November 13, 2017
Hon. Robin Schimminger
Member of Assembly
Chair, Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry
New York State Assembly
Dear Representative Schimminger,
My testimony today is with perspective as an Upstate native who moved away, built a Silicon Valley Company, then returned home where I have since committed to helping other people start and grow companies in Upstate NY.
- As an entrepreneur, I founded and grew TriNet, a Silicon Valley company that supports more than 10,000 emerging tech companies across the U.S. with cloud based HR services. TriNet employs about 3,000 people and is listed on the NY Stock Exchange with an enterprise of $3 billion.
- I am a direct investor in 26 startup companies, and also a limited partner in 13 funds that collectively invest in more than 120 startup companies. The combination of these investments makes me New York’s largest individual investor in Upstate startup companies.
- My principle activity for the last seven years has been as Chairman of Upstate Venture Connect, a 501(c)(3) non profit public benefit corporation organized on the mission of helping first time entrepreneurs in newer industries get connected to the resources they need to start and grow companies across the entire Upstate New York region.
I founded Upstate Venture Connect and volunteer on a substantially full time basis without compensation.
UVC’s reach has grown to building a networking that today numbers more than 15,000 people. This network includes aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs, capital and service providers, students and academics, and a variety of start community supporters across Upstate and beyond.
UVC helped start six different member managed seed capital funds involving local angel investors that have collectively invested $20+ million in more than 80 companies. Out communication channels and custom built networks like the UNY50 Leadership Network, support dozens of local startup community organizations and activities that now spill across geographical and institutional boundaries to help entrepreneurs connect with resources not previously accessible to them.
My remarks today are related to the path of economic development, which I believe holds the greatest promise for stimulating faster job growth Upstate – how to get more companies started in the newer industries with talent we already have here.
What are startups and where to they locate?