43North’s 18 Finalists Vie For Millions In Annual Competition

By Matt Glynn
The Buffalo News, N.Y.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) From “Charmtech Labs” which makes “Capti Voice”, a reading assistant that personalizes learning for students of all abilities to “NaturAll Club” which uses food technology to offer hair products; the race is on to see which startup will come out victorious at this year’s 43North competition.

The Buffalo News, N.Y.

43North has named the 18 finalists who will contend for millions of dollars in prize money next month.

The companies come from eight states and Canada. Ten of them will advance to make pitches to seven judges the night of Oct. 3 at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, in a “Shark Tank”-like format.

“We’ve got a very passionate and world-class group of entrepreneurs,” said Alexander Gress, 43North’s president.

One company will walk away with the $1 million grand prize, and seven others will win $500,000 each. Another $500,000 in follow-on funding will be available at the end of next year.

43North hopes the winners will stay beyond their one-year obligation and hire more people as they grow. The competition, in its fifth year, is a program of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative.

This year’s finalists emerged from a pool of 485 applicants. “To get just to here, there’s multiple layers in that judging process,” Gress said. Two of the 18 finalists are based in the Buffalo area. Seven of the companies have female CEOs.

The companies that reached the finals have high-growth potential, but they also see value in operating in Buffalo and taking advantage of resources to support them here, Gress said.

LegWorks, a Buffalo-based prosthetics company, is one of the 18 finalists. The business has found the local environment supportive for entrepreneurs since moving its base of operations here from San Francisco, said Brandon Burke, director of partnership development. The company recently won $10,000 in a pitch competition presented by Bright Buffalo Niagara.

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