Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced applications are being accepted for the eighth year of 43North, the state-funded accelerator that invests $5 million annually to attract world-class entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in Buffalo. This year, 43North is changing its terms by offering companies the chance to receive an even larger individual award than in previous years. 43North will select five seed-stage startups to receive an investment of $1 million each. The winners will join 43North's accelerator program, which has a proven track record of picking and elevating high-growth winners.
"Since its launch in 2014, 43North has created a new epicenter of technology and innovation in Buffalo," Hochul said. "Now, as we build back better than ever from the pandemic, 43North continues to revitalize this community and encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs and creators to build and participate in Buffalo's growth. Innovation has always been at the heart of this city, and I applaud 43North for their role in helping spur economic opportunity."
On Oct. 20, 43North will host a live competition at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, where a panel of judges will consider pitches from 10 finalists, then select and announce the five winning companies on stage. The startups selected to join 43North's 2023 cohort will each receive a $1 million investment, as well as office space, mentorship and support from 43North. They will also have access to 43North's network of more than 600 North American investors. Companies will also have the opportunity to enroll in the START-UP NY program, and 43North's mentorship and support program, which includes:
√ One-to-one mentorship, workshops, and access to a bank of consultant hours;
√ Access to recruitment support services to help them grow their teams in Buffalo;
√ Connections for business development; and
√ Marketing and media relations support, and investor introductions.
Selected companies agree to provide 5% equity to 43North and to locate their CEO and a minimum of half of their staff in Buffalo for at least a year. See the full terms and conditions here.
Empire State Development Commissioner and President and CEO Hope Knight said, "There has never been a better time to build a startup in Buffalo. More Western New Yorkers than ever are connected to the region's growing startup ecosystem – from investors, employees and suppliers to mentors, customers and service providers. We encourage startups with strong growth potential to compete for one of five $1 million prizes and the chance to scale their companies in Buffalo's thriving high-tech hub."
43North President Colleen E. Heidinger said, "We are pleased to launch year eight of 43North's competition, with a new funding structure that reflects both the changing technology investment landscape and also the increased interest in investing in early-stage technology startups outside of the traditional markets. We're excited to get started on our road to discovering five unique businesses to add to the 43North portfolio and Buffalo's larger startup and innovation ecosystem."
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "As the Buffalo and Western New York economy continues its recovery from the pandemic, it's critical to keep fostering the next class of entrepreneurs. In its first seven years, the 43North competition has guided five-dozen start-ups to success, with more than 60% making the City of Buffalo their home to continue their dreams, creating more than 1,000 jobs. I thank Gov. Hochul for her continued commitment to the 43North program and give my sincere thanks to the 43North team for building on the great success of this business competition year after year."
A press release stated, “Founded in 2014, 43North is a signature initiative demonstrating New York state's commitment to and investment strategy for growing Buffalo's innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Over the past eight years, 43North has invested in a diverse portfolio of over 59 companies, 27% of which have founders of color and 18% have female founders. Those startups have gone on to raise over $1 billion in capital and boast a valuation of $4.4 billion. Nearly 60% percent of those companies have maintained a material presence in the Queen City, creating over 1,000 local jobs.
“43North's portfolio includes tech unicorn ACV Auctions, which brought 43North to new heights as its first publicly traded portfolio company, after an IPO on March 24, 2021.
“In addition to ACV, 43North has an impressive roster of early investments in companies like barbershop software platform Squire, who tripled their valuation to $750 million in 2021 alone; and Circuit Clinical, a startup aimed at bringing diversity to clinical trials, who recently closed a $29 million Series C.”
This year's 43North applicants will answer approximately 40 questions and upload a 60-second video in which they explain why they think their company would be a good fit for Buffalo. Startups have until noon Monday, June 27, to submit their applications via 43North.org.
The judging process will remain similar to years past with the following cadence:
√ A first-round written review of the applications;
√ A semifinal round of live video pitches; and
√ Winners announced during a live in-person pitch event at Shea's Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Oct. 20.
On Wednesday, June 29, 43North is teaming up with program alumni and founders to host the "43North Why2Apply" webinar where entrepreneurs can learn more about the competition and accelerator program. More details on the webinar, program and application for 43North's 2022 startup competition can be found here.
43North operates through the support of New York state, Empire State Development, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and several other sponsors. More information about 43North is available here.