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Cuomo announces finalists for 43North, world's largest business idea competition


Fri, Oct 23rd 2015 10:20 am

43North finalists will compete for a grand prize of $1 million on October 29

On Thursday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the 11 finalists for 43North, the world's largest business idea competition.

The finalists will compete in front of a panel of expert judges Oct. 29 at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo to win 43North's top cash prize of $1 million, one of six $500,000 prizes, or four $250,000 prizes. Winners will also receive free space at the 43North incubator on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus for one year, guidance from mentors in related fields, and access to other business incentive programs such as START-UP NY.

"With the continued growth of Western New York's startup economy and widespread recognition of Buffalo as a city on the move, I am eager to see another set of promising young companies join in the region's entrepreneurial revolution," Cuomo said. "By supporting innovation, we are both stimulating regional economic activity and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs and job creators." 

The public is invited to attend the 43North finals pitches and awards ceremony. Tickets are free, but registration is required at www.43north.org. The day's schedule is as follows:

  • Morning pitch session: 9 a.m. to noon
  • Afternoon pitch session: 1-4 p.m.
  • Awards ceremony: 6-7 p.m.

The public also is invited to vote online to determine which finalist will win this year's People's Choice Award. The finalist with the most votes via http://vote.43north.org on Oct. 29 will receive an additional $10,000 on top of a $250,000, $500,000 or $1 million prize. Larkin Development Group sponsors 43North's People's Choice Award.

43North Board Chair Jordan Levy said, "This year, 43North attracted more than 11,000 registrants from 117 countries, all 50 U.S. states and nine of 10 Canadian provinces. Now these 11 talented finalists will pitch before a world-class panel of judges for the chance to win the competition's top prize of $1 million." 

New York Power Authority Chairman John R. Koelmel said, "While 43North's 11 finalists have already won, I look forward to participating in the awards ceremony on Oct. 29 and the announcement of who receives the $1 million top prize. The New York Power Authority is extremely proud to once again be a leading supporter of the 43North business idea competition and to further contribute to the economic resurgence of Western New York."

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Gov. Cuomo's vision for a revitalized Buffalo has sparked newfound confidence within the Western New York region and provided the support necessary to cultivate an entrepreneurial ecosystem that attracts interest from startups and innovators around the world. 43North is a truly global initiative that has catalyzed the region's entrepreneurial spirit."

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and SolEpoxy Inc. President Jeff Belt said, "43North has leveraged our region's economic growth by bringing bright, promising start-ups to Western New York and this year is no exception. Gov. Cuomo and this 'Buffalo Billion' initiative continue to position our region as a place where investment opportunities abound and innovative startups flourish. I wish all the finalists the best of luck."

WNYREDC Co-Chair and President of the University at Buffalo Satish K. Tripathi said, "This competition has again generated an overwhelming interest in Buffalo from entrepreneurs here in the U.S. and around the world. In line with Gov. Cuomo's vision, 43North continues to position Western New York as a welcoming and supportive place for entrepreneurs and their startup companies. We are proud to have the finalists become part of Buffalo's ecosystem and we look forward to helping their ideas become a reality while creating jobs and opportunities along the way." 

The 11 finalists for 2015 are:

ACV Auctions of Buffalo

ACV Auctions is a live wholesale marketplace for dealer-only automobile auctions. Conducted via a smartphone application, ACV Auctions creates liquidity for wholesale inventory (trade-ins and aged automobiles) 24-hours-a-day. An intuitive five-minute process of snapping pictures and drafting a vehicle description launches an auction to hundreds of registered buyers.

CoachMePlus of Buffalo

CoachMePlus manages data that coaches and athletes use to optimize athletic performance. Athletic teams at all levels use the system to track athlete health, manage workouts and improve game day readiness. Its NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA and NCAA clients illustrate its ability to support athletes, coaches and front office personnel.

Cytocybernetics of North Tonawanda

Cytocybernetics has developed novel technology to improve drug safety screening. It will ensure new drugs brought to market do not cause cardiac arrhythmias as a side effect. This technology will increase the speed and reliability with which pharmaceutical companies can navigate the FDA approval process for all new drugs.

Uma Bioseed of Ithaca

Uma Bioseed has developed a patented, enzyme-based, organic seed-treatment solution. This solution protects agricultural seeds from pathogens (virus, bacteria and fungus) both on and around the seed throughout the critical germination phase, enabling the possibility of significantly enhanced crop yields and greater food security.

CleanSlate of Toronto

The "CleanSlate" ultra violet system is a tabletop rapid device sanitizer for improved infection control. It sanitizes smartphones, tablets, glucometers, thermometers and a range of other portable electronics using UV light. Using RFID tags, the "CleanSlate" provides infection control staff with accurate compliance data on device sanitization reports.

Disease Diagnostic Group (DDG) of Boston

DDG is focused on screening, tracking and diagnosing highly infectious diseases that benefit from ultra-low cost and rapid early-stage diagnosis, potentially saving millions. Its platform technology has yielded portable and reusable devices capable of quantitatively assessing diseases from a drop of blood - in one-minute - at ultra-low costs.

GetGems of Tel Aviv, Israel

GetGems is the first digital currency startup to link mobile payments on the blockchain with a social networking platform. Unlike other messaging apps that offer payment functionality, GetGems reaches beyond those currently banked to those without a bank account or debit card. Blockchain technology enables this transfer of value.

Painless1099 of Richmond, Virginia

Painless1099 opens "smart bank accounts" for freelance professionals to automate withholding, saving for, and paying state and federal taxes.

Plum.io of Waterloo, Ontario

Plum is a turnkey cloud software solution using modern behavioral science and predictive analytics to instantly identify high potential job applicants for success and fit. The results are scientifically matched up to an employer's needs, for each role, creating an invaluable shortlist. 

Qoints of Toronto

Qoints aggregates digital marketing data. As less than 25 percent of brand marketers use data to justify decision making, Qoints helps brands and agencies evaluate the performance of their digital campaigns by comparing against industry benchmarks.

Voiceitt of Jerusalem, Israel

Voiceitt's product, Talkitt, aims to revolutionize the way people who have speech disabilities due to various motor, speech and language disabilities communicate, enabling them to use the most natural means there is: their own voice. 

About 43North

43North is the world's largest business idea competition and 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 the support of Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" initiative and grants of $6 million from NYPA and $1 million from Empire State Development. Additional support comes from National Grid, EY, the State University of New York at Buffalo and several other sponsors. For a full list of sponsors and more information about 43North, visit www.43north.org.

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