BUFFALO, N.Y. — With COVID-19 came a new norm: lockdowns, social distancing and virtual life. People and organizations of all types unleashed their creativity to rethink the way they operate.
Growing tech startup MemoryFox is no exception.
When the pandemic hit, the company was focused on collecting content at in-person events. And then events were canceled, and group gatherings became something of the past.
As this was happening, Chris Miano — who co-founded MemoryFox as a University at Buffalo School of Management MBA student — watched as organizations struggled to connect with their communities in this upended reality. He saw an opportunity for his content management company to create change and jumped into action, pivoting MemoryFox’s business model.
What originally began as a way for families to record memories with pre-dementia loved ones now helps nonprofits across the country gather and store community-generated content to build engagement and raise funds.
MemoryFox has seen exponential growth since making this fundamental change. In the last year and a half, the company added notable clients like United Way, and its revenue has risen for three straight quarters.
UB sows growth through seed fund
As MemoryFox picks up momentum, UB has invested $100,000 from the Buffalo Innovation Seed Fund to fuel its progress. Other local funders — Z80 Labs, Launch NY and private investors — contributed additional investments for a combined total of $380,000 in seed round funding for the company.
Miano says funding will enable continued product development and the development of a content marketing ecosystem. The team recently hired a consultant — a School of Management graduate — to manage its podcast.
“Between our revenue growth and the investment from UB and others, we can invest in our own growth, hire and continue to build our team,” says Miano.
Aside from funding, UB has supported MemoryFox in other ways throughout the company’s history. The team has participated in the School of Management’s Entrepreneurship Lab, the Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition, Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars, and other entrepreneurship programs.
Miano also works with Richard Kim, a member of UB’s Startup Ventures team, who connected him with local entrepreneur Tom Slowe. Both Kim and Slowe serve as mentors and advisors for the MemoryFox team.
MemoryFox’s team of eight and counting — including UB interns — is soon moving into an office in UB’s downtown incubator, located within the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
“Witnessing MemoryFox’s grit and traction has been truly remarkable. This is a company that has been defined by its evolution during the pandemic, and we’re thrilled to elevate their upward trajectory through this investment and continued entrepreneurial support,” says Kim.
Christina Orsi, UB associate vice president for economic development, says, “Our investment in MemoryFox is one of many to come, as UB is focused on catalyzing startups, preparing them for investment and growing the next generation of startups in Western New York.”