Launch New York, the Buffalo-based venture development organization that supports startups in Western and Central New York, has received a $245,460 grant from the U.S. Commerce Department that seeks to provide aid to promising companies at the earliest stages of their existence.

The money will boost Launch NY's Seed Fund, one of 35 programs in 19 states receiving a total of nearly $15 million through the Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies initiative.

Launch NY won't use the grant to directly invest in startup companies. Instead, the Commerce Department money will pay for technical assistance and operational costs involved in the planning and scaling up of Launch NY's seed fund, according to Launch NY officials and the offices of New York Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

The organization expects the seed fund to reach $5 million in capitalization, with an annual volume of eight to 10 new investments and three or four follow-up investments during the award period.

Launch NY has used $637,000 previously received from the Economic Development Administration to provide extensive resources to upstate New York entrepreneurs.

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