Governor Cuomo Launches $50 Million Innovation Venture Capital Fund to Support and Attract New High Growth Businesses.

December 13, 2014

From the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

Fund Provides Critical Seed Money to Support Technology Start-Up Companies as Part of Governor’s Economic Development Agenda

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today launched the New York State Innovation Venture Capital Fund to support entrepreneurs making the transition from research to marketplace, and incentivize them to stay and grow their businesses in New York. As part of the Governor’s economic development agenda, the Fund will provide critical seed funding for the development of early-stage companies in high growth areas to create jobs and help launch, as well as attract new businesses to New York State. The $50 million fund is expected to leverage at least $100 million in private capital to support high growth areas including advanced materials, clean technology, life sciences/biotechnology and information technology.

“New York is home to some of the brightest minds in the world – and by launching this fund, we’re helping these budding entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market right here in the Empire State,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this action, we’re continuing New York’s legacy of innovation, as well as making another solid investment in this state’s future.”

The Fund will be comprised of two distinct segments. The Technology Commercialization Segment willfacilitate the commercialization efforts of start-up companies associated with New York’s universities and make small pre-seed stage investments of up to $100,000. The Seed and Early Stage Co-Investment Segment will invest directly in seedand/or early stage companies, with an emphasis on strategic industries such as information technology and life sciences/biotech, as well as relatively underserved areas of the state, with investments ranging from $100,000 to $5 million. Empire State Development will review each and approve all of the Fund’s investments.

The Fund is part of Governor Cuomo’s broader commercialization agenda in order to encourage innovation and drive economic growth in communities across the State. It is being coordinated with the State’s existing business resources and innovation investments, including the Governor’s START-UP NY program, Innovation Hot Spots, the Regional Economic Development Councils, the Centers of Advanced Technology and Centers of Excellence networks and the SUNY 2020 Initiative.

The Fund will be administered by Empire State Development (ESD) and managed by ESD’s new Innovation Venture Capital Fund Managing Director, Brian Keil. Mr. Keil previously served as Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development at Nielsen Audio. Prior to this role, Mr. Keil was a Managing Director and founding member of a $250 million venture capital fund sponsored by NBC Universal and GE Capital, where he sourced, executed and managed venture capital investments in the digital media sector.

ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, “The Innovation Venture Capital Fund complements New York’s existing business tools and helps connect the various components of the state’s innovation pipeline. We are excited Brian Keil has joined our team, helping to ensure the most promising startups get the support they need in early stage development and that New York State better competes for private-sector venture investment.”

Governor Cuomo also announced that the Fund will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of a volunteer Investment Committee, an advisory group comprised of experienced private investment professionals from around New York State. The Investment Committee will be chaired by Howard Morgan, a prominent venture capitalist and angel investor.

Dr. Morgan currently serves as a Partner with First Round Capital in New York and Philadelphia; Director of Idealab, the Pasadena, California-based creator and operator of internet companies where he was first a founding investor in 1996 and later served as President of Idealab! New York; and a member of the New York Angels. He is also a respected author and contributing writer for Business Insider.

Venture capitalist and First Round Capital Partner Howard Morgan said, “There are great opportunities throughout New York State that will benefit from the additional capital and support that the new fund can provide. I am hoping that many of the top venture firms will value the added impetus that the Innovation Venture Capital Fund brings to areas that are currently under supported and have had less visibility from traditional venture sources.”

For more information on the program, please visit

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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