/// Silicon Snowbank: A New Incubator for Buffalo to Give Local Start-Ups a Different Set of Wings

July 23, 2012  |  All Things Digital

Actually, if truth be told, Buffalo is one of the loveliest places to visit in the summer, especially if you’re lucky enough to be right next to the majestic Lake Erie. And that is where the Z80 Labs will have its grand opening today in the Queen City, home of chicken wings and lots and lots of snow, by launching its first start-up called AppVue. I paid a visit to the new facility, which is in a large airy room on the first floor of the Buffalo News, this past weekend, while visiting the Western New York city. What’s most heartening to see, of course, is the definitely more earnest and rawer kind of entrepreneurism on display that is often lost in the slick, well-oiled machine of Silicon Valley. That was the point by well-known venture capitalist Jordan Levy of Softbank Capital, who has long split his time between New York City and his home in Buffalo. He founded the incubator with Softbank’s Ron Schreiber. “It’s easy for entrepreneurs in places like Palo Alto to get going,” the voluble Levy said to me on my visit. “We wanted to find a way to keep really great techies here to create an ecosystem that would be able to jumpstart even more and help this city keep jobs.” The longtime investor (pictured here) had already made scores of wins from fundings of companies, such as OMGPOP (sold to Zynga) and Buddy Media (sold to Salesforce.com). But Levy appears particularly proud of Buffalo-based Synacor, a successful cloud platform service for companies that want to put video online, where he serves as chairman. As the big tech dog in Buffalo, Synacor is playing a big role in Z80 Labs, which will primarily focus on making investments in digital media and mobile Internet companies. The tech incubator — which will provide office space, support and mentorship to its start-ups — is also getting an assist from a $4 million Innovate NY grant provided the state. Such a solid base is just what the founders of AppVue — which “specializes in mobile apps that make trusted recommendations among social media friends and networks” — told me they needed

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Silicon Snowbank: A New Incubator for Buffalo to Give Local Start-Ups a Different Set of Wings

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