• MARL Startup Studio

Inaugural MARL on MAIN

Hosted by MARL Startup Studio with Jennifer Sertl, Prakash Goswami, Amir Khan and Louise Honore.

November 4th, 2022 | 80 people registered for our inaugural MARL on MAIN at the Mercantile on Main at Sibley Square. Over sixty people showed up and heard opening remarks from both New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney and Rochester Mayor Malik Evans.

MARL on MAIN, with the Frederick Douglass Susan B. Anthony Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, symbolizes economic inclusion and deal flow. Together with the Rochester startup ecosystem, MARL Startup Studio wants to continue to strengthen our relationship with the Silicon Valley and contribute to work already happening here in Rochester:

  • Provide accessibility to mentorship and early stage capital, creating an inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem.

  • Help optimize the retention of graduates from UofR, RIT, St. John Fisher, Nazareth and Brockport colleges.

  • Help get additional funding to the existing startup community.

  • Continue to expand Greater ROC on the map as a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Silicon Valley based Yashwanth (Yash) Hemaraj of Benhamou Global Ventures and ARKA Venture Labs was our first MARL on MAIN VC guest. He discussed the future of funding with Rochester’s Michael Thaney, Innovation Management Partner at Constellation Brands, Director of Startup Grind Rochester and Venture Partner for Wefunder.

For entrepreneurship to thrive in Rochester, its downtown needs to thrive; which is why we held the event at the Mercantile on Main at Sibley Square. To that end, we included Galin Brooks, President & CEO of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation.

Her gift to the city is her experience in urban planning advancing healthy neighborhoods through economic development, transportation planning, public arts, and community development. She shared the vision for Downtown Rochester and invited the community to participate.

Jim Senall, President of NextCorps gave an overview of programs, shared some milestones, including servicing over 800 client companies over the past 5 years. Circle Optics, part of Luminate Accelerator Cohort 2, is a great example of a company leveraging all of the entrepreneurship resources available in the city. Ian Gauger of Circle Optics talked about being named among Pepperdine Graziadio Business School’s Most Fundable Companies®.

The community has over 19 colleges and universities in the region. University of Rochester’s Kathy Driscoll, Associate Director of the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, provided a great overview of resources available for students. Representing the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship is student company Atlantis Smart Homes with Daniel Nadj.

Amir Khan and Prakash Goswami, Managing Partners of MARL Startup Studio have a tremendous amount of contextual intelligence for SaaS (software as a service) companies through MARL Accelerator have a portfolio of over 45 companies in six different countries. Through MARL Startup Studio, we can get access to this expertise here in Rochester, to support and accelerate digital adoption in the startup ecosystem. A great company that came from the MARL Accelerator is Enhance-VR with Founder Matt Gill.

We had a great experience and look forward to continuing to build this bridge with you!

Jennifer Sertl

MARL Community Director


MARL Startup Studio

Think.Build.Launch Podcast


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