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43North announces award-winning entrepreneur Megan Smith to speak during $1 million round & awards celebration


Mon, Oct 24th 2016 10:15 am

Public invited to witness the intense finals of the $5 million startup competition Oct. 27

43North - the $5 million startup competition -announced award-winning entrepreneur and Buffalo native Megan Smith will speak during 43North's finals million-dollar round and awards celebration, held at Shea's Performing Arts Center at 6 p.m. Oct. 27.

That evening, 43North will award its $1 million grand prize, a $600,000 runner-up prize and six $500,000 prizes. 43North's winners will receive free incubator space 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. They also will be eligible to apply for an additional $400,000 in follow-on funding in 2017.

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are going fast. Register for tickets at www.43North.org.

"43North is making a huge splash on a national scale and we're excited to welcome a renowned entrepreneur like Megan Smith to speak to the startup ecosystem in her hometown as part of 43North's finals million-dollar round and awards celebration," said John Gavigan, executive director of 43North.

Smith is an award-winning entrepreneur, engineer and tech teacher. She most recently served as a vice president at Google, first leading new business development - where she managed early-stage partnerships, pilot explorations and technology licensing across Google's global engineering and product teams for nine years. She later served as a VP in the leadership team at Google[x] - where she co-created the company's "SolveForX" innovation community project and "WomenTechmakers" tech-diversity initiative and worked on a range of other projects.

During her tenure, Smith led the company's acquisitions of major platforms such as Google Earth, Google Maps and Picasa, and also served as GM of Google.org during its engineering transition, adding Google Crisis Response, Google for Nonprofits and Earth Outreach/Engine, and increased employee engagement.

Megan previously served as CEO of PlanetOut, a leading LGBT online community in the early days of the web, where the team broke through many barriers and partnered closely with AOL, Yahoo!, MSN and other major web players. Smith was part of designing early smartphone technologies at General Magic and worked on multimedia products at Apple Japan.

Over the years, Smith has contributed to a wide range of engineering projects, including an award-winning bicycle lock, space station construction program and solar cookstoves. She was a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology student team that designed, built and raced a solar car 2,000 miles across the Australian outback.

Smith has served on the boards of MIT, MIT Media Lab, MIT Technology Review and Vital Voices; as a member of the USAID advisory committee on voluntary foreign aid; and as an adviser to the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the Malala Fund, which she co-founded.

She holds degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she completed her master's thesis work at the MIT Media Lab.

In September 2014, President Barack Obama named Smith the U.S. chief technology officer in the office of science and technology policy. In this role, she serves as an assistant to the president. As U.S. CTO, Smith focuses on how technology policy, data and innovation can advance the future of this nation.

43North operates through the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" initiative, and grants of $6 million from the New York Power Authority and $1 million from Empire State Development. 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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