Board of Directors' Biographies

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Board of Directors’ Biographies

 

George Chamoun, Chairperson/Treasurer

 

George Chamoun co-founded Synacor in 1998, helping transform the company from a privately-held start-up to a publicly-traded technology, services and revenue partner of leading cable, satellite, telecom, and consumer electronics companies. In his role as Synacor’s President, Sales & Marketing, Mr. Chamoun has been instrumental in creating a company that has innovated advanced, new technologies and services for over 17 years, and continues to deliver next-generation products to the most respected names in broadband and their consumers. As a Syracuse, NY native and University at Buffalo alumnus, Mr. Chamoun became an Upstate entrepreneurial hero due to his early success as founder and CEO right out of college for what has become a top e-communication infrastructure provider in the world.

 

Mr. Chamoun has been recognized for his accomplishments throughout the cable and telecommunications industry, most notably in 2009 when Multichannel News named him one of the publication's "40-under-40" most influential innovators in the industry, as well as when he was recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit and leadership by Ernst & Young as "Entrepreneur of the Year.” Mr. Chamoun has presented on entrepreneurship, business and technology at conferences, expos and seminars across the country, and participates on advisory boards for tech incubator Z80 Labs and the 43North International Business Plan Competition.

 

Jordan Levy, Vice Chairperson

 

As a recognized leader in the entrepreneur and investor community, Jordan Levy serves as in multiple roles: Managing Partner at both SoftBank NY and Seed Capital Partners, Co-Managing Partner of Z80 Labs, an Accelerator Fund, Chairman of 43North, the single largest business plan competition ever held in the United States. Prior to co-founding Seed Capital Partners, Mr. Levy was co-founder of ClientLogic and President, co-CEO and co-Chair of its predecessor companies SOFTBANK Services Group and Upgrade Corporation of America (now SITEL Worldwide). Previously, Mr. Levy was Senior Vice President of Software Etc (now GameStop GME:NASDAQ). He was also Executive Vice President and co-founder of Software Distribution Services, (now known as Ingram Micro IM:NASDAQ). Mr. Levy currently serves on the Board of Directors or as on Observer of several technology companies including Buzzfeed, Rebelmouse, Spanfeller Media, FieldLens, Shareablee, and Lover.ly. Levy holds a B.A. in Political Science, University at Buffalo.

 

Paul T. Hogan, Director

 

Paul Hogan is a native and resident of Buffalo, NY. He spent much of his teens and early twenties working in his family’s small office supply and printing business, eventually becoming general manager. After leaving to serve four years in the US Navy (which he spent shore-stationed in Spain), he decided to pursue a lifelong interest in writing at the University at Buffalo.

 

For over 18 years, Paul worked and consulted for a variety of non-profit organizations in the arts, adult education, research, and community health and healthcare. He was recruited in 2001 to be program officer with The John R. Oishei Foundation, a large, ($275m) general-purpose private foundation providing grants of about $18M annually to non-profit organizations throughout the western New York region. He was appointed Vice President in January, 2008 and promoted to Executive Vice President in January of 2014.

 

Zachary Shulman, Director

 

Zachary Shulman is a Managing Partner at the Cayuga Venture Fund, a leading venture capital firm that has raised four funds dedicated to growing promising, innovation-based start-up businesses in the region. Mr. Shulman also teaches at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, where he leads the Entrepreneurship@Cornell program. He currently serves as a Director of Primet Precision Materials, Advion BioSciences, e2e Materials, Instinctiv, and CherryPharm. Prior to joining CVF, Mr. Shulman was General Counsel at a technology startup that raised considerable venture capital, and previously practiced corporate law at Ropes & Gray in Boston and Harris Beach in Ithaca. Mr. Shulman serves on a number of advisory boards affiliated with Cornell programs. He earned both his BS in Industrial and Labor Relations and his JD degrees at Cornell University.

 

 

Officers’ Biographies

 

Marnie LaVigne, Ph.D., Secretary, President and CEO

 

Dr. Marnie LaVigne has spent more than 25 years in both the private and public sectors creating new products and start-up businesses, driving innovation and economic growth in high-tech industries, such as life sciences, informatics, and advanced manufacturing. Her passion for working with start-ups took root from her experience launching health informatics businesses with colleagues in the 1990’s as she finished her doctoral work at the University of Rochester, which resulted in growing two different firms with more than 100 employees and two initial public offerings (IPOs).

 

In July, 2014, she became the President and CEO of Launch NY, a 27-county venture development organization that she co-founded with other Buffalo boosters and whose mission is to identify, support and invest in high-growth, high-impact companies and catalyze the entrepreneurial culture of Upstate New York. Previously, she led economic development efforts involving work with hundreds of firms at UB as Associate Vice President for Economic Development from 2012 to 2014 and Director of Business Development from 2005 until 2012 at the NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences and the UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology. In addition to her for profit start-up experience prior to UB, Dr. LaVigne also spearheaded product development initiatives for larger corporations in managed care (e.g., Aetna), pharmaceuticals (Bristol-Myers Squibb), medical devices (Welch Allyn), and medical informatics (Medscape/MedicaLogic, now GE and WebMD).

 

Dr. LaVigne has a bachelor's degree in neuroscience and a doctorate in clinical psychology, both from the University of Rochester. She is an editorial board member for Disease Management, and a member of the Board of Directors for Buffalo Angels, Insyte Consulting, New York State Economic Development Council, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, and Western New York Venture Association.

 

Michael A deFreitas, Assistant Secretary

 

Michael deFreitas is a corporate lawyer with William C. Moran & Associates, P.C. Mr. deFreitas has an extensive background and experience in corporate and non-profit law. Previously practicing with Hodgson Russ LLP and independently, he has worked with both small and large businesses across industries in both the public and private sector for over 20 years. Mr. DeFreitas earned his BA in English from College of the Holy Cross and his JD from Cornell University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Launch NY Board of Directors

George Chamoun, Chairperson

  • Chief Executive Officer, ACV Auctions

Jordan Levy, Vice Chairperson

  •  General Partner, SoftBank Capital NY
  •  Managing Partner, Seed Capital Partners
  •  Co-Managing Partner, Z80 Labs

Paul T. Hogan, Director

  •  Executive Vice President, The John R. Oishei Foundation

Zachary Shulman, Director

  •  Managing Partner, Cayuga Venture Fund
  •  Director of Entrepreneurship, Cornell University

 

Launch NY Officers

Marnie LaVigne, Ph.D., Secretary

  • President and CEO, Launch NY, Inc.

Michael A. deFreitas, Assistant Secretary

  •  Attorney, William C. Moran & Associates, P.C.

George Chamoun, Treasurer

  •  Chief Executive Officer, ACV Auctions

 

 

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