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Got Questions? We Have Answers.

Explore our comprehensive FAQ section to find answers to commonly asked questions about 43North, our startup competition, resources, and more. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact our team for assistance.

Application

43North typically invests in companies that have founders with domain expertise, a strong team, and traction with customers (what some may classify as pre-seed and seed stage startups). We’ve invested earlier and later, so we encourage you to apply if this sounds like you.

Applications open once a year in late spring and close approximately six weeks later. Once the application closes, it will not open again until the following year. We recommend subscribing to our newsletter to be kept informed on when the application opens.

Apply online here!

Each year, we select just five companies to receive a $1 million investment each and a spot in our following year’s cohort.

Yes. 43North takes a 5% equity stake in each winning company. You can read up on the Award Agreement here.

No. The 5% equity is non-negotiable in the form of a warrant.

Companies selected to join our program are asked to relocate 50% of their staff and their CEO to Buffalo for a minimum of 12 months. Please note that commuting does not count as relocation – you are required to have a residence within a 30-mile radius of the Niagara Power Project.

In addition to the investment, 43North winners receive free incubator space in Buffalo for the duration of the program, mentorship from experts related to their fields, and access to other exciting incentive programs. Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information.

Yes! 43North is open to applicants from anywhere in the world, and we’ve had companies from as far away as Nigeria, Israel, and Taiwan receive investment.

We do accept solo founders, but please understand that our expectations will be as high (if not higher) than that of companies with multiple founders. You will need to prove that you have a diverse skill set to handle all facets of a business, that you are resilient during the toughest challenges, and that you are committed to building a strong team around you in Buffalo. We’ve had teams with one founder succeed tremendously in our program, so it definitely can be done! Just know that we will set the bar higher for you, as we understand the ups and downs of growing a startup – especially when you have a small team.

There is no cost to apply to 43North.

Our apologies for any inconvenience, but we’re here to help! Please send an email describing your issue to applications@43north.org.

Yes! The application is open to applicants from previous years, and a few of our portfolio companies applied a couple of times before being chosen for investment.

The following businesses are not eligible for the Competition:

  1. Retail businesses with brick-and-mortar storefronts
  2. Residential real property businesses
  3. Investment vehicles that invest in the securities of other entities
  4. Sports venues
  5. Gaming and gambling businesses
  6. Places of overnight accommodation
  7. Past 43North cash-prize winners
  8. Entertainment-related establishments
  9. Single-purpose entertainment or event productions (e.g., movies, albums, concerts)

For this purpose, “retail business” means a business that is primarily engaged in making retail sales of goods or services to customers who personally visit such facilities to obtain goods or services. In addition, generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, roll-ups, real estate syndications, tax shelters and franchise-based outlets.

43North will cover hotel rooms and flights for all the finalists.

43North Finals week typically occurs in mid-October. It is required that finalists participate for the full week Monday-Friday (often this includes traveling to Buffalo on Sunday). Click here to learn more.

Judging

Judges will score each application based on the following criteria:

  • Overall strength of the team – We look for founder(s) and a team that are uniquely qualified to solve the problem their company is addressing.
  • Team’s knowledge of the market – We look for companies that target a large addressable market, led by founder(s) with years of industry expertise and/or personal experience.
  • Viability of the product/service/technology – We look for products/services/technologies that address a unique need in the market and are superior to their competitors.
  • Product relative to the target market – We look for companies that have strong evidence of product/market fit and address a significant need in the market.
  • Revenue and financing plans – We look for companies that have revenue or a clear path to revenue in the next 12 months, as well as investment outside of friends and family contributions.
  • Buffalo Fit – Desire and commitment to working and living in Buffalo, New York.

There are three rounds of judging: an online written application, a live video pitch, and our Finals in Buffalo.

43North has a team of judges from throughout New York State and the United States who are experts in various fields. A majority of the judges are not 43North employees and judge on a volunteer basis.

No, you may not be both an applicant and a judge in the same application year.

No. Due to the sheer number of submissions received by 43North, and the number of judges for multiple rounds, none of its staff, agents, judges, or assigns will enter into any confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement. Additionally, applicants who advance to the semi-finals round will pitch in from of a live audience, and that event is open to the public. Please thoroughly review our Terms and Conditions before entering 43North.

The 43North team comes from a wide range of industries and backgrounds, including PR, politics, HR and recruiting, multimedia, digital marketing, and national event planning. As long-time Buffalo residents, we have built up an extensive network with the area’s largest and most esteemed brands, so whether you’re looking for new customers, suppliers, partners, or vendors, we can connect you with the right people to help you scale. And if you’re looking for something to do in your free time, we have a team dedicated to events and quality of life. So, you’ll always have a new restaurant to try, a concert or sporting event to attend or outdoor activities to participate in (all year round)!

43North Finals

43North Finals week typically occurs in mid-October. It is required that finalists participate for the full week Monday-Friday (often this includes traveling to Buffalo on Sunday). Click here to learn more.

Up to 20 companies will travel to Buffalo and compete at 43North Finals semi-finals. Only eight will proceed to 43North Finals the following night.

