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Introducing Our Year Nine Cohort

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Five Exceptional Startups Joining Buffalo’s Thriving Startup Ecosystem

On October 12th, we had the incredible privilege of standing on the stage at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, surrounded by 3,000 people from the Buffalo community as we kicked off our ninth edition of 43North Finals.

Our team works tirelessly, starting at the beginning of the year, to recruit applicants and craft the perfect event. Want to know what goes into the show? Check out our behind-the-scenes episode of Latitude. It’s not an easy task, as the competition is always fierce. This year, we received a staggering 951 submissions, each with its unique promise and potential. From these, we selected 15 semifinalists and then further narrowed it down to eight finalists who took the stage that night.

While all eight companies were exceptional, unfortunately, only five could be chosen. This yes, our five $1 million winners are: Guidesly, KAV, Kredit Academy, StepWise, and StoreCash! These five startups, originally hailing from locations from Massachusetts to California, have each secured a $1 million investment each and a spot in our Y9 cohort here in Buffalo, NY.

Additionally, Kredit Academy received the $25,000 People’s Choice Award, generously sponsored by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield!

Guidesly has set out to transform the outdoor recreational guide marketplace by creating a consumer marketplace through its vertical software-as-a-service platform. The challenge they’re addressing is that the majority of guides still operate offline, with approximately 80% lacking online booking capabilities, and shockingly, 30% don’t even have a website. Looking to book your next fly fishing trip in WNY? That’s where Guidesly comes in.

KAV is dedicated to reducing brain injuries and saving lives through its custom helmets. What makes them unique is that the helmets are form-fitting and come in an impressive 8 billion sizes to cater to every individual’s needs.

Kredit Academy offers a comprehensive financial literacy platform targeting young adults and teens. They provide white-label, credit-based solutions, equipping users with the knowledge and tools to build strong credit while offering financial institutions an avenue to expand and engage their audience. The crucial problem they’re addressing is that credit discussions often come too late.

Stepwise is on a mission to make home electrification, especially for EV charger and heat pump installations, cost-effective while future-proofing the electric grid. They believe the key challenge is the overspending and overbuilding in this area, where optimization is key.

StoreCash introduces a mobile payment solution that allows users to pay conveniently and affordably through QR codes while also earning substantial cashback at various stores. By using QR codes and barcodes, users can save about $900 annually on their preferred purchases.

Each of these companies brings a unique set of innovations and solutions to the table, and together, they are strengthening Buffalo’s position as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. We look forward to welcome them all to Buffalo in January, 2024!

Did you miss 43North Finals? Click here to watch the replay!


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