UVC Launches Pledge to Navigate COVID-19

Upstate NY CEO Pledge Against COVID-19

[NEW YORK, RELEASE] – Upstate Venture Connect, an entrepreneur-led nonprofit building a region-wide startup community across Upstate New York, has united a coalition of UNY CEOs from emerging technology companies who have joined forces to navigate these uncertain times, together. By the minute, champions of our local business community are committing to fight COVID-19 in their workplaces, and support other community initiatives.

[VIEW] Upstate NY CEO Pledge > UVC.org/COVID-19

Dozens of company leaders from across Upstate NY have already signed the UNY CEO Pledge, since UVC’s effort to coordinate the collaboration was launched yesterday. We have included a list of the first 35 CEOs to sign their names and companies to the Pledge. 

The goal of the Pledge is to keep those driving our local economy informed during these uncertain times, and insist that company executives adopt minimum standards as outlined in the Pledge. 

“With technology moving faster than people, high-growth businesses in Upstate NY can rise above this massive outbreak,” said Martin Babinec, founder and chairman of Upstate Venture Connect. “Our joining together to advocate these important measures can be influential in getting other leaders across the region to do the same.” 

As this global pandemic continues to impact our lives and livelihoods, only one constant remains – there are many more challenges yet ahead. With this in mind, UVC has activated a LISTSERV for CEOs in Upstate NY to help them share resources and best practices for surviving an economic downturn. Our mission is to connect people facing difficult decisions around safety and wellbeing at work, home and in their communities. United, these leaders will find solutions needed to combat these unprecedented business challenges. 

We invite other Upstate NY CEOs to join the Coalition by visiting UVC.org/covid-19

About UVC
Upstate Venture Connect (UVC) is a 501c3 public nonprofit creating an entrepreneur-led startup ecosystem for Upstate NY. Our mission is to empower and connect Upstate NY entrepreneurs to the people and resources needed for building high-growth companies. To these ends, UVC hosts Upstate Unleashed, an annual conference and awards luncheon that  celebrates the top CEOs and entrepreneurial leaders in Upstate NY for their contributions. UVC also hosts a region-wide events calendar, and takes pride in an active communications platform that reaches over 16,000 founders and startup supporters. The UNY50 Leadership Network is another stellar signature resource. Membership is invitation-only for individuals who have experienced the startup world roller coaster, and who are committed to paying it forward. These leaders are helping to build the next great Upstate NY companies.
Learn more > UVC.org 

Upstate Venture Connect
Nasir Ali, Chief Executive Officer
(315) 857-4618

Pledge of Action Against COVID-19


We, the leaders of technology companies with headquarters or offices in Upstate New York, are stepping up efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 here in our communities and beyond by taking the following decisive actions in the interest of protecting the most vulnerable members of our community:

First, we are strongly encouraging the majority of our workers to work from home as soon as possible, leaving behind the minimum possible in-office presence.

Second, we are restricting work travel by our employees, both domestically and internationally. We are also strongly advising our employees to be thoughtful about all personal travel, particularly where they would be congregating in larger groups.

Third, we are moving all clients, visitors, and interviews to remote only meetings and not currently welcoming onsite visitors.

Fourth, wherever possible we are strongly encouraging our vendors, service providers and partner businesses to take similar precautions.

Fifth, we are each consulting with our teams to find ways of supporting our local healthcare workers by helping to purchase critical medical resources, such as additional tests and protective equipment, and supporting the work of local nonprofit organizations that are helping at-risk communities who will be severely impacted by this pandemic.

Finally​, we are calling on the community to support the government’s effort in restricting public gatherings and other non essential activity as well as following guidance on keeping social distance and stepped up measures for sanitizing personal hygiene and contact surfaces.


Why are we taking these unprecedented steps? The spread of COVID-19 is past the point of containment. Without swift action, we may soon witness the failure of our healthcare system’s capacity to deal with the virus’s complications. Our healthcare system is not built to handle enormous loads of critically ill people all at once. Therefore, we urgently need to flatten the curve of disease transmission to prevent unnecessary deaths. There are not enough health care providers to care for all the sick, nor enough full ventilators. We are already seeing this play out with tragic consequences in Italy, where the mortality rate is shockingly high, as their healthcare system has struggled to keep pace with the sudden crushing load of hospitalized patients, leading to otherwise preventable deaths.

These actions alone will not be enough, and we cannot wait for our government agencies and elected officials to mandate these restrictions. Every hour counts. We therefore call on others across Upstate — and in other communities across the country — to follow our lead and implement these procedures, effective immediately.

Upstate CEOs who Pledge to navigate COVID-19, together –
(first 35 Signatories)

* UVC Board Member

  1. Syed Nasir Ali*
    Co-founder & CEO
    Upstate Venture Connect
  2. Patrick Bosek
    Co-founder & CEO
    Jorsek Inc.
  3. Chuck Stormon
    Acumen Detection, Inc.
  4. Martin Babinec*
    Managing Director
    UpVentures Capital
  5. Sean Ossont
    Co-founder & President
    Continual Care Solutions, Inc.
  6. Karthik Bala
    Partner & CEO
    Velan Ventures
  7. Guha Bala
    Partner & President
    Velan Ventures
  8. Kevin Langley
    Co-founder & President
    Entrepreneurs Across Borders
  9. Tom Nardacci
    CEO & Founder
    Aurelius Coworks/ Gramercy
  10. Zach Shulman*
    General Partner
    Cayuga Venture Fund
  11. Mike Kamish
    Co-founder & CEO
    Continual Care Solutions, Inc.
  12. Mikael Totterman
    Founder & Chairman
    Clerio Vision
  13. Andy Drozd
    Founder & CEO
  14. Somak Chattopadhyay
    Managing Partner
    Armory Square Ventures
  15. Alex Zapesochny
    Founder & CEO
    Clerio Vision
  16. Peter Cortle
  17. Michael Quigley
    Co-founder and CSO
  18. Devin Daly
    Co-founder & CEO
  19. Anthony DeBonis
    Troy Web Consulting
  20. Elisa Miller-Out
    Co-founder & Managing Partner
    Chloe Capital
  21. David Dussault
    Founder & CEO
    P1 Ventures, Inc.
  22. Christine Tate*
    Vara Safety
  23. Timmy Oh
    Founder & CEO
    Vara Safety
  24. James Shomar
  25. Victoria Van Voorhis
    Founder & CEO
    Second Avenue
  26. Ralph Dandrea
    Founder & CEO
    ITX Corp.
  27. Evaguel Rhysing
    United Aircraft Technologies
  28. Kevin Rowe
  29. Darrin Jahnel
    Jahnel Group
  30. Melanie Shapiro
    Founder & CEO
  31. Justin Copie
    Owner & CEO
    Innovative Solutions
  32. Aaron C. Newman
  33. Hans Fuller
    Founder & CEO
    StorySlab, Inc.
  34. Annmarie Lanesey
    Greane Tree Technology & AlbanyCanCode
  35. Leon Miller-Out


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