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Buffalo Business First: Sixteen finalists for this year's 43North competition are revealed

Media Coverage

Re-post from Buffalo Business First

They’ve been through months of due diligence, analysis and interviews. Now they just have one more hurdle to jump.

43North revealed today the 16 finalists for its annual competition, funded by New York state. The nonprofit will ultimately invest $5 million into the eight companies, which will give up a 5 percent ownership stake and pledge to operate from Buffalo for a year.

Winners from last year’s cohort of companies will be eligible for $500,000 in follow-on funding.

In its past three years, 43North has changed the way it recruits and vets applicants, looking specifically for maturing startups that have a Buffalo-specific plan for growth. Before making them a finalist, 43North does a one-hour interview with founders about their commitment to Buffalo, sets up calls with customers and advisors, has an attorney review their intellectual property and an accountant comb through their finances.

“We’re looking for companies that are either changing the way something is happening or finding a new way to do something,” 43North president Alex Gress said. “This is about returning Buffalo to its roots of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The finalists will be in Buffalo for the finale event in late October, including an Oct. 29 program at Seneca One Tower where they will make pitches to a collection of early-stage investors. Three companies will be eliminated through that process, and the remaining ten will pitch to a live audience at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on Oct. 30. The collection of events will also include an Upstate Startup Summit on Oct. 30, in which startups from Buffalo to Syracuse will meet with investors who are in town for the show.

This year’s finalists have generally raised at least $1 million of private capital already and have revenue-generating products, said Lauren Baynes, vice president of portfolio management and selection.

They include:

Circuit Clinical: The lone local company on the list is Circuit Clinical, founded by local cardiologist Dr. Irfan Khan. The company’s business model revolves around connecting patients to cutting-edge clinical trials.

BridgeCare: The Seattle-based company founded by Jamee Herbert is a business-to-business company. It offers a workplace benefit that supports the financial challenge of caregiving.

Capti: Also a finalist last year, the startup moved recently from Stony Brook to Buffalo. Its Capti Voice literacy support tool seeks to enable teachers to personalize learning for students of all abilities. The company was founded by Yevgen Borodin.

Curiato: A Kitchener-based company co-founded by Moazam Khan and Zied Etleb, Curiato has developed a bed sheet that helps prevent bed sores and other hospital-related ailments.

Exit7C: A logistics management company that helps provide fuel, maintenance and compliance services to transportation fleets. The Milwaukee-based company was founded by Blessing Egbon.

Glaze Prosthetics: Hailing from Poland and founded by Piotr Sajdak, Glaze builds prosthetics customized by the user, rather than having them choose from a product line.

GroupRaise: A Houston-based marketplace startup founded by Devin Baptiste that helps groups of people make reservations at restaurants willing to donate a percentage of the sales back to a charitable cause.

HotelsByDay: Another market-place startup, HotelsByDay works to provide hotel time reservations, with the goal of benefitting both guests and hotel companies.

Peanut Butter: A Chicago-based startup that helps other companies offer student loan assistance as a benefit. Peanut Butter was founded by David Aronson.

PocketSuite: A solution for “solopreneurs” that makes it easy for clients to book and pay them, PocketSuite is from San Francisco and led by founder Chinwe Onyeagoro.

Public Goods: A curated marketplace that offers a single version of every essential item. Founded by Morgan Hirsh, Public Goods is based in Manhattan.

Rally: A technology platfrom that allows groups of riders to create bus trips on demand, Rally is from New York City and is led by founder Numaan Akram.

RankScience: A San Francisco-based company that offers automated search engine optimization, helping large websites increase search traffic through Google. The company was founded by Ryan Bednar.

Rododub: A last-mile logistics solution with patent pending drone technology, the Seattle-based company was started by Parminder Devsi.

Strayos: A visual AI platform that seeks to reduce cost and improve efficiency in operations such as mining, based in St. Louis and led by founder Ravi Sahu.

Whose Your Landlord: A software-as-a-service startup that offers landlord reviews and housing literacy content. The New York City-based company was founded by Ofo Ezeugwu.

Tags: Business First, News

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