Release Date: April 15, 2013
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Jordan Levy — venture capitalist, entrepreneur, Synacor board member and co-founder of Buffalo’s Z80 Labs technology incubator — will speak with University at Buffalo students on April 17, offering his take on why we need to change the way we think to foster entrepreneurship.
The lecture will be free and open to the public. It will begin at 7 p.m. on April 17 at the Mainstage Theatre at the Center for the Arts on UB’s North Campus.
The talk is the Keynote Lecture for UB’s Entrepreneurship Academy, one of five Undergraduate Academies that create a sense of community at UB by enabling students with common interests to live together and share meaningful learning experiences throughout their college years.
Levy, a UB alumnus, is a general partner at SoftBank Capital NY and managing partner at Seed Capital Partners, an early-stage venture capital fund that he co-founded in 1999. A serial entrepreneur, he is co-founder of Buffalo’s Z80 Labs technology incubator, Software Distribution Services (now known as Ingram Micro) and ClientLogic.
The event flyer for his talk advertises him as a man “who backed The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, eTrade, Synacor, DrawSomething, BuddyMedia” and others.
The lecture is titled “Changing the Way We Think,” and will focus on the need to create a better climate for entrepreneurship in Western New York.
“People don’t look at business with optimism. They’re cynical,” Levy told the Buffalo News in a Q&A in December 2012.
“We have a culture of kids that graduate from college and they’d rather go to work for the bank than start their own company,” he told the News. “Investors would rather put their money in CDs.”
As part of the event, UB will recognize the first-place winners of an April 10 elevator pitch competition that gave UB students 90 seconds to pitch a business idea to a panel of judges that included area entrepreneurs (see a video of contest highlights here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoXjQam0-xY).
The winners were UB students Kristina Monakhova, an undergraduate in electrical engineering who was pitching a full-body scanner that would help doctors determine which patients should receive care in triage situations, and Michael Radosta, a graduate student in learning and instruction who was pitching a digital tool that would use a 3-D immersive game environment to help train nurses. Each received a $1,000 prize and was representing a team of UB students.
The Entrepreneurship Academy, led by School of Management Associate Professor Yong Li, PhD, debuted this fall with about 40 undergraduate students. Students in the academy live together, enjoy the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs in Western New York and develop plans for entrepreneurial endeavors.