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43North Announces $1 Million in Follow-on Funding for HiOperator and Kickfurther

Media Release

Female founded HiOperator becomes startup program’s largest investment in one company

BUFFALO, NY – Today, startup accelerator 43North announced follow-on investment for two of their year five portfolio companies, HiOperator and Kickfurther. HiOperator received $750,000, which when combined with their initial $500,000 award, makes the customer service software startup the recipient of 43North’s largest investment to date at $1.25 million. Kickfurther received $250,000.

The two companies, winners of 43North’s 2018 competition, received the funding as part of an investment offering made available to their cohort. The follow-on funding was created to reinvest in startups considered poised for growth and committed to Buffalo. Companies that applied were judged on growth potential, disruption impact and continued strategic fit to scale in Buffalo.

“By creating jobs, scaling quickly and committing to Buffalo for the long-term, HiOperator and Kickfurther are examples of companies that are living out the commitment they made to the community at 43North Finals,” said Colleen Heidinger, president of 43North. “We look for startups that will benefit from all that Buffalo has to offer and we’re excited to reinvest in two businesses that truly embody that.”

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “43North is making strategic investments in companies that are creating hundreds of startup jobs, fostering innovation and building a brighter economic future for Buffalo and Western New York.”

At a time when most companies were scaling back, HiOperator was actively recruiting more local talent. The fast-growing startup has hired 100 employees in 2020 alone. “These funds will be instrumental in further cementing HiOperator’s presence in Buffalo,” said founder Liz Tsai. “The resources will enable us to make key hires at the executive level and allow us to move into a larger space – both of which are critical to continued accelerated growth.”

Fintech startup and alternative lending platform Kickfurther has doubled their headcount and reaped similar benefits as a 43North portfolio company. “Receiving another investment from 43North is a second vote of confidence and only one example of their continued support of our business,” said founder Sean De Clercq. “Whether it’s an investment, introduction to an investor or mentor, or guidance on talent recruitment, we continue to benefit from being connected to 43North and calling Buffalo home.”

43North will launch the 2020 startup competition at the end of the month.

About 43North
43North is an accelerator program that hosts an annual startup competition, investing $5 million per year to attract and cultivate 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. For more information about 43North, visit

Tags: 43North Winners, HiOperator, kickfurther, Press Release

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