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16 finalists will pitch live in Buffalo for shot at $1 million grand prize


Tue, Oct 4th 2016 06:50 pm

On Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the 16 finalists for 43North - a $5 million competition designed to encourage entrepreneurs with high growth potential to compete for enterprise funding in Western New York. The finalists will first pitch to more than 30 national investors and venture capitalists who will narrow the field to 10. The remaining 10 finalists then move on to compete in front of a panel of expert judges for a chance at the $1 million cash prize. 

"43North continues to draw some of the world's best, brightest and most innovative entrepreneurs to Buffalo - helping to remake the city and revitalize Western New York's economy -- and the best is yet to come," Cuomo said. "I look forward to the third year of this competition and the additional excitement and momentum it provides to a city that continues to be on the move." 

The competition's top competitor will win a $1 million cash prize, while first runner-up will win $600,000, and six third-place winners will receive $500,000. In addition to the cash prizes, winners will receive free space at the 43North incubator on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus for one year, guidance from mentors in related fields, access to other business incentive programs and the opportunity to apply for up to $400,000 in follow-on funding in 2017.

This year, for the first time, the 43North Finals will be divided into three rounds, between Wednesday, Oct. 26, and Thursday, Oct. 27. During the awards celebration, members of the public will be invited to vote via text message for their favorite finalist to win the People's Choice Award. The finalist with the most votes will receive an additional $10,000 on top of the cash prize.

All rounds are open to the public and tickets are free, but registration is required. Registration is now open at 43North.org. The schedule is as follows:

•Finals qualifying round, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 26, The Atrium @ Rich's, Buffalo: Sixteen finalists will pitch to 43North's finals judges - a group of more than 30 venture capitalists, angel investors and entrepreneurs - for the chance to be one of the 10 companies in 43North's finals award round. 

•Finals award round, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 27, Shea's Performing Arts Center, Buffalo: Ten Finalists will pitch to 43North's finals award judges - a group of some of the brightest minds in venture capital and entrepreneurship - for a shot at one of 43North's eight cash prizes. 

•Finals $1 million round and awards celebration, 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Shea's Performing Arts Center, Buffalo: 43North's top three finalists will pitch live onstage for either the $1 million grand prize, $600,000 runner-up prize or one of 43North's six $500,000 prizes. 

Bill Maggio, 43North board chair, said, "From the moment 43North launched its 2016 competition, this organization has been laser-focused on one goal: finding the highest-quality startups to compete in our finals. I am tremendously pleased with the caliber of the 16 companies that will stand onstage on Oct. 26 and 27, and I look forward to seeing which finalists rise to the top to become 43North winners."

New York Power Authority Chairman John R. Koelmel said, "The New York Power Authority is extremely proud to once again support 43North as part of Gov. Cuomo's 'Buffalo Billion' initiative. By providing funding to this incredible competition, we are furthering the economic resurgence that is happening in Buffalo and Western New York." 

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The 16 startups that will make their pitch in 43North's finals are tangible evidence that Gov. Cuomo's vision for a revitalized Buffalo is steadily becoming reality. Western New York has a newfound confidence, thanks to a startup ecosystem that attracts and cultivates startups, businesses and investors from around the globe." 

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and SolEpoxy Inc. President Jeff Belt said, "Over the past three years, 43North has leveraged our region's economic growth and brought promising startups to Western New York. This year is no exception. I wish all the finalists luck in their pitching and look forward to the innovations and advancements they will bring to Buffalo."

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair University at Buffalo Satish K. Tripathi said, "Thanks to Gov. Cuomo, 43North has once again made Buffalo a destination for business and startups to grow, advance and evolve their ideas. Western New York is a supportive and welcoming place for entrepreneurs, and 43North continues to uniquely position Buffalo as a city on the rise."

The 16 finalists for 2016 (in their own words):

Abcombi Biosciences (Hometown: Buffalo): Imagine the production of safe, effective, global vaccines and therapeutics made locally. Abcombi Biosciences has the technology, team and drive to enact this vision, allowing a new brand of solutions for the health challenges of today and tomorrow.

Andromium (Hometown: San Francisco): Andromium is building a future where the only computer you'll need is your smartphone. Founded by Google and Y Combinator alumni, Andromium's software makes Android function like a familiar desktop by just downloading an app.

Arthena (Hometown: New York City): Arthena invests in the most liquid segment of the art market, yielding tremendous uncorrelated growth. We give you access to the alternative asset class with the highest barrier to entry and strongest historical returns. Our strategy relies on automated and data driven results. 

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 earthquake rubble, users get instant 360/VR video right to their smartphone, letting them see the dangers ahead.

CleanCapital (Hometown: Washington, D.C.): CleanCapital revolutionizes clean energy investment. Clean energy finance has been limited to big banks, private equity firms, and tax equity investors. CleanCapital gives more people access to these investments, and project owners an opportunity to exit their portfolios. Our investment platform identifies, screens and manages clean energy projects for its investors.

Formarum (Hometown: Toronto): 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.

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 like Dunkin' Donuts and Panera Bread trust us with the most important part of their operation: their people.

MobioSense (Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan): Imagine a future with fewer heart attacks. Well, now you can. MobioSense's HERO prevents and predicts heart attacks with the latest and most sensitive Troponin biochips, providing instant and affordable heart disease monitoring. With HERO, you can see your numbers and conquer your disease, 24/7, anywhere, anytime.

NeoReach (Hometown: San Francisco): NeoReach is the leading social media influencer marketing platform. As TV becomes less effective and more and more people use Ad block, big media companies are turning to social media influencers to promote their brand. Customers like Wal-Mart, FOX and NBC use NeoReach to search influencers, manage campaigns and track results.

Oncolinx (Hometown: Boston): Oncolinx, in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute, is developing targeted cancer immunotherapies: antibody-drug conjugates. 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.

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.

Strawberry Energy (Hometown: Belgrade, Serbia): We provide scalable urban infrastructure that helps create smart cities in very practical sense by providing "on-the-go" access to energy, connectivity, relevant local info and environmental quality measuring to people. Our "Smart Benches" are beautifully designed, solar powered, Wi-Fi enabled social-hubs that are super easy to install and retrofit.

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.

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 fundraising campaigns.

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


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