Upstate NY venture fund scouts Albany for potential tech investments
A Rochester, NY venture capital fund made its first investment in an Albany-area tech company, and it won't be the last. Excell Partners provided $150,000 to MICROrganic Technologies, a start-up near Troy, NY that works to convert chemical energy from wastewater treatment systems into electrical energy. Brent Solina, a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, founded the company in 2010. MICROrganic set up shop in the basement of Schodack middle school earlier this year. Rami Katz, chief operating officer for Excell, said he is interested in working with more companies in the Capital Region because of the area's strengths in biotechnology and nanotechnology.
"About 40 percent of our technologies are life sciences and biotechnology," Katz said. "Another 30 percent is in materials science and energy-related. It all has to be high-tech, and we look at strength across upstate New York."
Excell has invested in more than 40 companies, with an average investment of $200,000. Excell provides funding for about 10 companies per year. The fund currently supports businesses in Buffalo, Ithaca, Rochester and Syracuse. Katz said Albany is an important addition to the organization's footprint.
"In Albany, there are a lot of resources and it is an inexpensive area to do business and grow a start-up," he said. "We are hoping that this investment is the first among many."
I asked Katz if Excell has its eyes set on any particular start-ups in the Albany area. He said the fund is in discussions with a couple of other companies located in the region. "We are hoping some deals will be not too far around the corner," Katz said. "Albany is a very good place to do business." Viccaro covers state government and technology