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43North announces judges lineup for Oct. 29 finals

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Mon, Sep 28th 2015 11:35 am

Nationally recognized business leaders and venture capitalists will determine winner of $1 million grand prize on Oct. 29

Public registration for free tickets to 43North finals now open; 43North Week to run Oct. 21-29 in Buffalo

43North - the world's largest ($5 million) business idea competition - recently announced its lineup of judges for the finalist pitch session, which will take place Oct. 29 at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo as part of 43North Week. Registration for the finals is officially open to the general public.

The volunteer finals judges will evaluate the competition's 11 finalists as each startup company pitches its idea onstage before several hundred members of the public, culminating in the selection of a $1 million grand prizewinner, as well as six $500,000 and four $250,000 awardees.

"The world's largest business idea competition deserves a team of world-class finals judges. That is precisely what the public will see on the Shea's Performing Arts Center stage on Oct. 29, as 43North's finalists pitch their business ideas live in front of some of the brightest minds in entrepreneurship and venture capital," 43North board Chair Jordan Levy said.

Ernst & Young, a global leader in advising, guiding and recognizing entrepreneurs, is the sponsor of this year's finals judges announcement. This esteemed panel includes the following judges:

•Andrew Kau

Managing Director, USA - Walden International

Andrew Kau is focused on clean technology and semiconductors. He joined Walden International in 1994. Prior to WI, he was president of Chemical Technologies Ventures. He was also a management consultant at Strategic Planning Associates and Booz, Allen and Hamilton. Earlier in his career, he was a research scientist at Systems Planning Corp. and a VLSI semiconductor engineer at IBM.

•Michael Lazerow (@lazerow)

Founder - Buddy Media

Michael Lazerow is a serial entrepreneur, investor, writer and painter best known as the founder of Buddy Media, a social marketing software company that was purchased by Salesforce.com in 2012 for $800 million. Most recently, Lazerow served as Salesforce's chief strategy officer. Prior to Salesforce and Buddy Media, he founded GOLF.com, purchased by Time Warner's Time Inc. division, and as an undergraduate at Northwestern University, Lazerow started UWIRE, an Associated Press-like network of more than 850 student-run newspapers, purchased by CBS. With 65 early-stage investments, including Buzzfeed, Domo, Mashable and Dash Radio, Lazerow is one of the most prolific tech investors in New York City.

•Daniel Lewis (@danielsethlewis)

Founding Partner, CIO, Managing Partner, Project Manager - Orange Capital LLC

Prior to co-founding Orange Capital in 2005, Daniel Lewis spent nine years at Citigroup where he was a director in Citigroup's global special situations, a $5 billion proprietary investment group specializing in distressed debt, high-yield bonds and value equity. Lewis has substantial expertise investing in credit and equity markets, including financial restructuring, creditor committee participation, origination and funding of senior secured loans, and mergers and acquisitions. Lewis has direct investment experience in the U.S., Asia, Europe and Latin America, where he invested in a broad range of industries.

•Lauren Maillian (@LaurenMaillian)

Founder, CEO - LMB Group

Founding Partner, Gen Y Capital Partners

Lauren Maillian is a former model turned serial entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of LMB Group, a strategic marketing and advisory company, and a founding partner at Gen Y Capital Partners, an early-stage venture firm focused on investments in mobile and consumer-facing technology-enabled companies. She is the author of the instant bestselling business memoir, "The Path Redefined: Getting To the Top On Your Own Terms." Most recently, Maillian has brought her trademark personality and passion for entrepreneurship to television as co-star of the new startup-focused reality TV show, "Create Your Day Job," which will premiere in 2016 on Oxygen.

•Sandra J. Miller (@smillertweets)

Open Innovation - Accenture

Sandra Miller is an expert in entrepreneurship education. She played a major role in the formation and growth of two world-renowned entrepreneurship education programs: Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation and the Stanford Biodesign Program. Her current role at Accenture is to engage technology-based startup companies, startup accelerators and top-tier research universities to generate transformative and disruptive ideas to identify new opportunities that benefit startups, Accenture and its clients. Miller has advised hundreds of early-stage, technology-based companies and is an invited lecturer on the topics of entrepreneurship education, the commercialization of university research and related policies. She also is an adviser to early-stage companies in Silicon Valley.

