Veteran-Led Upstate NY Startup, EMPEQ, Is Selected to Join the Founder Institute’s Exclusive Veteran Founder Lab Program

EMPEQ joins the largest entrepreneur network in the world for veteran-led startups

January 31, 2019, Palo Alto, CA and Ithaca, NY – The Founder Institute (, the world’s premier pre-seed startup accelerator, and EMPEQ (, an Upstate New York NYSERDA and LaunchNY Portfolio Company join forces to help fund and scale EMPEQ’s energy efficient project financing business globally. Veteran Founder Lab is a fundraising program that is part of the Founder Institute’s Veteran Founder Initiative. Through this initiative, EMPEQ will gain access to free programming and resources within the Founder Institute’s Global Network while receiving hands on acceleration support from Vet-Tech, a startup accelerator in Silicon Valley that helps fund and scale Veteran-led startups. With Vet-Tech headquartered at the Plug and Play Tech Center, EMPEQ sits at the intersection of two of the largest startup organizations in the world whose combined networks span over 200 Cities and 11,000 Mentors.

“Being selected for this highly competitive program is quite an honor. The best part is that we aren’t forced to relocate to Silicon Valley or New York City to access world class investors and advisers. These types of impactful resources enable EMPEQ to more efficiently create jobs and invest capital right here in Upstate NY,” says Herbert Dwyer, CEO of EMPEQ, US Marine Corps veteran, and Ithaca, NY resident. “Many Upstate NY startups believe they must leave our region to access the necessary resources needed to become successful. With programs like the Founder Institute, this is simply not the case.”

Derek LaClair, CFO of EMPEQ and native of Buffalo, NY said, “I’ve lived my entire life in a 75-mile radius here in Upstate NY and I am thrilled that EMPEQ’s inclusion in this program will allow for that trend to continue. There is no better place in our country to live and raise a family.” He continued, “We are fortunate to be counted among the countless successful companies that have found their start with the Founder’s Institute.”

As part of the Veteran Founder Initiative, veterans receive:

Funding Assistance Through Founder Lab
Founder Lab ( is a virtual advisory program that helps early-stage startups raise seed funding. Over the course of this regimented 3-month program, participants will work closely with the Founder Institute and Vet-Tech teams in Silicon Valley to improve their pitch materials, build an investor pipeline, pitch to angels, negotiate terms, and generate strong investor interest.  

Scaling Assistance
Veteran-led startups will gain access to the combined global networks of the Founder Institute and Vet-Tech to scale their companies utilizing corporate partnerships, customer introductions, and a network of startup talent as part of the Initiative’s expansive global network.

The Veteran Founder Initiative was conceived by Ryan Micheletti, Director of Global Operations at the Founder Institute and Co-Founder of Vet-Tech. “EMPEQ is empowering businesses by helping them access commercial energy efficiency projects in a quick and scalable manner. This is a win-win for the both environment and the bottom-line of the businesses they serve”, says Ryan Micheletti.

Learn more about the EMPEQ at:


About the Founder Institute
The Founder Institute ( is the world’s premier pre-seed startup accelerator. In the Founder Institute, you can build a company alongside a critical support network of local startup experts that are invested in your success, and through a structured and challenging business-building process that has helped our alumni raise over $700M. Leaders of the world’s fastest-growing startups have used the Founder Institute to raise funding, get into seed-accelerators, generate traction, recruit a team, build a product, transition from employee to entrepreneur, and more. Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 200 cities and 60 countries, the Founder Institute’s mission is to Globalize Silicon Valley and empower talented and motivated entrepreneurs to build companies that will create one million new jobs.  The Founder Institute was founded in 2009 by Adeo Ressi and Jonathan Greechan. It is operated out of Palo Alto, California.

EMPEQ solves the three biggest problems that stop small to mid-sized organizations from taking advantage of energy efficient equipment: 
1. Upfront cost 
2. Time-consuming loan review 
3. Burdening the balance sheet
With EMPEQ, a multi-family, commercial, nonprofit, or municipal organization can use energy efficient equipment, such as LED lighting or an air source heat pump system, without upfront cost by providing just their corporate name and address for financial review. Within 48 hours, approved organizations can simply sign a service contract with EMPEQ and then an approved contractor will perform the installation. EMPEQ uses its unique financing model and proprietary FinTech platform to help channel partners like contractors and utilities to overcome the equipment financing challenges faced by their customers. 

EMPEQ MEDIA CONTACT: Herbert Dwyer, Co-Founder and CEO at EMPEQ ([email protected])

FOUNDER INSTITUTE MEDIA CONTACT: Jonathan Greechan, Co-Founder at the Founder Institute ([email protected])