White Rose Ventures & Braided River Collective Host Third Annual Meeting – May 2024

May 14, 2024 | Announcements

On May 14th, 2024, White Rose Ventures and Braided River Collective hosted our 3rd Annual Meeting. We want to give a HUGE thank you to all our community partners and supporters who were able to make it out for the live event—it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces together and in-person!

Top takeaway from the evening: momentum continues to build across our region for bringing together the capital and support structures needed to enable entrepreneurs building the next generation of great businesses here in Central Pennsylvania. Our community stands united behind a shared vision for facilitating entrepreneur-led economic development, and in facilitating the increasing interconnectedness through which symbiotic relationships and transformational change can emerge within a business ecosystem.

After mixing and mingling with some drinks and delicious hors d’oeuvres courtesy of The Pretzel Company, White Rose Ventures Managing Partner Martin Fedorko kicked things off with a welcome and introductions.

Next Jay Jayamohan, Executive Director for the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Harrisburg University and a White Rose Ventures investment committee member, spoke on the topic of startup ecosystem building. As a seasoned entrepreneur who himself has raised $20M+ in venture capital previously as a founder, Jay juxtaposed the similarities and differences across startup ecosystems, from the most nascent and emerging to the fully mature Silicon Valley epitome on Sand Hill Road.

Jay emphasized the role that institutional venture funding plays, as a critical cornerstone to startup ecosystem building at any scale, as well as how today more than ever, geographic barriers between startup ecosystems of adjacent regions are quickly dissolving. Jay’s message serves to reiterate ‘the why’ behind the mission of White Rose Ventures as a firm, in delivering the early stage equity capital financing needed to power new business creation here in the PA Commonwealth.

Managing Partner Martin Fedorko then rejoined the stage to deliver the evening’s main update on White Rose Ventures—he highlighted the uniquely Central PA portfolio of companies, and spoke to some of the specific new and follow-on investments the firm has made over the past calendar year, including into Athlon, Galleon, The Pretzel Company, Gilson Snow, and more.

Martin then turned toward the future, speaking about the synergies between White Rose Ventures and fellow regional VC firm 1855 Capital. Those collaborations include previous co-investments together, as well as Martin’s longstanding relationship with 1855 Capital Managing Partner Matt Rhodes; how the two collaborated together with Ben Franklin Technology Partners on submitting a successfully awarded EDA Build to Scale Grant this year; and how that award led to the launch of the new co-administered Keystone Innovation Fund II, which will serve to further both firms’ visions of delivering early-stage venture investment to the brightest and most ambitious entrepreneurs from all across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the years ahead. Watch the video below to hear Martin’s full annual meeting remarks, as well as to see an update at the end from Helen Taffese on what’s happening over at Keystone Merge.

Next to join the stage was Ian Kanski, the newly appointed Interim Executive Director of Braided River Collective, as well as the Executive Director at the Center for Advanced Agriculture and Sustainability at Harrisburg University. Ian shared his excitement for the new role as he looks to the year ahead, as well as some early details about groundbreaking projects that Braided River Collective and Harrisburg University will be bringing to York County, in the form of newly constructed Controlled Environment Agriculture facilities at multiple locations.

Ian emphasized Braided River Collective’s planned focus during his tenure on the key support pillars of Placeholding, Wayfinding, and Equipping, and how a nonprofit entity leveraging an innovative shared use model among key partners can deliver critical support structures to reinvigorate Pennsylvania’s legacy industry sectors, starting with next-generation regenerative agriculture right here in York.

Simone Kendle, CEO of White Rose Ventures portfolio company Wove, took the stage to close out the evening’s remarks. Simone’s founder update touched upon the jewelry eCommerce brand’s massive earned media windfall from a successful product placement on the wrist of superstar icon Taylor Swift—but she also recounted the incredible amount of hard work required both in preparation and follow-through afterward to truly make such an impactful celebrity influencer moment possible for an emerging brand like Wove.

This Third Annual Meeting of White Rose Ventures and Braided River Collective on May 14th underscored the further momentum and alignment we’re seeing in the entrepreneurial ecosystem across Pennsylvania, both in the region and statewide. The event celebrated a shared commitment to fostering economic development through entrepreneur-led initiative, and we’re so pleased to have shared insightful presentations, exciting updates, and valuable networking opportunities together with our community of supporters. As we look ahead, we are more confident than ever that the continued collaboration among investors, entrepreneurs, and community leaders will pave the way for future innovative businesses to thrive here. 

White Rose Ventures extends our heartfelt gratitude to all participants and partners who make our mission possible. Here’s to another year together of growth, innovation, and collective action in building a successful and vibrant future here in Pennsylvania!

Dave Segal Edison Stage
Will Smith Edison Stage
NAQI Will & Dave

White Rose Ventures & Braided River Collective Host Third Annual Meeting – May 2024

May 14, 2024 | Announcements