Z80 Labs Technology Incubator Selects GradFly as Its Second Startup

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GradFly is a college matching website for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students.

“This is real, live proof that you don’t have to leave Western New York to start and grow a company." -- Oscar Pedroso, CEO of GradFly

Buffalo’s Technology Incubator, Z80 Labs, today announced GradFly, a college recommendation service, has been selected as its second startup to join the tech incubator by Softbank Capital, The Buffalo News, Campus Labs, PC Business Solutions and Synacor.

GradFly is a college matching website that makes it easy for high school students to find an education, internship or career in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). Students who enjoy STEM-oriented activities such as building robots, writing code, or solving complex math equations, can build an online portfolio and share their technical creations and achievements in picture, video, or Pinterest-like format with friends, colleges and companies. GradFly’s vision is to bridge the gap between a STEM education, technical training and employability.

GradFly is committed to help open doors in STEM and STEM only. It’s not just going after any high school or college student, GradFly is going after students who want to succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society; the company even welcomes curious students. GradFly understands students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered in the past. At GradFly, talented students are taking their first step by creating an online portfolio and then connecting to technical colleges and companies that are looking for tomorrow’s scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. GradFly is empowering these students (and their parents) to make the best and most affordable decisions about their education and career in STEM. For college and companies, GradFly will standout by offering modern tools focused on sourcing, talent analytics, assessment, interview management and search.

GradFly currently consists of Oscar Pedroso, CEO and Founder; Anna Hadnagy, Chief Information Officer; Elliott Regan, Front-end Programmer; and Herb Susmann, Chief Architect. Pedroso attended the University of Rochester. Hadnagy attended Nazareth College. Regan and Susmann attended SUNY Geneseo. Richard Glaser, one of Pedroso’s mentors in Rochester, encouraged the GradFly team to apply to Z80 Labs and grow their business.

“This is real, live proof that you don’t have to leave Western New York to start and grow a company. We almost left but now we’re glad we didn’t. There’s something special about Z80 Labs, and we’re ready to get our hands dirty and make GradFly become more of a reality than we could have ever imagined,” said Oscar Pedroso, Founder and CEO, GradFly. “We’re at the right place at the right time with the right mentors who want to help us succeed.” Dan Magnuszewski of Z80 Labs is looking forward to having GradFly join Z80 Labs, “We’re excited to start working with GradFly and help them grow into a successful business. They have a talented and extremely motivated team and we expect great things from them.”

More about STEM:
Now more than ever, our nation needs STEM. The demand for skilled workers in STEM is closely linked to global competitiveness. GradFly believes not enough young people are being educated or inspired about advanced science, technology, engineering and math. To make matters worse, when they are educated or inspired, they are lost in the college and career selection process. STEM has never really been popular among female and underrepresented minority students, but we hope to change the way they connect with schools and navigate through the career selection process. Using creativity and innovation to address these challenges is critical to meeting this demand of skilled workers. Now is the perfect time to help fix the ‘STEM Pipeline’ by helping high school and college students realize their potential, research technical colleges, and educate themselves about career opportunities in STEM. In April, GradFly was a finalist at Rochester’s Startup Weekend, beating out 27 other companies.

GradFly will be launching a private beta version of the website by the end of September. Find GradFly at: http://www.gradf.ly

More about Z80 Labs
Z80 Labs’ mission is to serve as a catalyst, transforming Buffalo and Western New York into a technology hotbed. By creating an environment that gives entrepreneurs exposure to industry leaders typically available only in New York City or Silicon Valley, Z80 Labs will kick-start entrepreneur-driven tech businesses within an accelerated environment, bolstering the local economy.

Z80 Labs’ main focus is on digital media, mobile and Net-based companies, providing valuable support across a wide range of service areas to help Buffalo-based entrepreneurs grow into self-sustaining businesses.

In addition to Z80 Labs co-founders Jordan Levy and Ron Schreiber of Softbank Capital, several luminaries have committed to help the incubator including Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures; Brad Feld, Foundry Group; Bijan Sabet, Spark Capital; Eric Hippeau, Lerer Ventures; Roger Ehrenberg, IA Ventures; Woody Benson, Prism VentureWorks; Mo Kaufman, Spark Capital; Jonah Peretti, Buzzfeed and co-founder of The Huffington Post; Jordan Cooper, Hyperpublic; Dan Porter, OMGPOP; Mark Pincus, Zynga; Gary Ginsberg, Time Warner; Mike Perlis, Forbes Media; Jim Spanfeller, Spanfeller Media Group; and Andrew Siegel, Advance Newhouse.

Additionally, the Z80 Labs Investment Committee will serve as a selection committee, meeting regularly to review and accept top applicants. The founding committee is Jordan Levy; Ron Schreiber; David Kimelberg, CEO of Seneca Development Corporation; Ron Frankel, president and CEO of Synacor; and Eric Reich, co-founder and CEO of StudentVoice.

For more information or specifics about how to apply to Z80 Labs, or for information, please visit Z80Labs.com.

About Z80 Labs
Z80 Labs, launched in summer 2012, is Buffalo’s first Internet-focused technology incubator, providing entrepreneurs the ability to build new and innovative tech companies in Buffalo, New York. Startups invited to locate in Z80 Labs are given a wide array of services including office space, tech support, collaboration tools, weekly education programs, specifically-assigned mentorship teams, access to the Z80 Speaker Series, amenities and infrastructure from local companies, as well as expert advice from renowned industry advisors. Z80 Labs is funded by Softbank Capital, with additional funding from SCP Incubator via a grant from New York State and ESD. Corporate support is being provided by The Buffalo News, Campus Labs, PC Business Solutions, and Synacor. Z80 Labs is located in The Buffalo News headquarters in downtown Buffalo.

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Dan Magnuszewski
dan@z80labs.com
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