Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Helping 1,000 startups in 2,000 days

Veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Babinec is looking for an Albany-area university to team up with him.

Babinec, of Little Falls, N.Y., founded Upstate Venture Connect in January and already has partnered with Cornell University, Syracuse University and LeMoyne College in Central New York to make it easier for technology startups to succeed.

Babinec formed UVC with a goal of helping entrepreneurs team up with advisers and find access to investors to increase their odds of survival. UVC seeks to help create 1,000 technology startups in upstate New York over the next 2,000 days.

“For entrepreneurs to get connected here is extremely difficult,” Babinec said.

UVC, a nonprofit, is developing a database and social network for mentors, advisers, startup companies, incubators and investors.

Teaming up with upstate universities to create a network of resources to help entrepreneurs solve funding, marketing, sales and commercialization problems is a key that Babinec said will help upstate encourage the development of more startup companies.

The resident of Herkimer County, N.Y., spent 22 years building TriNet HR Corp., a San Leandro, Calif.-based human resources outsourcing company, into a national firm with $200 million in annual revenue and more than 2,800 clients in the Unites States.

Babinec, who remains on the TriNet board and is the second-largest shareholder of the private company, said he is dedicating the next 10 years to bringing some of Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurship culture to upstate New York.

UVC is run by Nasir Ali, president of The Tech Garden in Syracuse.

Last month, UVC opened an office in Saratoga Springs. Greg Gibson, an entrepreneur who moved to Saratoga Springs from Boston two years ago, is running the local office.

“Upstate has many of the assets necessary to build an innovation-oriented economy,” Babinec said. They include 113 universities and colleges, roughly 500,000 students who attract more than $3 billion in research funding each year.

Those assets are spread out and do not work together as much as they should.

By partnering with universities throughout upstate, Babinec said he hopes to start changing the entrepreneurship culture here.


Read more: Helping 1,000 startups in 2,000 days The Business Review

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