...the Vconnect platform will become a strategic resource connecting entrepreneurs with capital providers, team members, mentors, service providers and other supporters across the entire Upstate region.
Syracuse, NY (PRWEB) February 4, 2010
Veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Little Falls, N.Y., resident Martin Babinec announced Tuesday the launch of Upstate Venture Connect (UVC), a not-for-profit organization that seeks to accelerate the transformation of Upstate New York’s economy into an entrepreneurial powerhouse by connecting entrepreneurs, investors and venture talent to establish a large number of small, innovation-oriented companies.
Upstate Venture Connect is built on the premise of increasing collaboration between existing institutions, resources and the region’s world-class human assets. The organization will strengthen partnerships between Upstate higher education institutions and community based entrepreneur support programs, as well as help connect college alumni with those seeking to build new companies Upstate. A key element of this effort is the creation of Vconnect, a highly interactive web-based platform that will create a mega community of individuals and institutions committed to growing private capital backed businesses across the Upstate region. An informational Web site is now live at http://www.UpstateVentureConnect.org.
The vision for creating a platform to increase collaboration between existing institutions, resources and the region’s world-class human assets was first laid out in a keynote speech Babinec delivered at the fall 2007 “I Live New York” conference in Cortland, N.Y. During the following 18 months, he gathered input from both private and public sector resources in Upstate New York, and built an advisory board representing incubation experts, investors and early stage entrepreneurs from Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Ithaca to further explore paths to optimize growth of emerging innovation companies. Within the advisory group, a general consensus emerged that the largest roadblock early stage innovation companies face Upstate is getting connected to the right capital providers, team members and mentors appropriate for supporting an emerging company’s unique vision and strategy.
“It is clear that Upstate has many of the assets necessary for building an innovation-oriented economy, but those assets are thinly spread and disconnected from each other,” said Babinec. “I have met hundreds of former Upstate residents living in every major innovation hub who want to help the region, but have no easy way to learn about or connect with Upstate entrepreneurs. UVC will help Upstate entrepreneurs learn how to overcome these obstacles and the Vconnect platform will become a strategic resource connecting entrepreneurs with capital providers, team members, mentors, service providers and other supporters across the entire Upstate region.”
"Upstate NY currently has multiple educational and regional entrepreneurial networks,” said Jim Senall, president of High Tech Rochester and a member of the UVC advisory board. “UVC will allow interconnection of these networks, as well as a way to broaden our collective reach, resulting in the critical mass of resources and connections that we all need to build successful venture-backed companies.”
“UVC can build momentum for the creation of large numbers of emerging, innovation-oriented, smaller companies that will have greater appeal for Upstate’s talented college graduates who otherwise tend to leave the region following graduation,” said Zach Shulman, managing partner for the Ithaca-based Cayuga Venture Fund, and UVC advisory board member. “Some of these companies will likely be attractive to venture capital investors and serve to attract additional investments in our region.”
Other members of UVC’s advisory board include: Nasir Ali, president of The Tech Garden in Syracuse; Marnie LaVigne, Ph.D., director of business development for the University at Buffalo Center for Advanced Technology; and Peter Pritchard, program director of acceleration for the Center for Economic Growth in Albany.
UVC is headquartered at The Tech Garden, 235 Harrison St., Syracuse, N.Y. 13202.
About Martin Babinec
Martin Babinec founded TriNet HR Corp. in 1988 in San Leandro, Calif. The company provides a suite of payroll, benefits and human resources outsourcing solutions and has grown to serve more than 8,000 emerging growth companies throughout the United States and Canada – making it one of the largest HR outsourcing providers for small to mid-sized companies in the country. Babinec served as CEO from the company’s inception until 2008 and Chairman through 2009. He remains active in the company as a director and industry advocate. Babinec has been recognized as a recipient of the Silicon Valley Entrepreneur of the Year Award and is well known in emerging technology and venture capital circles throughout the country.
Babinec moved his family to his Upstate hometown of Little Falls in 1999, spending the next 10 years commuting from Upstate to Silicon Valley while still running TriNet. His decision to step down as TriNet’s Chairman was in part motivated by his desire to concentrate more fully on transforming the Upstate economy, as envisioned through his creation of UVC.
“My wife and I made a commitment to return to Upstate to raise our children more than 10 years ago while I was working in California. During the past decade, I spent a lot of time identifying differences between the two economies as I commuted between the San Francisco Bay Area and Upstate New York,” said Babinec.
“I’ve been fortunate to have been at the helm in experiencing all phases of growing a company from concept in an unknown industry to a major corporate presence today. In supporting my customers, this has included a lot of exposure to how innovation companies get formed and grow in other parts of the country. The time is right for me to put that knowledge and my resources to work in helping lead a needed transformation of the Upstate economy,” said Babinec.
“I am invigorated by the challenge that lays ahead in building a substantial organization. UVC must have deep program management resources in addition to world-class technology infrastructure if we are to progress on our goal of stimulating transformational change. My preliminary discussions with educational institutions, private foundations and successful entrepreneurs have all been encouraging as we hope to build partnerships with these groups to support our vision of a sustaining organization.”
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