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43North: Cuomo announces $1 million winner the world's largest business idea competition

by jmaloni


Fri, Oct 31st 2014 03:00 pm

ASi LLC wins 43North's grand prize; remaining 10 finalists receive prizes of $500,000 and $250,000 to invest in their startup businesses in Buffalo

Competition draws worldwide attention to Buffalo's entrepreneurial community 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced ASi LLC as the winner of the $1 million grand prize from 43North - the world's largest business idea competition. One of the projects of the governor's "Buffalo Billion" initiative, the competition totaled $5 million for businesses around the globe to pitch their most innovative ideas. The remaining 10 finalist teams were awarded cash prizes of either $500,000 or $250,000, which will be used to further grow and develop their business in Buffalo.

The winners were announced Thursday at Shea's Performing Arts Center, after all finalists presented their ideas and answered questions from a panel of judges with business and entrepreneurial expertise. 

"The 43North competition has proven to have been an incredibly successful way to showcase everything Buffalo has to offer," Cuomo said. "Businesses around the world are hearing about the opportunities available here in New York and how Buffalo is the place to be. I congratulate ASi and welcome them to their new home in Western New York - a region that is on the move."

Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy said, "Thanks to this competition, these businesses are given the opportunity of a lifetime, each bringing with them a unique perspective and business acumen to the growing entrepreneurial atmosphere in Western New York. Gov. Cuomo is delivering on his 'Buffalo Billion' promise, and making the city a destination for business leaders across the globe, bringing with them jobs and new economic opportunities. I congratulate all of our 43North winners and look forward to their involvement in the booming economic momentum spurred by the 'Buffalo Billion.' "

The awards ceremony was a culmination of the inaugural competition's "43North Week," a weeklong celebration of events and activities in Buffalo engaging local entrepreneurs, startups and the broader business community. In addition to the cash prizes, 43North finalists will receive free incubator space in Buffalo for one year, guidance from mentors in related fields, and access to other business incentive programs such as Start-Up NY.

43North also awarded an additional cash prize of $10,000 for "The People's Choice Award" to Genetesis. The company will receive this cash prize on top of the $250,000 it won during the 43North finals competition. "The People's Choice Award" is sponsored by Larkin Development Group and was awarded to the team generating the most tweets between Oct. 16-30 using a designated hashtag unique to a company.

A total of 6,932 business ideas were initially submitted for the 43North competition's first round, which took place Feb. 5 through May 31. From a pool of 2,603 qualified submissions, 113 semifinalists were selected to advance to the second round through a formal, month-long review period conducted by 274 judges from an array of professional sectors. Eleven finalists advanced to the third and final round of the competition to vie for a series of cash prizes, including a top award of $1 million, six $500,000 awards and four $250,000 awards.

All winners will be required to locate their companies in Buffalo for one year under the terms of the competition.

Finalists presented their pitches Thursday to a panel of seven high-profile judges from around the country, including: Esther Dyson, chairman, EDventure Holdings; Dr. David Hohn, president emeritus and executive director of health policy, Roswell Park Cancer Institute; Randall Lane, editor, Forbes Magazine; Kenneth Lerer, managing director, Lerer Hippeau Ventures; and Kim Pegula, president and CEO, Pegula Sports & Entertainment.

43North Steering Committee Chairman Jordan Levy said, "43North set out to identify world-class entrepreneurs from around the globe and attract them to Buffalo - and we have done just that. I congratulate all of our finalists on rising to the top of 7,000 applicants from 96 countries and all 50 states to now have the financial resources to help them create amazing new companies that have the opportunity to change the world. We look forward to watching these exceptional leaders and their companies grow and flourish in our Western New York community." 

The primary funding sponsors for 43North are Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" initiative, the New York Power Authority and Launch NY. In May 2013, the NYPA board of trustees approved $5.4 million in funding for Launch NY, a Buffalo nonprofit venture development organization spearheading the 43North competition. The NYPA funding, which serves as the capital for the business idea competition, stemmed from a recommendation by the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board as one of the economic development uses of revenues from the sale of unutilized hydropower from the Power Authority's Niagara Power Project. 

NYPA Chairman and Erie County resident John R. Koelmel said, "It is very encouraging to see how much the 43North competition has achieved in just its inaugural year. The New York Power Authority is honored to play an important part in funding this competition, and we look forward with great excitement to the entrepreneurial endeavors, economic development and new job creation that will be generated by the innovative activities of our 11 winners."

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-chair and Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group Howard Zemsky said, "Creating the world's largest business idea competition is no small task. Without the work and leadership of Gov. Cuomo, the 43North business competition would not have been able to take place, let alone reach the level of success that it has clearly displayed. Congratulations to all 11 winners - this is a historic day for Western New York."

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-chair and President of the University at Buffalo Satish K. Tripathi said, "This competition clearly demonstrates to the nation and the world that Buffalo is open for business. Gov. Cuomo's 'Buffalo Billion' initiative has put Buffalo on the map. As a center of innovation and entrepreneurship, Buffalo is becoming the destination of choice for businesses, industries and entrepreneurs. And, 43 North is a great example of this momentum generated by the 'Buffalo Billion.' We welcome all of the winners to Buffalo, and look forward to working with each of them to make their business dreams a reality." 

