Event Recap: The 2021 Saratoga Forum

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On August 4 – 5, 2021, Upstate Capital hosted an exclusive event for our Board of Directors, annual sponsors and invited guests in Saratoga Springs. The Saratoga Forum consisted of two days of curated content including CEO and investor conversations and exceptional networking with M&A and PE professionals, entrepreneurs, C-suite executives and industry leaders. 

On Day One, we met at the Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs for CEO conversations about building businesses. For the first conversation, we met three entrepreneurs and heard the story about building P1ston, a supply chain collaboration platform for manufacturers and distributors. PJ Bellomo, the Co-Founder and CEO of P1ston, has spent the last 20 years serving in c-suite positions at SaaS and tech-enabled startups, including RocketDocs, PropertyRoom, and Commerce-5. He spoke with John Cococcia, who works with early and growth stage companies as an investor, board member, trusted advisor and advocate, and he’s currently the Director of P1ston. Their conversation was moderated by Christine Tate, the COO at VARA Safety, a new type of firearm safety company with over $1M in sales.

Brian Model, Imran Cronk and Marissa Wiley then joined us for a conversation about building Ride Health. The company partners with healthcare organizations and transportation providers to manage transportation benefits, strengthen enterprise transportation programs, and improve access to care and social services for in-need populations. Marissa, a Partner at Nixon Peabody LLP, has extensive experience in M&A, debt and equity financing, strategic partnerships, venture capital investments and general corporate representation. She has also been named one of the 40 under 40 by the Albany Business Review and is on the Upstate Capital Executive Board of Directors. She moderated the conversation between Brian Model, also on the Executive Committee of Upstate Capital’s Board as well as Managing Partner at Topmark Partners, and Imran Cronk, the CEO of Ride Health.

We kicked off Day Two hearing from a group of investors who spoke about their current perspectives on the investment ecosystem. Frank McAvoy gave us an update on NYS Common, then he was joined with Jennifer Tegan of NY Ventures, Somak Chattopadhyay of Armory Square Ventures and Mike Lasch of Pine Street Capital Partners to talk about investing across New York.

Following their conversation, Hugh Johnson joined us to give his annual Saratoga Forum economic outlook. Hugh serves as the Chairman Emeritus of Graypoint LLC and Chairman of Hugh Johnson Advisors. He also serves as Chief Economist of both. In this position, he assists in the management of $2.1 billion in equity, fixed income, and cash investments for individual and institutional clients and assists as a consultant to $1.3 billion in institutional assets.

After the panels, the group headed to the Saratoga Race Course for lunch, networking and racing. 

This event was made possible by our event sponsors, Topmark Partners and Armory Square Ventures. Upstate Capital is proudly supported by our annual sponsors: New York Ventures, NYSERDA, GENIUS NY, KeyBank, SUNY RF, Grasshopper Bank, Graycliff Partners, FreedMaxick, Nixon Peabody, The Bonadio Group, Thompson Hine, Hamilton Lane and Bluehenge Capital Partners

Click here to see all the photos from the Saratoga Forum. For more information on annual sponsorship opportunities, please contact Upstate Capital’s President and CEO, Noa Simons at