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Media Release

43North companies secured record-breaking private investment and hired more employees than ever in 2018

All eight of 43North’s Year 4 companies will continue to grow in Buffalo

Incoming Year 5 cohort is moving more than 40 employees to Buffalo,  making it 43North’s largest class ever

BUFFALO, NY – January 7, 2019 – 43North, the startup competition that invests $5 million per year, announced that its Year 5 winning companies and their more than 40 employees from across North America have moved to Buffalo. Only a few days into 2019, these seven startups have already hit the ground running, hiring new employees, securing local customers, raising funds and joining a startup ecosystem that is bustling with activity.

The arrival of 43North’s Year 5 winners comes on the heels of a remarkably successful year, in which 43North’s portfolio companies hired more local employees than ever and secured record-breaking investment. Select highlights from 2018 included the following:

  • ACV Auctions, an online platform for wholesale auto auctions, announced that it raised a $93 million Series D round of funding, which represented the largest single raise made by a tech startup in Buffalo. In 2018, ACV more than doubled the number of markets it operates in, and its newest funding will fuel continued growth.
  • CleanFiber (formerly UltraCell Insulation) completed an additional $9.2 million in investment to launch its state-of-the-art cellulose insulation production facility in Buffalo.
  • 43North’s Year 4 winning companies created more than 45 new jobs in Buffalo and all eight companies will continue to grow their businesses in Buffalo beyond their one-year requirement.

43North’s 44 portfolio companies have now raised more than $190 million in venture capital and $14 million in grants, while employing more than 350 people in the Western New York region.

“43North and Buffalo’s burgeoning startup ecosystem had a record-breaking year in 2018, and now 43North’s Year 5 companies have arrived, ready to build Buffalo’s next great success stories,” said Eric Reich, 43North Chair. “I’m certain that our community will, once again, welcome these promising startups with open arms and I encourage each Buffalonian to consider how they can contribute to the growth of a 43North company – as an employee, customer, supplier, service provider, mentor or investor.”

“We are tremendously excited to have 43North’s Year 5 companies in Buffalo,” said 43North President Alex Gress. “With the strength and size of these teams, the money they’ve raised, and their traction in the marketplace, combined with the network, investment, mentorship, office space, and other benefits 43North will provide, these companies are well-positioned to have an excellent 2019.”

The following are 43North’s Year 5 companies:

  • Forsake – Boston, MA – Forsake designs all-weather footwear for travel and adventure with a goal to bring a higher level of versatility to your feet. Their products blend outdoor technology, rugged construction, and versatile styling. They’re inspired by the mountains, and fit for every journey.
  • HiOperator – San Francisco, CA – 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.
  • Immersed Games – Gainesville, FL – 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.
  • Kickfurther – Boulder, CO – Kickfurther is the world’s first inventory crowdfunding platform where anyone can support the growth of brands they love.
  • Legworks – Buffalo, NY – LegWorks is a social enterprise revolutionizing access to high-quality prosthetics for amputees. They design, manufacture, and distribute innovative and patented prosthetic technologies, and use a tiered pricing model to serve diverse patients globally.
  • Magnusmode – Waterloo, ON –  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 partnerships with content producing customers including Colgate, CIBC, A&W, and Toronto Pearson Airport.
  • SparkCharge – Syracuse, NY – SparkCharge offers a portable charging unit that is small, ultra fast, and modular. Since the chargers are compact, they can be delivered to an electric vehicle (EV) owner on demand via Uber, Lyft, or AAA. This creates a mobile, on-demand charging infrastructure, allowing EV owners to have their cars charged ultra fast anywhere.

For a list of jobs that 43North’s portfolio companies are hiring for, visit

In addition, 43North will be adding $500,000 to its follow-on funding pool available to the Year 5 companies, bringing the total to $1 million. This is the result of NaturAll Club no longer participating in the Year 5 43North program.

About 43North 43North is the startup competition that invests $5 million annually to attract and cultivate high-growth startups in Buffalo. 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 Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, Empire State Development and several other sponsors. For more information about 43North, visit

Tags: 43North Winners, Press Release

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