Raising Series A in the Spring of 2020
Noa Simons, Executive Director, Upstate Capital
A fraction of angel-backed companies raise Series A funds from institutional venture capital investors*, and generally, even fewer in “fly-over” regions like Upstate New York. Out of 1,328 VCs in the US today (according to the NVCA annual report that came out in April**), 359 are headquartered in NY, but there are fewer than a handful based outside NYC.
Historically, the reason for little presence upstate is a lack of “doable” deals. That is changing. The region had its first unicorn, ACV Auctions, topping $1B valuation last year. And while over the past 3 years, around 30 Series A deals have been done, almost half were done in the past year. VCs are starting to take notice, and venture deal activity is increasing.
Last week, Upstate Capital hosted Venture NY, an event to showcase high-potential startups raising late seed & Series A to venture investors, with a focus on Upstate NY companies. Nearly 20 companies pitched across several sectors, including consumer, cleantech, medtech, health IT and software. And, there were 20 more companies that could have pitched. Nearly 30 investors joined the invite-only pitch program from all across the country.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the health IT presenters shared his perspective on raising a Series A round. Dave Fuehrer, CEO of GRYT Health based in Rochester NY, talked about raising capital and how his business is developing, both because of the current pandemic and because of the way customers have influenced the evolution of Gryt’s fundamental value propositions. In the 7-minute video below, Dave discusses funding, milestones, and mentorship, and offers some advice to other entrepreneurs.
Consider this a call to action to venture capitalists to spend more time, perhaps even open offices, in Upstate NY. The Upstate Capital Association of New York is the nexus for making connections across the region. Learn more and become a member at upstatecapital.org/membership.
*Defined as professionally managed venture capital firms with traditional Limited Partner/General Partner structures.
**The NVCA 2020 Yearbook can be found here.