•Lacarya Scott

CFO - Empire Genomics

Lacarya Scott currently serves as CFO of Empire Genomics, with a decade of experience in the biotechnology/biopharmaceuticals field, both with the buying side (hedge fund investment firms) and with health care corporations. He makes principal investment decisions, from taking equity positions, to complete merger and acquisition transactions, to strategic partnering transactions to capital raisings.

•Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)

Co-founder, CEO - VaynerMedia

Gary Vaynerchuk runs VaynerMedia, one of the world's hottest digital agencies. He is a prolific angel investor and venture capitalist, investing in companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber and Birchbox before eventually co-founding a $25 million angel fund. Vaynerchuk currently hosts the "#AskGaryVee Show," focused on social media, entrepreneurship, startups and family businesses.

The finals represent the culmination of a competition that attracted 11,356 registrants from 117 countries - including all 50 U.S. states and nine of ten Canadian provinces.

The day will be split into three parts, beginning with a pair of pitch sessions - one in the morning, one in the afternoon - where 43North's 11 finalists will present their ideas in front of a team of star judges and an intimate audience seated on the stage of Shea's. In the evening, 43North will hold a grand awards ceremony at Shea's to present $5 million in cash prizes - including a top prize of $1 million, six $500,000 prizes and four $250,000 prizes - to the competition's finalists.

The breakdown of the day is as follows:

•Morning pitch session: 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, Oct. 29

•Afternoon pitch session: 1-4 p.m.

•Awards ceremony: 6-7 p.m.

Admission to the finals pitch sessions and awards ceremony is free and open to the general public, but seating is limited and all attendees must register in advance at 43North.org.

The 43North finals are part of 43North Week, which is a celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation in Buffalo from Oct. 21-29. The week includes:

•Buffalo Startup Grind

6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21; location: dig, 640 Ellicott St., Buffalo

Startup Grind Buffalo hosts Patrick Finan of City Dining Cards, an international customer loyalty tech company. Spend the night networking and chatting with Finan and other local entrepreneurs. Learn more at startupgrind.com/buffalo.

•Buffalo Startup Weekend

5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25; location: dig, 640 Ellicott St., Buffalo

Pitch your idea, vote on your favorite ideas from other entrepreneurs, form a team and go through a frenzied process of business model creation, coding, designing, market validation and final presentations within 54 hours. Register at buffalo.startupweekend.org.

•Think Big with 43North

6-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26; location: 43North Incubator, 640 Ellicott St., Buffalo

A panel discussion and conversation with female 43North winners and local entrepreneurs to discuss their journeys to success. Learn more at 43North.org/week.

•Bright Buffalo Niagara Entrepreneur Expo

1-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28; location: Statler City, 107 Delaware Ave., Buffalo

Event highlights will include:

  • Selected entrepreneurs will receive one minute to pitch their ideas to a room of investors and business executives
  • Entrepreneurs will have the chance to make important connections at 43North's entrepreneurial trade show

Keynote address from Daymond John, founder and CEO of the FUBU ("For Us, By Us") clothing line, star of ABC's business reality show "Shark Tank," and world-renowned marketer. John will speak about his journey from entrepreneur to investor, providing his expertise on how entrepreneurs can achieve financial success and how investors can spot a great idea.

This event is invitation only. Learn more at brightbuffaloniagara.com.

•43North Finals Pitch Sessions

9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 29; location: Shea's Performing Arts Center

Join an intimate audience on the stage of Shea's Performing Arts Center and watch as 11 finalists present their ideas in front of a team of star judges. Registration is free and open to the public. Register here for morning pitch sessionRegister here for afternoon pitch session

•43North Awards Ceremony

6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29; location: Shea's Performing Arts Center

Be there when 43North awards $5 million in prizes - including a top prize of $1 million - to some of the best entrepreneurs from around the world. The evening also will include the unveiling of an inspiring new video about Buffalo. Registration is free and open to the public. Learn more and register at 43North.org/week.

About 43North

43North is the world's largest business idea competition. As part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" initiative, the competition awards $5 million in cash prizes to some of the best entrepreneurs and startups from around the world. 43North winners also 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 operates through grants of $6 million from the New York Power Authority and $1 million from Empire State Development. Additional support comes from National Grid, Orange Capital, Ernst & Young and several other sponsors.

For a full list of sponsors and more information about 43North, visit www.43north.org

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