACV Auctions, Clerio and Vizbee.  He was previously a director at BentoBox where he led the original Series A investment.


George became CEO of ACV Auctions in 2016. He was an early angel investor in ACV and was drawn by the company’s long term potential. He brings a successful track record of accomplishment as an entrepreneur and senior executive. He co-founded Synacor (Nasdaq: SYNC) right out of college in 1998, and spent the next two decades building it.

DAN MAGNUSZEWSKI  | ACV Auctions  |  Co-founder, CTO

Dan has a broad spectrum of experience ranging from software development, angel investing, startups, and network/systems administration. In addition to founding ACV Auctions, Dans is a member of the University at Buffalo Computer Science Advisory Council, and a member of the WNY Computer Science Teachers Association.

Check out the Unleashed 2019 Award Winners!


Congratulations to all of the finalists for Deal of the Year!
These companies had deals that created wealth for investors and founders/employees, as well as made the company a strong contributor to the local economy. The winner will be announced at Upstate Unleashed.



Connect with the best of the best in Upstate NY’s entrepreneurial community. 

2018 Unleashed
2017 Unleashed
2016 Unleashed