Earlier this month, Eric Reich, Board Member, 43North & TechBuffalo joined Mike Langellier, President and CEO of TechPoint at Seneca One to talk about Buffalo’s thriving tech ecosystem and how we can continue to scale. 

Over the last decade, Mike has played a role in helping Indianapolis build a thriving tech ecosystem, specifically through TechPoint – a non-profit that platformizes the tech community for companies, and accelerates the resources available to drive ecosystem growth. After 11 years, Indianapolis has 9 unicorns and now it’s one of the fastest-growing markets for VC investments in the world. 

With one unicorn of our own, how can Buffalo continue to accelerate its growth? 

In Mike’s eyes, a city has to have some specific “key ingredients” in order to thrive – which he sees in Buffalo. 

 

Committed Pillar Employers – Such as Seneca One. Thanks to Douglas Development, Seneca One is now a multi-use high rise and Buffalo’s own tech hub; home to places like M&T Bank, 43North, Serendipity Labs, and more. The companies that call Seneca One home are committed to hiring local talent and growing Buffalo’s tech ecosystem.

Emerging, successful, scale-up stage companies – The recent growth and success of companies such as ACV Auctions, Circuit Clinical, Kickfurther, Kangarootime, Squire, Tackle, and Jerry (just to name a few )is the kickoff to the success of other startups. These companies have 

Strategic funding – 👋  Hey, that’s us! New York state’s investment in 43North and other programs is vital to helping businesses scale and stay local. Additionally, individual investments in entities like ACV can generate high returns and wealth that can then be used for new ventures as investors realize their earnings. 

Momentum and a community that believes – That’s you! Community support is critical to our tech ecosystem’s growth and that support can look like: investing in local startups, working for local startups, and sharing their products/services with those who can benefit. All of that helps fuel the momentum that our community is experiencing. In 2019, Buffalo and 43North got our first unicorn and since then, we’ve experienced explosive growth across our ecosystem, multiple companies raising, an IPO, the establishment of the 43North foundation, Seneca One’s revitalization,  M&T’s Tech Hub, the launch of Buffalo Inno, and more. 

A committed core of individuals that can make it happen – Buffalo has a number of visionaries who have come together to form public and private partnerships and who are committed to making this happen here. 

While Buffalo has what it takes to scale, as a community, we still need to do the work. Mike says, 

“The regions, the metros that get it right first, will win more than the ones that get it later.” 

With the ability to work remotely, it’s vital to create an ecosystem that makes entrepreneurs and talent want to stay here. So, how do we do that? Well, startups need to be successful. It’s the larger success stories, such as ACV, that befits the success of others. Once a company figures out how to gain ground in Buffalo, those resources, expertise, and learnings become available for the next founder/entrepreneur/team to do the same thing, thus begins the flywheel 

While we can speak to entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs all day, developing a thriving tech hub in the city of Buffalo isn’t just for the founders – it’s for the entire community. 

Both Mike and Eric note, we need to create a culture of abundance and make tech accessible to everyone. 

This means, creating an inclusive tech community for both founders and employees, regardless of where they went to school or what neighborhood they grew up in. Those are the things that are going to change our community and make tech accessible to everyone. 

To watch the full conversation, click here

Ready to find your role in the innovation ecosystem? Explore Forge Buffalo, our hub for job opportunities in the tech and startup space.