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Start-Up Companies Vie for Venture Capital Dollars

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – High tech start-up companies created by upstate New York colleges and universities showed off a new line products in Amherst Thursday. It was an effort to entice potential investors.

A wide array of new technology was displayed for venture capitalists, service providers and entrepreneurs. Eleven upstate schools hosted the third annual UNYTECH event. Robert Genco, vice provost of science,technology, transfer and economic outreach at UB, says this program allows companies to place their product before the eyes of investors.

"One company is producing a device that stimulates bone regeneration," Genco said. "We have another company that allows various components of electronic systems -- computers, televisions and cell phones -- to talk to each other in a wireless fashion."

Ryan O'Donnell is with a company called BullEx Digital Safety from Troy, New York. He says three months ago they launched a brand new fire extinguisher training system.

"Our company is the only manufacturer of fire extinguisher training systems that don't require dry chemicals or carbon dioxide extinguishers to be discharged during training," O'Donnell said. "Because of that, we are able to reduce the cost of extinguisher training by 94 percent."

O'Donnell says one of the biggest problems the company faces is keeping up with the demand for the training system. But Thursday, BullEx had a chance to pitch to potential investors that could help expand the company.

"We're currently seeking investment capital to be able to meet demand," O'Donnell said. "We think this venture fair is a wonderful opportunity to be able to get our business plan in front of potential investors and hopefully secure some funding."

In the first two years of the formation of UNYTECH, 27 start-up companies presented to over 400 investors. That resulted in $14 million in funding, mostly from the private sector.