During serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Paul Singh’s visit to Syracuse last year, he highlighted impressive statistics from both the SBA and NACIS. For every new job in high-tech startups, which are typically high-paying, 2.6 other jobs are created in local economies.
“This is why the entire business ecosystem needs to embrace and support tech startups,” Singh said during his presentation to local investors.
The same was echoed by AOL founder Steve Case when he visited Buffalo in 2015 as part of his Rise of The Rest tour.
Startups typically have a limited number of people and often have gaps in business experience, so it’s vital that local professionals, entrepreneurs, and companies donate their expertise to these entrepreneurs to fuel their growth. We’re beginning to see some of this vital support here in Buffalo. For example, Crowley Webb gave a commitment of time and energy that went beyond simply sponsoring events when it devoted a significant amount of agency resources to assist Bright Buffalo Niagara finalists with their pitches, messaging, and creative materials.
We have a good start, but we need more organizations to help.
With that in mind, here’s a rundown, in no particular order, of some of the Buffalo startups we should all be watching and asking, “How can we help?”
Asarasi is legitimately able to say it's bottling the only “organic water.” Their process harvests pure water from living trees for the world's only sustainable and renewable sparkling water. While not a tech startup in the pure sense, its business model has a high potential for job growth in bottling and distribution.
One of my favorites from last year’s 43North finalists, Bounce Imaging creates a camera-in-a-ball that can be thrown into high-risk situations by first responders. This gives law enforcement and fire fighters a 360-degree view and potentially life-saving situational awareness.
One of this year’s 43North semi-finalists, Burner Fitness can be considered an app store for personal trainers and fitness experts. The technology connects trainers, athletes, nutritionists, coaches, and fitness personalities with a community of people subscribing to their training programs.
Another Buffalo-based 43North semifinalist, Peeva has created the technology to read any type of implantable microchip used in pets and a secure master database in the cloud that can store your pet’s medical history.
Yet another Buffalo-based 43North semifinalist, Thimble is also Buffalo’s most successful crowd-funding effort, shattering its goal with nearly $300,000 pledged. Thimble produces monthly electronics project kits for hobbyists, students, makers, and anyone else who likes to tinker. Thimble recently won the prestigious “Innovative World” award at this year's SXSW show, placing Buffalo among an impressive international list.
Field Nimble provides field service management software for small contractors in heating, plumbing, carpentry, and electrical. The software helps these small businesses become better organized, and appear to be on parity with, or better than, the customer service automation of their larger competitors. Field Nimble is a great example of a tech startup that helps small businesses in Buffalo become more profitable and efficient.
A winner of a $250,000 prize in 43North’s 2015 competition, Coach Me Plus is attacking the big data of sports science with software that analyzes athlete performance. Used by a growing list of professional teams (including Buffalo's Bills and Sabres), the software is used by both of the 2017 Stanley Cup finalists, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators.
In a crowded market of social media automation tools, Clear View Social has carved out a unique niche, getting a company’s roster of professionals involved in social media sharing and marketing. While it's experienced great traction with law offices, the company recently landed a major client in Munro Muffler Brake.
Born out of the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Buffalo Automation Group is looking to bring the phrase, “self driving” to cargo ships. Autonomous navigation is the future of cargo shipping, and we have a stake in that future right here in Buffalo.
As more and more companies embrace remote working, some even eschewing the office altogether, Walkabout Workplace provides a unique virtual office environment. Designed to inspire better collaboration and spontaneity among remote teams, its software mimics an actual office environment and provides video, chat, and screen sharing.
POP Biotechnologies is a life sciences company that uses light-activated nanoparticles to starve cancer tumors of blood flow, a precision-target solution that is necessary for hard-to-treat cancers.
3AM Innovations was founded by a Buffalo-area volunteer firefighter who “was tired of waiting for the tech scene to develop the necessary tools for first responders to ensure everyone comes home safely.” The technology is a wearable device that creates a real-time mesh network that allows first responders to track and locate their members inside of buildings.
Using professionally piloted drones, EagleHawk One provides aerial data acquisition, geospatial analysis, infrastructure inspections, thermography, and other aerial media and analysis.
Last, but not least, in my experience, is aireXpert from Engio. When I say, “my experience,” it’s because I experienced the actual problem solved by aireXpert … flight delays caused by mechanical problems. In reality, anyone who flies has likely experienced the problem; I happened to see it play out firsthand. Engio’s product streamlines the process of aircraft repair when performed by the technical teams at airports, which still generally rely on a more than 50-year-old time-consuming process.
There are certainly many more worthy startups to discuss. Look for follow-up lists in the future.