Global organization to work with Buffalo startups

By Dan Miner
Buffalo Business First

John Gavigan was a former executive director of 43North. (Image courtesy of 43North)

A global organization dedicated to supporting fast-growth startups is launching a new office in Western New York.

Endeavor Global Inc.'s Buffalo operation will be led by two familiar faces in local startup and economic development circles: John Gavigan, the former executive director of 43North, will be the managing director; Alan Rosenhoch, previously of Invest Buffalo Niagara, will be entrepreneur selection and growth account manager.

Endeavor will operate out of 50 Fountain Plaza in downtown Buffalo.

The project is supported by a $2 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation (the grant was made in 2018), with additional funding from HSBC Bank USA, Wegmans Food Markets and the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation.

Endeavor runs a highly selective program that seeks startups led by high-impact entrepreneurs, then connects them to business opportunities, funding and mentorship. Two companies from Buffalo and one from Rochester are currently in the pipeline for full approval into the program, and Gavigan said the target is to onboard about five companies a year through the Buffalo office.

"The first thing we're looking for is high-impact entrepreneurs, the faces of innovation in their region, who are hard-wired to put their time, treasure and talent back into the community," Gavigan said. "Number two is businesses that are innovative, have the potential create lots of jobs and are reaching a prime inflection point in their life cycles."

Endeavor was started in 1997 and has helped more than 2,000 entrepreneurs build more than 1,200 companies since that time. Buffalo is its eighth affiliate office in the U.S., including one that has been successful in Detroit and helped secure support from the Wilson Foundation. The Foundation invests in Western New York and the Detroit region.

“While we’ve been preparing to launch Endeavor in Western New York for more than a year, our arrival obviously comes at a very important time," Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg said. "When economies turn down, entrepreneurs turn up. We see enormous potential to help Buffalo and Rochester’s most innovative entrepreneurs scale up and multiply their impact on the region by investing in, mentoring and inspiring the next generation."

Endeavor's Buffalo chapter will be a nonprofit governed by a founding board of directors from the Buffalo business community, including John Somers, CEO of Harmac Medical Products; Greg Duval, HSBC's regional executive and managing director; Gene Gramza, managing partner of Ernst & Young LLP's Buffalo office; Scott Stenclik, CEO of Aleron; Deborah Biedenkopf, CEO of MB2Group; and Christine Whitman, CEO of Complemar Partners.

It is the second global, big-name entrepreneurship organization to set up shop in Buffalo in as many years. Last year, Techstars announced that Buffalo would be the site of its debut Startup Ecosystem Development initiative, now also led by two recognizable faces in Buffalo startups, Jack Greco and Clark Dever.

Gavigan said he's known about Endeavor for about four years, stretching back to his time at 43North. He said he's especially excited about building a bridge between the business communities of Rochester and Buffalo, between which many personal connections already exist.

"This is an opportunity to knit the interest of two cities together and to really function as one community," Gavigan said. "Alan and I and our board get to sit in the epicenter of that."

This article originally appeared in Buffalo Business First.