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43North announces 2021 startup competition finalists


Wed, Oct 6th 2021 02:50 pm

19 startups from around the world to pitch for cut of $5 million, including top prize of $1 million

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the 19 finalists for the 43North seventh annual startup competition. The finalists will be coming to Buffalo later this month to pitch for one of eight investments totaling $5 million, including a top prize of $1 million. These startups originate from across the U.S., as well as Canada and the U.K., and cover an extensive set of industries, from clinical testing to fintech services, sustainable farming, artificial intelligence, and consumer tools.

"Buffalo has a rich history of innovation, and 43North is continuing this tradition by drawing some of the world's most exciting startups to the region," Hochul said. "The confluence of technology and talent is spurring remarkable economic growth, and we're looking forward to seeing this year's finalists compete to be a part of this transformation."

The finalists were announced live by Kevin Siskar, VP of portfolio and selection at 43North, who led the diligence process along with more than 60 judges who reviewed applications, met with founders and made recommendations on selection.

43North President Colleen E. Heidinger said, "This is an exciting milestone in the hunt for our seventh cohort. Now, it's all eyes on 43North finals as we prepare to welcome these founders and a number of other guests to Buffalo later this month for what promises to be a memorable, in-person return to Shea's Theatre."

Attendees at this year's 43North finals event will cheer on a new crop of competitors vying for a place in 43North's portfolio and meet new judges. In addition to a top investment of $1 million, and seven $500,000 prizes, winners receive free space in 43North's new incubator in Seneca One Tower, guidance from experienced mentors in their field, and access to other business incentive programs.

Over the past seven years, 43North has invested in a diverse portfolio of 51 companies, 31% of which have founders of color and 23% having female founders. Nearly half of those companies have maintained a material presence in the Queen City, creating over 800 local jobs. Among the ranks is tech unicorn ACV Auctions, which brought 43North to new heights as its first publicly traded portfolio company after an IPO on March 24.

43North Board Chair Eric Reich said, "The impact of this competition is undeniable: 43North's portfolio companies have raised more than $1 billion, with collective valuations at nearly $6 billion. By investing in cutting-edge businesses, we are bringing top talent and jobs to the region, supporting their growth, and fueling an economic resurgence in Western New York."

The 43North finals is free to attend, but registration is required, and seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Free tickets for 43North Finals on Oct. 28 (6 p.m.) at Shea's Performing Arts Center can be reserved at 43North.org.

The 2021 43North finalists are:

•Akala – Beverly Hills, California: Akala is a college admissions platform that provides customized guidance to students as early as the eighth grade, in order to optimize their college applications.

•BetterMynd – Buffalo: BetterMynd is an online therapy platform that partners directly with universities to provide their students access to a diverse network of licensed mental health counselors from the privacy and convenience of their laptops and mobile devices.

•Big Wheelbarrow – Austin, Texas: Big Wheelbarrow is a software as a service platform that enables food distributors and grocers to manage supply chains in order to meet consumer demand for local food profitably, efficiently and safely.

•BotFactory – New York City: BotFactory's 3-D printer product uses conductive ink to allow anyone to prototype printed circuit boards in minutes instead of weeks.

•Cheelcare – Richmond Hill, Canada: Cheelcare's three lines of mobility devices make any manual wheelchair a powered wheelchair, increasing users' independence and comfort while preventing shoulder pain typically caused by the lifelong use of a wheelchair.

•FLOX – London: FLOX's machine vision technology enables welfare-first farming, allowing poultry farm owners to improve chicken health and wellbeing, while also operating more ethically, profitably and sustainably.

•Infiuss Health – San Jose, California: Infiuss Health powers remote research/clinical trials with its software as a service platform, connecting clinical researchers in the U.S. and E.U. to patient participants in Africa.

•Kapitalwise – New York City: Kapitalwise's microinvestment platform helps financial institutions pilot and deploy financial wellness tools to their existing customers, such as calculators, content and templates.

•Kilter – Madison, Wisconsin: Kilter is a mobile platform that enables people to turn their everyday activities into opportunities to drive charitable dollars to their favorite cause while building culture and community to make a global impact.

•Laundris – Manor, Texas: Laundris is a software as a service (SaaS) platform that helps hotels optimize and streamline linen management, reducing expenses and operating costs by up to 40%.

•Metabob Inc. – Mountain View, California: Metabob is an AI-assisted tool that cuts debugging in half by reviewing Python code for hidden errors and performance sinks.

•Ognomy – Williamsville: Ognomy's HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platform helps people to get tested, diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea from the comfort of home.

•Ontopical Inc. – Calgary, Canada: Ontopical uses machine learning and natural language processing to monitor local governments in order to help customers gain valuable signals of upcoming contract opportunities and business risks related to policy.

•ShearShare Inc. – McKinney, Texas: ShearShare is a business-to-business (B2B) mobile platform helping salon owners drive additional revenue through filling empty salon chairs on-demand, through their matching of salon/barbershop owners with vetted licensed beauty professionals.

•Tequity LLC – Kalamazoo, Michigan: Tequity's platform gives its clients a no-code solution to building and deploying a successful mobile app in a fraction of the time.

•Top Seedz – Buffalo: Top Seedz produces artisan crackers and roasted seeds packed with nutrition and flavor using the simplest ingredients that nature provides.

•VeriTX Corp – East Aurora: VeriTX is a marketplace of digital schematics serving supply chain solutions to customers across the aerospace, medical and industrial markets.

•Verivend – Buffalo: Verivend offers the quickest way available to pay and get paid, allowing businesses to transact with all customers and vendors and a digital wallet powering instant B2B and business to consumer (B2C) payments.

•Zealot Interactive – Arlington, Texas: The best way to learn guitar, Zealot's app offers augmented reality video lessons for real-life musical instruments paired with state-of-the-art hardware.

43North is an accelerator program that hosts an annual startup competition, investing $5 million per year to attract and cultivate high-growth companies in Buffalo. 43North operates through the support of Gov. Kathy Hochul, Empire State Development, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and several other sponsors. For more information about 43North, visit www.43north.org.

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