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43North: Cuomo announces $1 million grand prizewinner

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Fri, Oct 28th 2016 12:10 pm
43North
43North

Oncolinx takes top prize, while HigherMe receives $600,000 runner-up prize

Out of a total of 542 competitors, top 8 finalists awarded

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday announced Oncolinx as the winner of the 43North $1 million grand prize. Oncolinx, in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute, is developing the next generation of cancer therapies that target cancer cells without impacting healthy cells, thus reducing side effects and improving effectiveness.

For the third straight year, 43North awarded a total of $5 million in cash prizes, in addition to free incubator space in Buffalo for one year, guidance from mentors and access to other business incentive programs. 

The awards ceremony, emceed by Luke Russert, marked the end of the competition following a daylong event where 43North's 10 finalist teams answered questions and pitched their business ideas to a panel of notable, expert judges.

On Wednesday, during the 43North final rounds where 15 finalists competed for the top 10 slots, Cuomo announced $5 million to continue 43North in Western New York in 2017. The funding will bring hundreds more competitors to discover the advantages of building a business in the Buffalo region. 

"43North is proof of Buffalo's resurgence, showcasing the breadth of opportunity and resources available to attract and support emerging talent from across the globe," Cuomo said. "Congratulations to the 2016 43North winners, especially our grand prizewinner, Oncolinx. I am proud to welcome another group of promising entrepreneurs to Buffalo's emerging startup ecosystem."

"Under Gov. Cuomo's leadership, 43North and the entrepreneurs it attracts have become a staple of the new Buffalo's success story being told every day," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "This competition has proven to be a catalyst for continued success and innovation, as today's winners are helping to realize the promise of Buffalo we are finally living up to."

The final 43North round of pitches and the awards ceremony that followed was a culmination of the third annual 43North Week, an eight-day celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship that ran from Oct. 20-27 in Buffalo and featured a variety events, networking opportunities and activities.

43North finalists presented their pitches Thursday to a panel of seven expert judges from around the globe, including: 

  • Soraya Darabi, co-founder, Zady and Foodspotting 
  • Thomas Lynch, managing director, Goldman Sachs 
  • John M. MacMahon, founder and CEO, V2K Medical
  • Erik Moore, founder and managing director, Base Ventures 
  • Ambarish Mitra, co-founder, Blippar
  • Matthew Ryan, executive vice president and global chief strategy officer, Starbucks 
  • Tracy Valorie, senior vice president and general manager, Bausch + Lomb Rx, and Valeant Women's Health

43North Board Chairman Bill Maggio said, "When we launched this year's competition, we went all in on the quality of our applicants, and tonight was proof that it paid off. I'd like to congratulate our eight tremendous winners, especially Oncolinx, our grand prizewinner. I look forward to welcoming them all to Buffalo." 

New York Power Authority Chairman John R. Koelmel said, "With three years under its belt, it is incredible to see the impact that 43North has had in such a short amount of time. The New York Power Authority is honored to continue in playing an important part in funding this competition, and we look forward with great excitement to watching these eight winners find success in Western New York."

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said,"43North continues to attract world-class talent to Western New York's growing startup community. I want to thank Gov. Cuomo for his leadership in making this another historic day for Buffalo - bringing eight of the world's best and brightest startups to our city."

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and President of the University at Buffalo Satish K. Tripathi said, "For the third year in a row, this competition clearly demonstrates to the nation and the world that Buffalo is open for business. Thanks to Gov. Cuomo, 43North has made Buffalo a destination for startups and entrepreneurs to grow their business. We welcome this year's winners to Buffalo, and look forward to working with each of them to help realize their business dreams."

Jeff Belt, WNYREC co-chairman said, "43North continues to invigorate Western New York's rising startup ecosystem. We are eager to see how this year's winners can build and further this success." 

43North finals emcee Luke Russert said, "It's a thrill to be back in Buffalo for such a worthy cause and to see the city's incredible transformation first-hand. While there is still work to do, 43North has provided opportunities that will help make Buffalo America's next best innovation hub. What a time for the Queen City!" 

