The first annual Southern Tier Start-Up Summit was held Friday, May 4th in Binghamton at The Koffman Southern Tier Incubator (KSTI). Marking the one year anniversary of the opening of the incubator, Dan Mori, Director of Business Incubation at KSTI, planned the summit to be a gathering of “founders, entrepreneurs, business professionals, investors, and economic catalysts to celebrate how far we have come, and share in the vision for the future.”
There is certainly a lot to celebrate. Since the incubator’s launch in spring of 2017, the building has reached 90 percent occupancy, and has helped startup companies in the region raise nearly $10 million in funding. KSTI currently houses 35 startup businesses, several of which were showcased at the Summit.
Members of KSTI’s Business Incubation and Clean Energy programs, MiroBELLA, Enduraphin, and Brash Engines pitched their business plans to a packed room of entrepreneurial enthusiasts. Generation Vote, My Lil’ Healthbot, along with several other startups also got their shot at the “Shark Tank” style event.
Attendees heard from various speakers including Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger and entrepreneurs like Dave Mirsky ’76, Co-founder and CEO of Pacific Rim Capital, and Maggie Chan Jones, BU graduate and founder and CEO of Tenshey, Inc. Traveling investor Paul Singh of Results Junkies made a stop on his North American Tech Tour to offer advice and inspiration for companies seeking capital in his speaker session.
Live demos by Enhance VR, a company building virtual reality simulators founded by BU senior Matt Gill, and Muckles’ Ink, a commercial screen-printing company co-founded by BU alumni Casey Coolbaugh, showcased the regions diversity of startups.
Panel workshops varied from “MWBE Certification and Benefits” with SUNY Broome’s Darlene Kanuk, to “The FUNDamentals of FUNDing” drawing together regional investment experts like Noa Simons of Upstate Capital, and Brad Treat of The Southern Tier Startup Alliance.
Bob Murphy, Director of Economic Development in the City of Binghamton, summed up the event, “the Startup Summit was definitely a major milestone in igniting the entrepreneurial spirit in this area.”