ESD Announces Finalists for 5th Annual 43North Competition

18 Startups to Pitch for Cut of $5 Million Prize, Including $1 Million Grand Prize; Diverse Group of Founders from 8 US States and Canada Excited to Move their Companies to WNY

September 11, 2018

Empire State Development (ESD) today 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 October 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.

Empire State Development President, CEO & 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 incubator 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.

10 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 43North.org, the Shea’s Performing Arts Center box office, and Ticketmaster.

43North Finals
Wednesday, October 3
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (Doors open at 5 p.m.)
Shea’s Performing Arts Center
646 Main Street, Buffalo, NY

As of September 2018, 43North's portfolio of 37 companies has achieved a combined $108M in outside investment, and conservative estimates place the portfolio's total valuation at $332M, an increase of over $300M since 43North's inception in 2014. These start-ups are collectively responsible for over 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 October 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.”

New York Power Authority Chairman John R. Koelmel said, “This competition has helped to reinvigorate the business community in the Buffalo-Niagara region. The innovation and creativity that is at the heart of 43North is truly inspiring.”

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, Ontario

Charmtech Labs is reinventing reading to enable authentically inclusive education. Their mission is to empower people to process information more effectively. Their product is Capti Voice - a reading assistant their personales learning for students of all abilities and helps students keep up with their reading.
Hometown: Stony Brook, New York

Dimien is a growing business dedicated to solving clear, defined market challenges in cleantech by leveraging chemical manufacturing routes to unique compounds that provide their strategic partners with a competitive advantage in the market. At their core, they are chemical manufacturers.
Hometown: Amherst, New York

Forsake designs all-weather boots and sneakers for travel and adventure.
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts

HiOperator provides customer service-as-a-service. They help companies overcome the classic challenges of customer service through a combination of automation, technology and amazing people.
Hometown: San Francisco, California

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 their 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. They believe every amputee, no matter where they live, has the right to walk with confidence. They design, manufacture and distribute innovative and patented prosthetic technologies, and use a tiered pricing model to serve diverse patients globally.
Hometown: Buffalo, New York

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. Their MIT-award winning app-driven smart wood stove is and delivered the cleanest burn ever achieved. We re-imagined wood stoves as clean energy sources and created smart technology that’s up to 60x cleaner, releases 30% less CO2 and achieves 90% real-world efficiency.
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

NaturAll Club uses food technology to offer the first hair products on the market made from fresh ingredients like 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, Pennsylvania

Routeique synchronizes supply chains. They align partners, large and small, to enable data and product to flow seamlessly from partner to partner. From the largest manufacturers to their 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 Company 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, they have signed on over 400 schools, generated over $300,000 in revenue and have retained 98% of their clients.
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

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. They help 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, New York

Touchjet is a unified collaboration platform with hardware, software and a SaaS business model transforming how people collaborate digitally in meeting rooms and classrooms. Their 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 you to control your water with your smartphone. You get real time water usage information. You can turn your water on/off remotely, and if a pipe breaks in your house, it automatically shuts your water off and sends you a text.
Hometown: Beverly, Massachusetts

About 43North
With $5 million in prizes, 43North is a startup competition that’s in a league of its own. But for our winners, it’s more than the cash. It’s our dedicated mentors. And free incubator space. And freedom from state taxes for 10 years. And our network. Click here for all the details on our 2018 competition.

Founded in 2014, 43North is made possible by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s historic Buffalo Billion initiative, with support from the New York Power Authority and corporate sponsors.

 

Contact:
Pamm Lent (ESD) |pamm.lent@esd.ny.gov | (716) 846-8309 | (800) 260-7313
ESD Press Office | pressoffice@esd.ny.gov | (800) 260-7313