Hudson Valley Startup Fund Focus of Ulster Chamber Breakfast

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October 10, 2017
The Hudson Valley Startup Fund will be featured at the next monthly breakfast meeting of the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce. Founders Johnny LeHane and Tony DiMarco will address the Chamber’s breakfast meeting at the Best Western Plus in Kingston, Wednesday, October 18, 2017 from 7:30 – 9:00am. The event is sponsored by Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union.

The HV Startup Fund can help not only with funding, but also mentorship and support as well as important connections for local entrepreneurs. 

LeHane, who is already a successful entrepreneur, said he will provide Chamber members with a brief overview of HVSF, why it was created in 2016 and its mission.
“I’ll share about our progress over the last two years and also the opportunities for Chamber members to be involved,” LeHane said. “They could be involved either as investors or supporters of the startup network and the companies we are either considering investing in or have already invested in and are looking for various professional services.”

HVSF’s five managing members are LeHane, DiMarco, Chad Gomes, Paul Hakim and Noa Simons.

LeHane said 44 investors each put $25,000 into the fund, which was conceived at the end of 2015 and launched in 2016.

HVSF has an office in Rhinebeck and also works out of the Rhinebeck Bank Building on Fair Street in Kingston.

The fund has just over $1 million and about half has already been invested, LeHane said. The fund’s members and investors reviewed 80 companies through its screening process and 25 gave presentations.

“A lot of the companies in the Chamber are professional services and retail companies and we’re looking to create companies that have explosive growth and are also there for employers,” LeHane said.

LeHane said new companies face a lot of challenges, but seed money is a huge one, especially in small businesses.

“They also really need a network of skills and talent and experience,” LeHane said. “Our members come from diverse backgrounds and are all successful in their own industry and right. We bring those folks together to help vet the best startup opportunities in the region and then to help and foster those companies.”

LeHane said an exciting part about appearing before the Chamber is to show companies “that there really is a network” to help support them.

One of those professionals is LeHane, who has already created a successful business. 
LeHane grew up in LaGrange in Dutchess County and earned a degree in electrical engineering from Washington, D.C.’s Catholic University. He was working for America Online in quality assurance when he and some friends started a hobby business called WAKA Kickball and Social Sports.

The company, where LeHane served on the leadership team for 18 years, now boasts several hundred part-time employees across the country. He stepped back from that company in 2016 to launch HVSF.

HVSF, located at 67 N. Parsonage St. in Rhinebeck, can be reached at (845) 678-3122 or For more information, email

Chamber breakfast programs are a great way to network with other local business leaders and stay on top of current events. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. For more information or to register, call the Chamber at (845) 338-5100 or go online at

Ward Todd, President/CEO
(845) 338-5100