With a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Rochester, Dr. LaVigne has spent more than 30 years in both the private and public sectors creating new products and start-up businesses, driving innovation and economic growth in technology-based companies. Her for profit experience includes co-founding health informatics businesses employing more than 100 people, two initial public offerings, and product development in large biomedical companies. In 2014, after heading economic development at the University at Buffalo where she drove a 60:1 return on investment, she became the President and CEO of Launch NY, which she co-founded in 2011 to serve high-growth potential startups in the western half of New York State.
Launch NY is a nonprofit venture development organization that has provided pro bono mentoring and the most active seed fund in the state among its #investlocal financing programs to over 1350 companies, supporting more than 4500 jobs. As one of fewer than 16 U.S. Treasury designated venture funding Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) nationwide, 70 percent of Launch NY client companies are in low income neighborhoods. Launch NY offers specialty accelerator programs including Emerging Cleantech Opportunity Incubator and Founders Go Big for underrepresented entrepreneurs.