Investment Program Manager Christine Marchuska joined the Koffman Incubator team in February 2019, bringing with her vast investment experience from her time on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley. This experience is being utilized to its fullest as she assists member start-ups with the critical tasks involved in funding their ventures. Marchuska is putting a major emphasis on involving the regional investment community and local leaders with the budding businesses within the Koffman.
“The Koffman Incubator offers a suite of resources to build and strengthen start-ups, but it is the support of the greater community which solidifies success,” says Marchuska.
“With investments coming in from across the country, local investors are saying, ‘hey, I want to be involved too!’”
Marchuska’s first initiative was to host a start-up pitch event in late March. This invite-only event gathered a range of potential investors who watched four up-and-coming companies pitch their start-ups. Eighteen potential investors attended in-person with several people joining via phone. The background of the attendees spanned from the healthcare space, real estate development, various entrepreneurial ventures, financial services, insurance, and other local industries.
The presenting companies included two from the healthcare space (TeleHealth365 and PUPP), one from the hospitality industry (SpinGig), and one from the energy/fintech realm (Empeq). Attendees provided valuable feedback, shared resources with the companies and made investments. Two local investors, Justin Marchuska II, local real estate developer, and Jeremy Sager, local contractor, invested in Telehealth365, a start-up focused on telemedicine.
Press coverage on Justin Marchuska II’s investment can be found here.
Additionally, Marchuska has been forming synergies outside of the region to complement local resources. She has actively combined efforts with several other incubators, angel organizations, and VC funds, developing a robust network of resources for member start-ups. Most recently, she has been working with Vonzos, a Silicon Valley VC consortium that offers angel investing and pitch day opportunities as well as mentoring via their Entrepreneurs in Residence. Vonzos has taken an interest in multiple member start-ups and one in particular, which they are in-process of considering a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for a $5 million dollar capital raise.
Marchuska continues to develop opportunities which bridge developing start-ups and the local community. Investor luncheons are planned to facilitate major announcements and further develop community connections. Investing workshops will be hosted throughout the year to provide valuable insights to start-ups and community members interested.
If you haven’t visited the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator, Marchuska recommends scheduling a tour.
“Whether you are a resident excited about this growing ecosystem, an investor or a start-up company, we encourage you to see the space, learn about the programming and meet with the team,” says Marchuska.
– Cory Kimmell