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Launch New York gets $4.5 million boost from Wilson Foundation

Launch New York is receiving a $4.5 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, a major financial boost for an organization that mentors and invests in startups in upstate New York.

The Wilson Foundation's grant is a follow-up to a $2.5 million award the foundation provided in 2016 that helped Launch New York begin its seed fund. Through that fund, Launch New York has invested over $1.6 million in 35 startups since 2016.

"The new Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation award will allow us to increase our seed funding for underserved entrepreneurs by up to 50 percent over the next three years, which we expect to attract even more co-investors who want to fund local entrepreneurs," said Marnie LaVigne, Launch New York's president and CEO.

More than 120 unique co-investors have invested another $20 million in the companies that Launch New York has invested in, according to the organization.

Launch New York serves the state's 27 westernmost counties, aiming to help startups get off the ground and prepare them to attract additional capital.

"Launch New York plays a critical role in the network of support available for entrepreneurs in Western New York, providing both seed stage capital and mentorship in high-growth entrepreneurs," said Lavea Brachman, vice president of programs for the Wilson Foundation. "Our goal with this grant, and the other grants we'll continue to make throughout the year in the entrepreneurial arena, is to spur inclusive economic growth across the region."

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