$1 Million Winner:

Oncolinx Hometown: Boston

Oncolinx in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute, is developing targeted cancer immunotherapies: antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). Oncolinx ADCs carry a patented, immune-activating drug payload called the Azonafide directly to the tumor. The Oncolinx platform is partnered with 14 leading pharmaceutical companies and is planned to enter clinical trials in mid-2017. 

Runner-up $600,000 Winner

HigherMe Hometown: Boston

HigherMe helps retail and hourly employers hire better employees faster. We offer a suite of software that makes hiring more efficient, all layered on top of an industry-specific network of candidates. Companies such as Dunkin' Donuts and Panera Bread trust us with the most important part of their operation: their people. 

Six $500,000 Winners: 

Asarasi Hometown: Katonah, New York

Asarasi has developed a completely new source of water to help replace the consumption of fresh ground water. Our water is harvested from trees and does not affect ground water resources. It is sustainable and renewable. Asarasi is pioneering the recovery and bottling of this biologically pure water!

Bounce Imaging Hometown: Boston

Bounce Imaging's 360-degree throwable cameras give first-responders critical intelligence as they enter dangerous spaces to keep us safe. Whether a police officer responding to a shooting or rescue worker digging through the earthquake rubble, users get instant 360/VR video right to their smartphone, letting them see the dangers ahead.

Formarum Hometown: Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

Formarum has developed a turbine technology that allows for creation of self-powered and self-contained devices, which can be effortlessly installed in pipes and eliminate all external components, including control panels, electrical cables and communication modules. This capability greatly reduces upfront costs, and significantly simplifies the purchasing and installation process.

PathoVax Hometown: Baltimore

PathoVax is commercializing RGVax, a low-cost vaccine preventing all HPV-associated cancers. Current vaccines focus on sexual-transmitted types, resulting in low uptake due to incomplete coverage and social stigma. RGVax's protection covers all oncogenic HPVs, and the added skin HPV protection positions RGVax as a childhood vaccine with superior uptakes. 

UltraCell Insulation Hometown: Boston

UltraCell Insulation makes high-performance building insulation from recycled corrugated cardboard. Our competitors in cellulose insulation are facing declining supplies of newsprint as readers turn online. In contrast, our unique patented and proven process allows us to manufacture a superior product from corrugated at a lower cost than conventional cellulose.

WeDidIt Hometown: Brooklyn

WeDidIt helps nonprofits raise more money and reach new donors online. The software service takes the hassle out of online fundraising and makes donor research simple and powerful. WeDidIt's platform aggregates donor data so that nonprofits can automate their prospect research and launch highly targeted fundraise campaigns. 

Alternate Winners: 

Arthena Hometown: New York

Arthena give you access to the alternative asset class with the highest barrier to entry and strongest historical returns. We acquire invest in the most liquid segment of the art market, yielding tremendous uncorrelated growth. Our strategy relies on automated and data-driven results. 

The Wealth Factory Hometown: Washington, D.C.

For vulnerable populations in need of financial literacy, The Wealth Factory designs financial literacy education technology games that walk users from birth to retirement in 12 interactive modules to exceed the personal finance common core standards. Our mobile game, "Credit Stacker," teaches people how to manage and interpret their credit report. 

People's Choice Award

43North also awarded the People's Choice Award, with a cash prize of $10,000, to The Wealth Factory. 

The New York Power Authority provided 43North $6 million for this year's competition. Previously, NYPA provided 43North grants of $5.4 million in 2014 and $6 million in 2015.

About 43North

43North is the $5 million startup competition, awarding cash prizes to some of the best entrepreneurs and startups from around the world. 43North operates through the support of Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" initiative and grants of $6 million from the NYPA and $1 million from ESD. Additional support comes from National Grid and several other sponsors. For a full list of sponsors and more information about 43North, visit www.43north.org.

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