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ESD announces finalists for 5th annual 43North competition; $1M grand prize


Tue, Sep 11th 2018 03:25 pm
18 startups to pitch for cut of $5 million prize, including $1 million grand prize; diverse group of founders from 8 US states & Canada 'excited' to move their companies to WNY
Empire State Development on Tuesday announced the 18 finalists of this year's 43North competition. The $5 million startup competition, which is supported by the governor's Buffalo Billion initiative, is designed to encourage entrepreneurs with high growth potential to compete for enterprise funding in Western New York. The finalists, who hail from regions across North America, will participate in two rounds of live pitching at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo on Oct. 3 for a shot at one of 43North's eight cash awards, which include a $1 million grand prize and seven awards of $500,000.
ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "In just five years of the 43North competition, Buffalo has become a beacon for global entrepreneurs with cutting-edge ideas and innovative businesses, bringing their talent and energy to the region and building Western New York's reputation as an entrepreneurial hub."
In addition to cash, 43North winners receive free space in 43North's incubator on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, guidance from experienced mentors in their field, and access to other business incentive programs.
Ten startups will pitch live in front of seven finals Judges for the chance to win one of 43North's eight cash prizes.
Tickets to attend the 43North Finals are available to the public. Those interested in attending are encouraged to reserve their seats now through www.43North.org, the Shea's Performing Arts Center box office, and Ticketmaster. The event begins at 6 p.m. at 646 Main St., Buffalo.
As of September, 43North's portfolio of 37 companies has achieved a combined $108 million in outside investment, and conservative estimates place the portfolio's total valuation at $332 million, an increase of over $300 million since 43North's inception in 2014. These start-ups are collectively responsible for more than 250 full-time jobs based in Western New York, with new hires added nearly every day.
43North Board Chair Eric Reich said, "We had applications from remarkable startups with evidence of traction, strong products and excellent teams throughout the application process this year, and the result of that process is reflected in an amazing pool of 43North finalists. I look forward to an exciting night for the startup community on Oct. 3 and can't wait to see Buffalo open their arms and welcome the next group of winners."
43North President Alex Gress said, "43North Finals is great opportunity to get a first look at the next generation of companies that will grow in Western New York. This is a culmination of nearly a year-long process by the 43North staff and applicants. The stakes will be high as 43North's finalists make the pitch of their lives. Save the date and reserve your seat at Shea's because this will be an entertaining battle for a cut of $5 million in cash awards."
Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and SolEpoxy Inc. President Jeff Belt said, "43North is more than a competition. It's a community effort to tell startups that Western New York is a place that can support their scalability by providing mentorship, work space, an exciting peer group and highly educated employees with a mid-western work ethic."
Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and President of the State University of New York at Fredonia Dr. Virginia Horvath said, "43North is making Western New York a top choice destination for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. These bright young startup creators come for the prize money and more and more are staying because they see the region as a great place to work, live and grow their ideas into viable businesses."
The 18 Finalists for 2019 are:
AXIS. Recognizing the need for a retrofit solution for motorizing window shades, they developed Gear, a smart device that motorizes and automates any existing window shade in minutes. Hometown: Toronto.
Charmtech Labs is reinventing reading to enable authentically inclusive education. Its mission is to empower people to process information more effectively. Its product is Capti Voice, a reading assistant helping students of all abilities keep up with their reading. Hometown: Stony Brook.
Dimien is a growing business dedicated to solving clear, defined market challenges in cleantech by leveraging chemical manufacturing routes to unique compounds that provide its strategic partners with a competitive advantage in the market. At its core, it is a chemical manufacturer. Hometown: Amherst.
Forsake designs all-weather boots and sneakers for travel and adventure. Hometown: Boston.
HiOperator provides customer service as a service. It helps companies overcome the classic challenges of customer service through a combination of automation, technology and amazing people. Hometown: San Francisco.
Immersed Games helps teachers deliver hands-on, next-generation science learning - with a video game! The game, "Tyto Online," builds science and engineering skills with student experiences like solving an invasive species problem, building ecosystems and breeding dragons. Teachers assign standards-aligned content and receive student assessments based on gameplay. Hometown: Gainesville, Florida.
Innovative Wellness Systems is a biomechanical footwear, technology and data analytics company. The IWS team has over 30 years of footwear, technology and medical experience to provide smart solutions for health and wellness problems as an integral part of the mobile health ecosystem. Preventing Foot ulcers is the mission. Hometown: Dover, Massachusetts.
Kickfurther is the world's first inventory crowdfunding platform where anyone can support the growth of brands they love. Hometown: Boulder, Colorado.
LegWorks is a social enterprise revolutionizing access to high-quality prosthetics for amputees. It believes every amputee, no matter where they live, has the right to walk with confidence. It designs, manufactures and distributes innovative and patented prosthetic technologies, and uses a tiered pricing model to serve diverse patients globally. Hometown: Buffalo.
Magnusmode leverages mobile technology to help people with autism and cognitive special needs live with greater inclusion and independence. The company's flagship product, MagnusCards, helps people worldwide to learn life skills (e.g. cooking, traveling, personal care) through partnership with content producing customers including Colgate, CIBC, A&W and Toronto Pearson Airport. Hometown: Waterloo, Ontario.
MF Fire is a team of fire scientists engineering the perfect wood stove. Its MIT-award winning app-driven smart wood stove delivered the cleanest burn ever achieved. It re-imagined wood stoves as clean energy sources and created smart technology that's up to 60-times cleaner, releases 30 percent less CO2 and achieves 90 percent real-world efficiency. Hometown: Baltimore.
NaturAll Club uses food technology to offer the first hair products on the market made from fresh ingredients such as avocado pulp, bananas and coconut creme. NaturAll Club connects customers with the right hair ingredients using an algorithm quiz on its eCommerce site: NaturAllClub.com. Hometown: Philadelphia.
Routeique synchronizes supply chains. It aligns partners, large and small, to enable data and product to flow seamlessly from partner to partner. From the largest manufacturers to its networks of distributors, to retailers large and small, Routeique ties them all together into a single, harmonious system, improving profitability along the way. Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia.
Rozzy Learning Co. is a subscription-based software company that sells digital education materials with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and careers. In 18 months, it has signed on over 400 schools, generated more than $300,000 in revenue and has retained 98 percent of its clients. Hometown: St. Louis.
Savormetrics is a technology leader in artificial intelligence-driven portable sensing devices that provide businesses in the food sector with meaningful food safety and quality metrics. It helps food processors, grocery chains and grain elevators to reduce shrinkage costs due to spoilage, regulatory issues and out of spec recalls. Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario.
SparkCharge offers a portable electric vehicle charging unit that is small, ultra-fast, and modular. Since the chargers are compact, they can be delivered to an EV owner on demand via Uber, Lyft or AAA. This creates a mobile on-demand charging infrastructure allowing electric vehicle owners to have their cars charged ultra-fast anywhere. Hometown: Syracuse.
Touchjet is a unified collaboration platform with hardware, software and a SaaS business model transforming how people collaborate digitally in meeting rooms and classrooms. Its solution is cost-effective to enable large touchscreen interactivity with mobile integration and cloud services for people to share content and collaborate. Hometown: Campbell, California.
Water Hero is an IoT device that allows one to control one's water with a smartphone. One gets real-time water usage information. One can turn your water on/off remotely, and if a pipe breaks in one's house, it automatically shuts one's water off and sends a text. Hometown: Beverly.
Click here for all the details on the 43North 2018 competition.
Founded in 2014, 43North is made possible by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's historic Buffalo Billion initiative, with support from the New York Power Authority and corporate sponsors.

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