Launch NY CEO Marnie LaVigne said, "Gov. Cuomo's 43North business plan competition is designed to put Buffalo on the map for entrepreneurs from around the world. The success of tonight's high-potential winners shines a spotlight on the region, drawing the focus of other startups looking to take advantage of the new vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurship that is rapidly growing in Buffalo. I congratulate the winners and look forward to Launch NY leveraging our mentoring and seed capital resources to assist their efforts to grow."

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, "Thanks to Gov. Cuomo's vision and leadership, we have attracted key innovators and industry leaders to Western New York to reap the benefits of the 43North business competition. This 'Buffalo Billion' initiative is providing an opportunity to build a local entrepreneurial environment that offers support from experienced mentors and area colleges in a space that will encourage collaboration and success. I look forward to seeing the accomplishments of these 43North winners."

County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "Thanks to Gov. Cuomo, the 43North initiative put a spotlight on Erie County as the perfect place for cutting-edge business concepts to cut their teeth and grow into productive members of our new economy. I welcome these 11 winners to Erie County along with the creativity, innovation and positive momentum their arrival brings. This competition has helped to solidify our growing reputation as a world-class place to do business."

Mayor Byron Brown said, "Congratulations to the winners of the 43North business competition, all the individuals that participated and the members of Buffalo's growing entrepreneurial community that helped to make this competition such a success. With a record amount of recent economic development activity underway in Buffalo, our city is more committed than ever to support new opportunities for entrepreneurs who develop innovative start-up ventures that create good jobs for city residents for years to come. I appreciate Gov. Cuomo's continued commitment to Buffalo and I look forward to watching the winners of the 43North business competition grow and thrive in Buffalo."

$1 million winner: ASi LLC

Hometown: Tonawanda

ASi LLC's rapid metal forming system is set to transform manufacturing by providing superior performing components that cost less. The company's process aims to strengthen metals, which enable lighter and longer life components to improve the performance of engines, implantable medical devices and more. ASi LLC also plans to return jobs to the U.S. by beating offshore pricing.

Six $500,000 winners:


Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan

EcoBreeze is a revolutionary, fan-less cooling solution that generates continuous vortex flow using multiple vibrating fans. The product's high reliability, outdoor usability, flexible design and low cost make it a good option for ICT and LED lighting cooling. 

•Energy Intelligence

Hometown: Somerville, Massachusetts

Energy Intelligence is an emerging clean tech company developing ultra-compact, road-mounted technology that converts wasted kinetic energy from braking vehicles into renewable electricity. The patented technology is intended for use at slowdown points such as parking garage entrances, toll plazas and weigh stations, and can power equipment onsite to reduce electricity expenses.

•Eulysis UK Limited

Hometown: Edinburgh, Scotland 

Eulysis UK is a groundbreaking development company focused and committed to optimizing pharmaceutical access globally. In collaboration with the World Health Organization, Gates Foundation and other major institutions, Eulysis UK intends to commercialize the SVS technology on a global scale to provide expanded access to life-saving medicines.

•Medical Conservation Devices LLC

Hometown: Batavia

Based on an exclusively licensed patent portfolio from the University at Buffalo, Medical Conservation Devices has developed a low-cost anesthesia machine to expand the use of anesthesia globally, including in later approvals to sedate critically ill patients and provide anesthesia to up to eight patients at one time. 

•Raland Therapeutics Inc.

Hometown: Fairport

Raland Therapeutics is a development-stage bio-device company focused on implantable biosensors. The company's "CytoComm" Biosensor is a real-time monitoring system, which uses living cells to "read" a patient's physiologic response to chemotherapy. The system also allows the personalization of dosing strategies to reduce the toxicity that so often impacts one's quality of life.


Hometown: Markham, Ontario, Canada

triMirror has the world's first real-time fitting solution that allows the try-on of real clothes on accurate avatars. The technology shows the consumer where the garment is tight or loose with tension maps, how the garment behaves while moving, and shows the garment side-by-side with others. The user can even manipulate the fabric with a finger.

Four $250,000 winners:

•Asana Medical Inc.

Hometown: Miami Lakes, Florida

Asana Medical seeks to improve the quality of one's health and therefore quality of life by providing a novel treatment for debilitating digestive diseases with a patent-pending medical device that stimulates the body to heal itself. Asana Medical offers a drug-free, surgery-free twist on a proven therapy and targets the $9 billion ulcerative colitis market. 

•Genetesis LLC

Hometown: Mason, Ohio

Genetesis is a biotechnology company oriented toward optimizing drug design for treatment of heart rhythm disorders by applying novel algorithms that analyze real-time functional heart electrophysiology. Using a patent-pending system, including a non-invasive sensor array and powerful software, Genetesis is able to quantify responsiveness to drugs before they are administered. 

•HemoGenyx LLC

Hometown: New York City

HemoGenyx is a biotechnology company developing a revolutionary new treatment for blood diseases, such as leukemia and lymphoma. The company leverages a special class of cells, which can generate cancer-free blood stem cells. HemoGenyx's therapy can dramatically increase the efficacy of bone marrow transplants and eliminate the need for donors.


Hometown: New York City

KeepUp is a productivity app that lets you take back your life from social media, without missing out on important moments. KeepUp tracks 12 major life events from six social media sites and puts you in control of who you follow, what events you see and when you get updated.

See a complete list atwww.43north.org/43north-sponsors.

To learn more, visit www.43north.org.

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