Tickets are FREE; this event is open to the public. Once you secure tickets through Ticketmaster, you will receive them via email. We highly recommend saving your tickets to Apple Wallet or Google Pay on your phone so they’re easily accessible.

If needed, visit the Kiosk or Box Office at Shea’s for help finding your previously reserved tickets.

43North has a team of judges from throughout New York State and the United States who are experts in various fields. A majority of the judges are not 43North employees and judge on a volunteer basis.

If you have a general admission ticket, then your seat is not assigned, but seating is limited! If your ticket has a seat number, your seat is assigned.

43North Finals is not part of Shea’s season ticket package. If you’re a Shea’s season ticket holder, you must reserve tickets to 43North Finals just like the general public.

Yes. The event will be live-streamed on 43North’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

Program

May 1st – Online application will open.

June 7th – Online application will close.

July/August – Virtual Video Pitches.

September – Finalists will be announced mid-September. 

October 7-11th – 43North Finals Week. Selected applicants will be invited to Buffalo, NY, for a weeklong program of mentorship and in-person pitches, culminating in 43 North Finals. There, we select the five companies that will receive investment and join 43North’s next cohort.

January 2025 – Selected companies will join 43North’s next cohort in person at the Seneca One tower in Buffalo, NY, for a year-long program.

Over the past 9 years, our accelerator program has evolved into so much more than a check for $1M. In addition to receiving investment, winners receive:

  • Free workspace. Our new headquarters is in Seneca One Tower in downtown Buffalo. You will work alongside some of the city’s fastest-growing companies, leading researchers, esteemed business executives and brightest minds.
  • Mentorship. We pair our portfolio companies with experts and other founders specific to their industry. We have a team of mentors ready to help with any general business needs the company has, from marketing and sales to web development, recruiting and manufacturing.
  • Access to our network. The 43North team is incredibly connected in the Buffalo business community, so whether you need introductions to potential customers, manufacturing space, corporate partners, or service providers, we are here to help! We’ve also built up a network of hundreds of VCs and angels from across the country so we can introduce you to potential investors when you’re ready to raise your next round.
  • Recruiting, marketing and fundraising support. We’re here to help you scale in Buffalo, from hiring top talent to building a digital marketing strategy that supports your sales objectives. We have a full-time Director of Talent Strategy on our team, whose sole focus is helping you make great hires and a marketing team that can assist with everything from public relations to video production, graphic design, social media marketing and event planning.
  • The opportunity to operate tax-free. Through the STARTUP-NY program, you and your employees can work free of state income taxes for up to 10 years. Learn more about eligibility for this program here.

No. Founders must be in person for all program requirements, including (but not limited to) welcome week, monthly meetings, fireside chats and more.

Companies selected to join our program are asked to relocate 50% of their staff and their CEO to Buffalo for a minimum of 12 months. Please note that commuting does not count as relocation – you are required to have a residence within a 30-mile radius of the Niagara Power Project.

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information.

 

 

43North was established to help create a culture of entrepreneurship in Buffalo, NY, and grow the local business economy. Since 2014, we’ve invested in $40 million in 64 portfolio companies that have gone on to create more than 1,000 local jobs. The collective portfolio has gone on to raise over $1B in capital.

Our Y2 portfolio company and unicorn, ACV Auctions, was our first IPO in 2021. Other rising stars include companies like barbershop software platform Squire, who trippled their valuation to $750M in 2021 alone; and Circuit Clinical, a startup aimed at bringing diversity to clinical trials, who recently closed a $29M Series C – just to name a few.

There is never a shortage of things to do around Buffalo, no matter the time of year.

In the warm weather months, there are food and art festivals nearly every weekend, live music at outdoor venues, a vibrant waterfront on Lake Erie, great places to golf, fish, or kayak, and tons of parks and bike paths. And when the snow begins to fall, you’ll find us skiing and snowboarding at places like Holiday Valley, sledding at Chestnut Ridge Park, and ice skating at Canalside.

We’re also very devoted to our professional and minor league sports teams, the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bandits, and Buffalo Bisons. If the arts and architecture are more your thing, you’ve come to the right place. Frank Lloyd Wright left his mark on buildings around Buffalo, the newly renovated Buffalo AKG Art Museum is home to world-class modern and contemporary art, and Frederick Law Olmsted created the beautiful parks around the area. Add to that a diverse and delectable food scene (far beyond chicken wings) and a friendly vibe; you’re sure to fall in love with Buffalo. Check out Buffalo’s Relocation Guide here.

YES! We understand that moving here for your business might also mean moving your family, kids, and pets. We’re here to provide as much support in that area as possible, including:

  • Recommendations to schools/daycares/nannies.
  • Helping you navigate school enrollment or homeschooling in New York State.
  • Insight into neighborhoods to help meet your family’s needs (city, suburbs, villages, rural, etc).
  • Recommendations for extracurricular activities and sports, such as martial arts, gymnastics, dance, art classes, and more.
  • Recommendations for pediatricians and children’s hospitals.
  • Recommendations for specialists if your child has special needs or specific medical care.
  • Recommendations for pet sitters, kennels, groomers, vets, and doggy daycare.

Learn more about us.