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New York State Launches Year Six of 43North Startup Competition

Media Release
Competition Attracts World-Class Entrepreneurs to Grow Their Businesses in Buffalo

Winning Startups Receive a Cut of $5 Million in Cash Investments, Free Incubator Space, Mentorship and Access to 43North’s 500-Strong Investor Network

New York State today announced that applications are now being accepted for the sixth year of 43North, the $5 million startup competition that attracts world-class entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in Buffalo. Winning startups will receive a cash investment, as well as free incubator space, mentorship and support from 43North and access to 43North’s network of over 500 North American investors. Over the first five years of the competition, 43North has crowned 44 winning startups from across North America and as far away as Taiwan and Israel.

“Over the last five years, the 43North competition has successfully driven high-quality startups to Buffalo where they can grow their businesses,” a NYS represenative said. “Through this unique competition, we will continue to bring world-class talent and cutting edge businesses to this region to contribute and collaborate with the growing entrepreneurial economy.”

“The 43North business plan competition is delivering real job growth and boosting Buffalo’s reputation as a leader in the development of high-tech startup companies,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “With the sixth year of the competition, we’re committed to continuing to attract cutting-edge entrepreneurs from around the world to Western New York, advancing the tech industry and strengthening the economy of the region.”

Since winning the competition, 43North’s 44 portfolio companies have raised another $218 million in venture capital, received $16 million in grants and created more than 400 jobs in Buffalo. 43North’s portfolio also leads nationally in representation of female founders (27%) and founders of color (20%).

Many of 43North’s most recent winners are already achieving great success and growth in Buffalo. Magnusmode recently announced a partnership with Buffalo’s Oishei Children’s Hospital to help young patients with autism better navigate situations in the hospital using the Magnusmode app. HiOperator and SparkCharge have found key talent to help them grow their businesses, and Immersed Games is forging relationships with Western New York schools to test out new Tyto Online educational video game products.

Now 43North is accepting applications once again. Winners of 43North’s Year 6 competition will receive either a top investment of $1 million or one of seven $500,000 investments. They will also be eligible for a cut of $500,000 in follow-on funding at the end of 2020. Beyond the cash, they’ll receive a year of free incubator space, the opportunity to be free from New York State taxes for up to 10 years and 43North’s mentorship and support program, which includes:

  • One-to-one mentorship, workshops, and access to a bank of consultant hours;
  • Access to an on-staff talent recruiter to help them grow their teams in Buffalo;
  • Connections for business development;
  • Marketing and media relations support;
  • Investor introductions; and
  • Additional mentorship from the Techstars network, as part of a new Techstars Buffalo Startup Ecosystem Development program that 43North is partnering on.

Companies that win the competition agree to provide 5% equity to 43North and to locate their CEO and at least half of their staff to Buffalo for at least a year. See the full terms and conditions here.

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. There is a $100 application fee and startups have until July 8 to submit their applications Companies that apply by a “Preferred Deadline” of June 12 will get into early judging and pay a reduced application fee of $50.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “In its sixth year, 43North will continue to attract the highest quality startups from around the world to Western New York, where the competition has fueled innovation and entrepreneurial growth.”

43North Board Chairman Eric Reich said, “There has never been a better time to build a startup in Buffalo – period. More members of our community are engaging with startups as investors, employees, mentors, customers, suppliers and service providers than ever before. If you think that this is the right place to accelerate the growth of your startup, then we want to hear about your company – apply now to 43North!”

43North President Alex Gress said, “43North is looking for world-class startups that have incredible teams, strong traction, and great reasons why they think they can scale their companies in Buffalo. These are the types of companies where our cash investments are the cherry-on-top for applying, rather than the lure. Sound like you? Feel that your startup deserves to be onstage at 43North Finals on October 30? It’s time to prove it.”

Senator Tim Kennedy said,“The 43North Startup Competition is an opportunity of a lifetime for entrepreneurs looking to take their ideas to the next level by growing their business in a creative and innovative cityEvery year, I’m impressed by the pitches made by finalists, and their eagerness to invest in our region, just as New York State is willing to invest in them.”

Assembly Majority Leader Chrystal Peoples-Stokes said,“43North continues to be an important piece of the puzzle in attracting new businesses and talent to the region to help boost our local economy. The $5 million startup competition supported by the Governor and Empire State Development has also been key to giving minority and women entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their ideas and get the critical funding they need to get their businesses off the ground. I can’t wait to hear what new and innovative businesses and talent this latest round will bring to the region.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said,“I thank New York State for its steadfast support of this business development effort, which has introduced Buffalo to new corners of the world. Also, my sincere thanks to Alex Gress, the entire 43North team, and board, for their stewardship over this portion of the Governor’s Buffalo Billion Initiative. More than half of the 44 winners to date have stayed in Buffalo to grow their businesses after their first year of residency, a percentage that is increasing each year. And I’m very proud to say those start-ups have created more than 400 local jobs.”

Similar to past years, judging will follow this format:

  • A first round written review of the applications;
  • A semifinal round of live video pitches;
  • The competition will come to a head during an action-packed live pitch at 43North Finals on October 30 at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, a magnificent 3,000-seat theater in Buffalo.

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 New York State, Empire State Development and several other sponsors. For more information about 43North, visit

Tags: 43North Application, Press Release

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