The Upstate Capital community came together on December 7, 2022 at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester to celebrate the achievements of people and companies from the Upstate investment ecosystem at every stage of investment. Events like this highlight the work people in our community are doing all across New York to make this region a vibrant place for private capital investors to do deals. It’s been an exciting year with more than 400 deals done in Upstate NY.
Nominees for each category here.
The Seed Nominees raised between $500,000 and $5M in early-stage funding in the past 12 months. Seed Deal of the Year Winner: CAHill Tech. For the company, the $1m round raised is accelerating hiring and product development to provide more trades-based training to more people globally. With new strategic investors, they are localizing their flagship product, aQuiRe, in Spanish. They are delivering on their mission of democratizing access to training for people seeking employment in the trades.
The Venture Nominees raised between $5M and $20M in equity investment in the past 12 months. Venture Deal of the Year Winner: Ursa Space Systems. The company provides decision makers with geospatial data and analytics services from a virtual constellation of over 200 earth observation satellites. The investment enabled Ursa Space to continue operations to grow the team to develop improvements in scalability and automation and support important missions where geospatial information is of value, such as the crisis in Ukraine, helping to save many lives.
The Growth Nominees raised more than $20M in equity investment in the past 12 months. Growth Deal of the Year Winner: Viridi Parente. Viridi, based in Buffalo, NY, designs and builds fail-safe battery systems that are redefining energy storage and powering the transition to renewable energy. These systems provide on-demand, affordable power for use in industrial, medical, commercial, municipal, and residential building applications. The company raised its seed capital locally prior to this raising this round, from investors including the Western NY Impact Investment Fund.
The Private Equity Nominees had a significant private equity transaction in the past 12 months. Private Equity Deal of the Year Winner: EWASTE+. Since 1995, EWASTE+ has offered full spectrum IT Asset Disposition services including certified electronics recycling, onsite collection, data sanitization, hard-drive destruction, product refurbishment, resource recovery, and chain-of-custody documentation. EWASTE+ has become the premier partner/vendor of choice for business, government, medical, and educational organizations. EWASTE+ facilities in Rochester, Albany, and New York City have diverted over 200 million pounds of electronic waste from disposal in landfills – all while rigorously adhering to federal and state regulatory compliance.
The Exit Nominees had a significant transaction in the last 12 months where a VC/PE-backed founder based in Upstate NY has sold substantially the entire business to a strategic or financial buyer and where substantial value was created and generated for the company’s owners and investors. Exit Deal of the Year Winner: TCGplayer. TCGplayer is committed to the collectibles community — creating tools and services that empower hobbyists and retailers to connect online and within their local communities to improve the exchange of the products and content they love most. TCGplayer will continue to operate autonomously as one of the largest online marketplaces for trading card games while benefiting from eBay’s decades of industry experience, powerful technology solutions, a shared vision, common core values, and a deep commitment to the collectibles community. This transaction represents an incredible milestone for the TCGplayer team. Chedy shared with us that as part of this transaction, all 688 TCGplayers — hourly and salaried — were able to share in the financial rewards of this deal due to our employee stock option plan. Evercore acted as exclusive financial advisor and Cooley LLP acted as legal counsel to TCGplayer in the transaction.
The Dealmaker of the Year award is given annually to a person in the Upstate NY ecosystem who has demonstrated commitment to the region, to Upstate Capital, while being very active in the investment community. Dealmaker of the Year Winner: Jennifer Tegan. Jennifer is a former president of the Upstate Capital board of directors and after nearly 20 years with Cayuga Venture Fund, she was selected to lead NY Ventures, Empire State Development’s direct investment program.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Congratulations to Denny DeLeo, this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for his contributions to the Upstate business community. Denny’s illustrious career has spanned creating impact in many fields from law to venture capital and innovative technology. In 2003, he helped to start the Upstate Capital Association of NY to attract more venture capital to the region. His work at Kodak, Trillium, the Venture Jobs Foundation, Impellent Ventures, and now Innovation Semiconductor have contributed both to investment in Upstate NY startups and technology advancement globally.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
This event was made possible by the support of annual and event sponsors. Organizations like Upstate Capital rely on financial support in many ways, including annual sponsorship, membership and events.
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