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The midway point: An update on 43North's 2014 winning companies


Mon, Jul 27th 2015 04:30 pm

Awardee activity includes staff hiring, product advancements and beta launch, new vendor partnerships, rebranding, receipt of additional external funding and grants, a federal "orphan drug status" designation, and other notable developments

43North - the world's largest business idea competition - recently shared updates on the 11 prize-winning companies from the inaugural 2014 competition. These companies are currently operating out of the 43North incubator located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) and are using the award winnings to help grow and develop their business ideas.

As part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" initiative, 43North awards $5 million in cash prizes annually 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 the "Buffalo Billion."

"I'm very proud of the progress of our 2014 winners," 43North Executive Director John Gavigan said. "Over the first half of the year, we've watched these companies evolve and grow and, at the same time, positively impact the local startup ecosystem and the Western New York business community. While we are working on the year-two competition and reviewing qualified submissions, our staff has remained dedicated to ensuring that the current cohort of winners is thriving and moving their businesses forward."

43North also released a new video, featuring updates from each of the 2014 winners at the end of the second quarter. It can be found here: www.youtube.com/fortythreenorth.

Updates on the 11 prize-winning companies from the 2014 competition are as follows:

ASi LLC: ASi has performed initial trial runs with tooling for its first customer purchase order, and has hired Paul Krieger as manufacturing engineer, John Hogenmiller as process engineer and Mike Saraf as director of sales and marketing. The company is engaging with several well-known multinational OEMs as customer prospects, and is interviewing and looking to bring on several additional sales representatives.

Asana Medical: Asana Medical has completed a pilot animal study to test the effectiveness of its medical device. Asana has obtained an exclusive, worldwide, field-specific license from the University of Pittsburgh on multiple patents and patent applications covering methods and for treating inflammatory bowel disease without a colectomy, including the use of extracellular matrix-derived gels and their methods for preparation and sterilization. Asana plans to initiate a "first in human" trial of its medical device in the latter half of 2016 and is also exploring strategic partnerships with established manufacturers in the space.

DaStrong (formerly EcoBreeze): DaStrong has attracted strong global venture capital and angel investment interest in its fan-less cooling solution. According to the company, partnership deals are in process with several major companies in Asia. The details of such arrangements are confidential at this time. The company also launched a new website: www.dastrong.com.

Efferent Labs Inc. (formerly Raland Therapeutics): Efferent Labs has designed a second-generation prototype, much smaller than originally anticipated. The company has hired two part-time scientists and one full-time scientist. Zach Eisen, former intern at Z80 Labs in Buffalo, was the company's first full-time hire. Software development is in process and being completed by Buffalo-based ASG Inc. and Helm UX & Design. Efferent Labs has received a $15,000 High Tech Rochester grant and a $25,000 UB CAT grant. Formerly Raland Therapeutics, Efferent Labs underwent a name change and created a new website: www.efferentlabs.com. Representatives from Efferent Labs have represented 43North as roadshow ambassadors in Las Vegas and other venues.

Energy Intelligence: Energy Intelligence has advanced the engineering of its road-mounted energy-harvesting technology and has generated interest among several key Western New York partners, including National Grid and Ferguson Electric. The company is working with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and the Peace Bridge Authority on potential pilot testing opportunities and is gearing up for its first field tests. Energy Intelligence was selected to receive a UB CAT grant and is engaged in discussions with venture capitalists for further investment. The company also hired a director of technology and four full-time interns, all University at Buffalo graduate students. CEO Daniel Shani traveled to Chicago and Boston as a 43North ambassador.

Genetesis: Genetesis has hired Matt Colpoys as its chief operating officer. Colpoys was previously employed by BioGateway Partners LLC in Orchard Park. Genetesis has made a series of additional hires, including two summer interns, and Manny Setegn on a full-time basis. The company recently completed a branding and website development initiative, and CEO Peeyush Shrivastava appeared in Columbus, Ohio, as a 43North ambassador. Genetesis has filed two additional U.S. patents and advanced development of its first-generation functional software platform, which has garnered interest from several strategic partners.

HemoGenyx: HemoGenyx has established a research lab in the New York State Center of Excellence for Life Sciences and Bioinformatics. The company received IRB approval through collaboration with the University at Buffalo for use of umbilical cords, cord blood and placentas, and IRB approval through collaboration with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute for the use of normal human liver samples. HemoGenyx formed a collaboration with Kaleida Health, the largest health care provider in Western New York; signed a material transfer agreement for the procurement of umbilical cords, cord blood and placentas; and an agreement with a publically traded biotech company to create humanized mice for drug development, becoming a revenue-stage company. HemoGenyx received "orphan drug designation" of adult hemogenic endothelial cells for treatment of aplastic anemia from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and secured its first angel investment outside of the 43North competition. 

KeepUp: KeepUp released the beta version of its mobile app on May 27 in the iTunes App Store after months of development. Representatives from KeepUp also visited Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and New York City as 43North ambassadors. Company co-founders Lauren Washington and Angel Davis were selected to judge the Queensborough Community College Entrepreneurship Finals in New York City and were featured on Roland Martin's national television show "News One Now" on TVOne.

Medical Conservation Devices: Medical Conservation Devices' CLARITY-IATM anesthesia machine has passed all third-party testing, showing compliance of the system to recognized international standards in support of its initial indication as an anesthesia machine. Furthermore, the company has gained the commitment of an internationally recognized physician to act as the lead principal investigator for the initial clinical safety trials in support of its second indication for ICU sedation.

Programmable Equipment Company: Programmable Equipment Company LLC has formulated a partnership agreement with a machine automation company in Rochester to provide semi-automation systems with an international aerospace and defense client. The company also deployed a work automate station at Buffalo Manufacturing Works, and discussed working with that company on semi-automation projects involving robotics and welding.

triMirror: triMirror has developed a new version of its in-store virtual mirror, to work effectively with Microsoft Kinect 2.0. Prospective clients from Dubai, China, Arizona and New York City visited Buffalo to tour the 43North incubator and meet with the company. Jenny Tcharnaia, triMirror's co-founder and CFO, presented for the Buffalo State College fashion and textile technology department and traveled throughout Southern Ontario and Toronto as a 43North ambassador. She also exhibited at the Collision Conference in Las Vegas, and was included in separate USA Today, Globe and Mail and Hamilton Spectator articles on tech startups and disruption. In August, triMirror will work with the Walden Galleria and its Microsoft, Guess and Gap stores for a 3D virtual fitting room event. 

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

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