Z80 taps Poland as managing director, adds $1.5M in funding

By Dan Miner I Business First
January 6, 2015

One of the most important jobs in Buffalo's fledgling entrepreneurial ecosystem has been filled by a familiar face.

Steve Poland has been selected as managing director of Z80 Labs, a tech incubator in downtown Buffalo and leading entity in the push to make Buffalo a more attractive place for innovative startup companies.

Poland is one of a core group responsible for the grass-roots surge in Buffalo's tech and start-up culture, starting with the Buffalo Open Coffee Club meet-ups about five years ago. He's also played a major role in Buffalo Startup Weekends. He has a bachelor's degree in management fromPurdue University and has held roles in business development and sales at Synacor and Choice One Online.

Poland has also been a blogger at TechCrunch, reviewing technology startups, and recently launched his own app, Act Away!, an online portal to play charades. He has also been operating his own consulting business managing web monetization for high-traffic websites.

Poland will take over for Dan Magnuszewski, who left his post as Z80's manager to become one of its tenants for his startup company, ACV Auctions. The role at Z80 is demanding, as it demands recruiting new businesses, trying to find investment partners and promoting the incubator.

Poland's hiring corresponds to another Z80 announcement. The incubator has received a $1.5 million from Empire State Development's new venture capital fund for pre-seed investment. That brings the total funds under Z80's management to $6.6 million, all of which requires significant match from private investors.