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43North's annual startup competition to attract startups to Buffalo


Thu, May 2nd 2024 04:00 pm

Buffalo-based accelerator kicks off search for 5 companies to receive $1 million investment

√ Celebrates decade of investing in world-class entrepreneurs in Buffalo

√ Interested founders can find application for 43North’s 2024 startup competition here

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced applications are open for the 43North annual pitch competition.

Her team said, “This year marks a decade of the state-funded accelerator investing $5 million annually to attract world-class entrepreneurs to grow their startups in Buffalo. The accelerator will take applications through June 7 in pursuit of the next five companies to receive a $1 million investment and secure the opportunity to join 43North’s immersive program.”

Hochul said, “The 43North accelerator program has been a collaboration amongst government agencies and the broader business community that has not only attracted – but retained – entrepreneurs from across the world, creating a proven economic model. The fact that this year marks the 10-year anniversary of this operating model shows just how successful this incubator program has been in bolstering jobs, community, and exceptional economic rebirth into our Western New York region.”

A press release stated, “To kick off this year’s application process, 43North hosted a press conference at Top Seedz, a year seven, $1 million recipient that recently opened its new world headquarters and production facility in downtown Buffalo. The cracker company’s founder and CEO, Rebecca Brady, leveraged her 43North investment to grow her team, invest in new equipment and move into a newly renovated, 35,000-square-foot production facility. The new site brings 10 times the capacity of the original plant and will serve as the production house for the gluten-free and vegan crackers, seeds, and the company’s new on-the-go snack-size pouches. ESD is supporting the company’s growth with up to $315,000 through the performance-based Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit program in exchange for promised job commitments.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Ten years of hard work at 43North has helped turn Buffalo into a well-recognized epicenter of entrepreneurial ventures. The competition’s success can be measured by new cutting-edge businesses; the draw of diverse, top talent to Western New York; and the creation of more than 1,000 jobs. We look forward to supporting this year's applicants and thank 43North for helping to fuel an economic resurgence in the region.”

NYPA President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “Last year, the New York Power Authority awarded Top Seedz funding to support the firm's demand-driven growth. Today, I am pleased to celebrate Top Seedz’s success as it cuts a ribbon on its expansion project and fulfills its commitment to creating jobs and investing in downtown Buffalo.”

The selection process culminates with finals on Thursday, Oct. 10, where 43North will host a live pitch event at Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. In addition to the $1 million investment, the five startups selected to join the 2024 cohort will each receive office space in Buffalo’s historic Seneca One Tower, where founders will receive support and access to 43North’s network of more than 1,000 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 and workshops;

√ Access to recruitment support services to help them grow their teams in Buffalo;

√ Local and national connections for business development;

√ Marketing and media relations support; and

√ Investor introductions.

Selected companies agree to provide 5% equity to 43North and 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.

President of 43North Colleen E. Heidinger said, “This model is working and changing lives. Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a significant evolution in our program, from an ideas competition to welcoming well-established startups. The program's growth is directly tied to the development we’ve seen in Buffalo, by bringing new companies and talent to our vibrant community. In our 10th year, we bring a decades-worth of knowledge, data insight and economic impact worth touting.”

Hochul’s team added, “Since 2014, 43North has been a signature initiative demonstrating New York state’s commitment to an investment strategy for growing Buffalo’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Over the past decade, 43North has invested in a diverse portfolio of 69 companies, 46% of which have founders of color and 26% have female founders. Those startups have gone on to raise over $1 billion in capital. Nearly 60% 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 the program to new heights as its first publicly traded portfolio company after an IPO on March 24, 2021.”

On Wednesday, May 8, 43North is teaming up with program alumni and founders to host the “43North Why to Apply” webinar, where entrepreneurs can learn more about the competition and accelerator program. Interested founders can find more details on the webinar, program and application for 43North’s 2024 startup competition here.

Startups interested in joining the program must submit their applications via 43North.org by Friday, June 7, at 11:59 p.m. EST.

About 43North

43North is an accelerator program that invests $5 million annually to attract and retain high-growth companies in Buffalo, NY. 43North portfolio companies also receive free incubator space in Buffalo for one year, guidance from mentors in related fields, and access to other business incentive programs such as START-UP NY. 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.

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