Startfast Venture Accelerator: Syracuse Entrepreneurship


A friend and local entrepreneur, Kyle Blumin tipped me off to this incredibly exciting project. Startfast Venture Accelerator is a Syracuse-based business accelerator that aims to not only make people aware of the rich entrepreneurial opportunities in Upstate New York, but to actually get start-up companies through the early stages of development into viability and beyond. Startfast 2013 currently accepting applications. Whether or not you’re looking to get involved, I hope you’ll stick around to hear why it’s exciting.

Here’s some back story for you. Startfast was created in part by an organization called Upstate Venture Connect, which was founded by Martin Babinec. Mr. Babinec is an entrepreneur who started a successful company in California’s Silicon Valley. He decided to move back to Upstate in 1999 while still running it. For ten years he commuted between New York and Silicon Valley and an intriguing idea took root in his mind. After identifying the many great assets of Upstate New York–our high standard of living, many smart, entrepreneurial individuals, world-class educational institutions, and a generally wide open market–he wondered why an area in many ways similar to Silicon Valley was so sparse in start-ups. Given these assets, Babinec also wondered why the Silicon Valley model (private capital and angel investment) wasn’t a common thing in the area. Interesting, exciting questions with potentially amazing implications, no doubt. As a result UVC was started as a way to address–and even solve–these questions. The organization aims to build an entrepreneur-led ecosystem in Upstate New York, one in which these entrepreneurs have access to the venture capital networks in order to get funded and make something big happen HERE. It may be a utopian vision to picture Upstate New York as the East Coast Silicon Valley, but it’s an incredibly moving and powerful lens to see our potential through. It’s also a vision that I find personally compelling.

With the backing of a organization like UVC with a guy like Babinec at the helm, Startfast Venture Accelerator is a real world manifestation of the ideal I took all those words to explain. It’s also the ultimate program for Upstate New York software, internet, and mobile entrepreneurs to know about. It’s not just another business incubator either. Startfast provides best entrepreneurial mentors (those who have actually done it themselves) from Upstate and elsewhere, program leaders (including Martin Babinec) with exceptional careers (one with acquisitions exits totaling $100,000,000+), and real investments in accepted teams’ ventures. The program provides accepted teams with enough money to pursue the venture full-time, co-working space, meaningful resources to work with and constant feedback from mentors. The end game for Startfast is to get the funding needed to rapidly expand, scale, and achieve a successful exit. It’s the real deal.

Here’s just some of what’s on the table via Startfast:

  • Up to $18,000 in cash and over $100,000 in perks
  • Access to high quality, affordable talent;
  • Ability to achieve your goals not just faster, but with an ultra low burn rate;
  • Our successful track record of getting companies funded;
  • Support from an emerging, globally connected entrepreneurial community;

The catch: There is no catch since 100% of Startfast’s funding is via private sources. There’s also no residency requirement after the program. Startfast is very much an investment in the entrepreneurial potential of CNY and Upstate New York. That’s why you’re seeing it featured here.

Note: I’m hoping at least a few struggling and/or start-up entrepreneurs stumble across this article and consider applying. Or maybe grab the interest of a successful entrepreneur who wants to mentor.¬†Remember, Startfast 2013 is for software and internet start-ups only. Whether or not this specific program applies to you, the great work behind the scenes at Startfast and Upstate Venture Connect should inspire Upstate New Yorkers collectively.




Don’t let this program pass you by. The sooner you register, the better!

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