Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the names of the 15 semi-finalists who are one step closer to securing millions of dollars in investments at the ninth annual 43North competition. The semi-finalists will meet in Buffalo the second week of October to pitch their ideas in the hopes of securing $1 million and an opportunity to grow their business in Buffalo – one of the nation’s fastest-growing hubs for entrepreneurs. There are competitors coming from the U.K., Canada, California, and many other locations in the United States. The companies are focused on innovative solutions in a wide array of industries including, but not limited to, logistics, food service, manufacturing, health tech, financial services, and clean tech.
“43North’s startup competition attracts the best and brightest entrepreneurs, and has positioned Buffalo and Western New York as a prime location where innovative and creative startups can thrive,” Governor Hochul said. “With the continued support of New York State, this year’s competition has once again attracted highly innovative entrepreneurs from around the world – Congratulations to all semi-finalists and I wish them luck as they compete in Buffalo next month to take their businesses to new heights.”
It is a challenging task to narrow down the hundreds of applications to the top 15 companies. A group of more than 30judges carefully reviewed and compared the applications, met with founders, and made recommendations for the final selection. The winning five companies will join the ranks of some previous 43North businesses, such as ACV, an online car auction company that is now worth more than $2 billion and employs more than 2,000 people.
The 43North business accelerator is funded by New York State and will be receiving support from Empire State Development to continue operating competitions for at least three more years. This year, in addition to the five top $1 million awards, there will be a $25,000 People’s Choice award, funded by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and voted on by the live audience the night of the competition.
Buffalo has been recognized as one of the fastest growing startup cities, with experts often citing the success of 43North as an important attraction. It is more than a competition; it includes mentorship, access to expertise, office space, and interaction with a robust network of investors. Over the past eight years, 43North has invested in a diverse, industry portfolio of 64 companies, nearly 60% of which have a continued presence in Buffalo, 46% of which have founders of color and 26% having female founders. Earlier this year, 43North reported that its portfolio companies had collectively created more than 1,100 jobs in Western New York.
43North President Colleen E. Heidinger said, “43North is pleased to showcase our 2023 semi-finalists – the 15 companies that made it through a highly competitive set of applicants. We look forward to welcoming these founders to our city, and ultimately, selecting the top five startups who will make up our year 9 cohort, and seize the opportunity to build in Buffalo.”
The 2023 43North Finalists are:
4T2 Sensors – Birmingham, United Kingdom
4T2 Sensors specializes in advanced sensor technology for industrial applications. By utilizing next generation sensing technology, 4T2 Sensors enable precise monitoring, control, and optimization of CIP processes, leading to improved efficiency, cost savings, and resource conservation in various industries, including food and beverage.
Blip Energy – Chicago, Illinois
Blip is making energy equity accessible to accelerate the clean energy transition by building a new category of smart, affordable energy storage to add millions of homes to the smart grid network. A hybrid hardware/software solution for energy management that works in any home without barriers around permitting and installation.
EarlyBird – New York, NY
EarlyBird empowers parents, family, and friends to collectively invest in a child you love starting from the earliest age possible.
Encounter AI – Menlo Park, California
Encounter AI is a voice AI system that handles orders at drive-thrus, kiosks, and over the phone.
Guidesly – Topsfield, Massachusetts
Guidesly is a vertical SaaS platform serving the $40b outdoor recreational guide marketplace with a consumer marketplace.
KAV – Redwood City, California
KAV are award winning custom helmets designed to save lives and reduce brain injuries.
Kredit Academy – Miami, Florida
Kredit Academy is a comprehensive financial literacy platform offering white-label, credit-based solutions, aimed at empowering consumers, particularly teens and young adults, with knowledge and tools to build sound credit, while also providing financial institutions an effective means of engagement and growth.
Moxie Scrubs – Somerville, Massachusetts
Moxie Scrubs is disrupting the $35 billion U.S. medical apparel market as the first lifestyle brand for nurses.
Peat – Brooklyn, New York
Peat is building the world’s largest network of circular mushroom farms that decarbonize the planet by growing fungi to decompose food waste and converting the by-products into value-added products.
Preemadonna – Carlsbad, California
Preemadonna offers affordable, instant and personalized nail and body art via at home connected devices.
REES – Winnipeg, Canada
REES (Respect, Educate, Empower Survivors) is an online platform for reporting harassment and discrimination that can be adapted for any sector or industry.
Stepwise – Cambridge, Massachusetts
Stepwise makes home electrification, specifically for EV charger and heat pump installations, cost effective for homeowners while futureproofing the electric grid.
StoreCash – San Jose, California
StoreCash is a mobile payment solution for users to pay cheaply and easily via QR codes at now over 200,000 locations, earning maximum cash back at their favorite stores.
Transship – Chicago, IL
Transship is an automated freight forwarding platform for international shipments of full container loads of perishable and non-perishable goods.
Zette – San Francisco, California
Zette is a software that unlocks paywalled articles across the internet, bringing access to the world’s top journalism with one account.
43North Finals is free to attend, but registration is required. Seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Free tickets for 43North Finals – taking place on October 12 at 6 p.m. ET at Shea’s Performing Arts Center – can be reserved at 43North.org.
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 Governor Kathy Hochul, Empire State Development, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and several other sponsors. For more information about 43North, visit www.43north.org.