Governor Cuomo Announces $1 Million Grand Prize Winner of 43North

On October 31, 2019, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the winners of the sixth annual $5 million 43North startup competition, including the grand prize winner of a $1 million investment and the seven companies that each won investments of $500,000. An additional $500,000 was awarded as follow-on funding from last year. In addition to the cash investments, the winners will receive one year of free space in 43North’s new headquarters in the Seneca One building, guidance from mentors, connections to potential customers, access to 43North’s network of more than 500 investors and marketing and hiring support. The winners were announced during an awards ceremony at Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo.

“Our comprehensive, regionally focused approach to economic development has fundamentally changed the trajectory of Western New York and the 43North competition has played an integral part in its resurgence,” Governor Cuomo said. “I want to congratulate the winners of the 43North competition who will contribute to the unprecedented economic growth experienced in Western New York and look forward to working with them to build a more prosperous Empire State for all.”

“With hundreds of new jobs and tens of millions in venture capital raised, the 43North Competition has proven to be a major success and a key part of our overall economic development strategy,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “With today’s winners, there are now over 50 companies in the 43North portfolio – creating good paying jobs and fostering innovation in Buffalo. 43North is the centerpiece of our mission to cultivate startup talent and make real progress toward a brighter future for our regional and statewide economies.”

The winners of the 2019 43North Competition are:

Strayos – St. Louis, MO – $1,000,000 Winner
Strayos is a visual AI platform to reduce cost and improve efficiency in mining operations for optimized drill/blast and pre-excavation sub-surface object detection for infrastructure projects.

Circuit Clinical (TrialScout) – Buffalo, NY – $500,000 Winner
Circuit Clinical is one of the largest integrated research organizations in the U.S., and through its Clinical Services Team and patient platform TrialScout, empowers patients to choose clinical research as a care option.

GroupRaise – Houston, TX – $500,000 Winner
GroupRaise is a marketplace that helps groups of 20-200 people make reservations at restaurants willing to donate a percentage of the sales back to a charitable cause.

Peanut Butter – Chicago, IL – $500,000 Winner
Peanut Butter helps companies offer student loan assistance as a benefit. Employers offering student loan assistance are able to hire faster, retain talent longer, and improve diversity, while making a positive impact on their employees’ financial future and contributing to the solution for America’s $1.5T student debt crisis.

PocketSuite – San Francisco, CA – $500,000 Winner
PocketSuite helps any solopreneur make a living by making it easy for clients to regularly book and pay them. You can access all of your client information and schedule, book appointments, get paid, and manage your business all from a smartphone.

Rally – New York, NY – $500,000 Winner
Rally is a technology platform that has moved hundreds of thousands of riders by enabling individuals to self-aggregate and create bus trips on-demand. Rally creates pop-up mass transit solutions, creating new demand for the private bus industry. In Rally’s multi-faceted marketplace, the primary beneficiaries are riders, bus operators, and events.

Robodub – Seattle, WA – $500,000 Winner
Robodub is solving the last mile logistics problem with a new patent pending drone technology. Our drones can carry multiple payloads, dynamic/shifting payloads, and can fly in harsher weather conditions. The U.S. Navy, Army, Special Ops Forces, and Air Force are among our customers.

WhoseYourLandlord – New York, NY – $500,000 Winner
WhoseYourLandlord is a SaaS platform empowering and informing the rental community through landlord reviews and housing literacy content. Our goal is to increase transparency in the residential market, and to bridge the communication gap between renters and home providers through verified reviews and through online sentiment analysis software.

43North’s winners were selected by the following finals judges:

David Brown, co-founder & co-CEO of Techstars
Marissa Campise, founder of Rucker Park 
Heidi Diamond, content, distribution, syndication, partnerships, and licensing for HealthiNation
Oren Frank, co-Founder & CEO of TalkSpace
Denmark West, founding partner & chief investment officer of Connectivity Ventures

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and CEO & Commissioner-designate Eric Gertler said, “Round 6 of the 43North competition has brought another exciting group of innovators to help cultivate Buffalo’s growing startup ecosystem—continuing to build the strong tech talent that’s attracting outside investment and fueling the Western New York economy.

43North Board Chair Eric Reich said, “Tonight’s 43North winners are a group of innovative companies with strong teams, evidence of traction, and compelling fits for growth in Buffalo. Congratulations to all eight of tonight’s winners, especially our million-dollar winner, Strayos.”

43North President Alex Gress said, “The Western New York community came out in force tonight to pack Shea’s Performing Arts Center for 43North Finals. What better way to demonstrate the type of support that our newest 43North winners will receive in Buffalo? I look forward to seeing how these companies attract talent and capital to our region and add to the momentum of our community’s emerging startup ecosystem.”

About 43North
43North is the startup competition that invests $5 million annually to attract and cultivate high-growth startups in Buffalo. 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 Andrew Cuomo, Empire State Development and several other sponsors.

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