The reduction of the 43North business plan competition to 113 semifinalists brought good news to local entrepreneurs Teo Balbach and John Batiste, who learned they had advanced to the next round.
Trimming the field down from the contest’s more than 2,600 qualified entries brought bad news to almost 2,500 others, including East Aurora inventor Robert “Bud” Duthie, who learned that his venture to make emergency water treatment systems didn’t make the cut.
For the surviving entrants, like Balbach, the chief executive of sports performance data tracker CoachMePlus, making the contest’s semifinals keeps his hopes alive that the Buffalo startup could walk away with one of 11 prizes, ranging from $250,000 to a top prize of $1 million.
“I was exceedingly happy to be chosen,” said Balbach, who would use the prize money to make a scaled-down version of his 11-employee company’s software, now used by professional sports teams and major colleges, for use by smaller colleges and schools that don’t require as much information as its pro clients. CoachMePlus, part of the Z80 Labs business incubator in Buffalo, already has raised $1 million from investors.
Batiste, a retired U.S. Army general who now is president of Buffalo Armor, an eight-employee business the makes a more advanced type of armor for military and commercial use, also was pleased, especially since more than 6,900 entrepreneurs initially entered the contest. Making it to the final 113 companies was an accomplishment in itself.
“I think we’ve got a pretty special thing going, but there was a lot of competition,” said Batiste, who would use the prize money to fund further development of his company’s armor products and expand production.
Most of the competitors didn’t make it to the semifinals. Duthie, whose water treatment system could be used to remove contaminants from water used in natural gas wells that are hydraulically fractured, said he wasn’t surprised his venture didn’t make the semifinals. He thinks the state’s moratorium on fracking may have worked against his venture.
The $5 million in prizes being dangled by the 43North competition is part of an effort to bring promising new businesses to the Buffalo Niagara region through Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative.
The contest’s goal is to bring more entrepreneurs to the region, where a lack of entrepreneurs and new business start-ups has been identified by local development officials as a major shortcoming.
The contest’s 11 prizes will go to entrepreneurs who the contest’s judges deem to have the most promising plans for a new business. Eligible are early-stage ideas and businesses just getting started. Winners are required to start and operate their businesses in the region for at least a year.
The grand prize winner will get $1 million, but six others will come away with $500,000 each, and an additional four entrepreneurs will get $250,000 apiece. At least one of the winners must be local.
In exchange for the money, the winners have to hand over a 5 percent stake in their businesses.
Winners also will receive rent-free space in an incubator site that will be part of the state’s Start-Up NY tax-free zone, meaning that those businesses won’t be subject to most state taxes and that employees won’t have to pay state income taxes for 10 years. The winning firms also will be provided access to other resources and mentoring services to help them turn their ideas into viable businesses.
Three of every 10 businesses that made it to the semifinals – 34 in all – came from Western New York, contest organizers said.
Now that the semifinalists have been named, those businesses will be required to submit more-detailed information by mid-August about their business plan and financial projections.
Once that’s done, organizers will evaluate them more intensely during 10-minute online presentations that will be held beginning in mid-August or September. Those sessions, which will not be available for viewing by the public but may be released later, also will include 10 minutes of questions by a panel of three judges selected for their expertise in the semifinalist’s field, said Peter Burakowski, 43North’s senior marketing manager.
After those presentations, the pool will be narrowed to a field of 11 finalists who will be guaranteed of receiving a prize, although the size of the award won’t be determined until the final stage of the competition, which will take place from Oct. 27 to 31.
The 113 semifinalists:
AccuTheranostics – Buffalo
Adiabatic Solutions LLC – Tonawanda
Analytical Informatics – Baltimore
Artwork Evolution – Rochester
Asana Medical – Hialeah, Fla.
Asarasi, Inc. – Woodland Hills, Calif.
Attend LLC – Cazenovia
AudioStreamTV – New York
BioBots – Miami
BioNET Sonar – Buffalo
Boss Vaccination Medicine, Ltd. – Buffalo
Braverman Consulting – Rochester
Buffalo Armory LLC – Buffalo
CHAR Technologies – Mississauga, Ont.
Clerisy Corp – Pittsford
CoachMePlus – Buffalo
Codagenix – Blauvelt
COMAND Center, LLC – Buffalo
Contap – Boston, Mass.
Continuous Technology – Havertown, Pa.
CrowdBouncer – Buffalo
Cytocybernetics – Buffalo
Dhama Innovations Private Ltd – Jubilee Hills, India
Dimien LLC – Lancaster
Docugen – Buffalo
EcoBreeze – Taiwan
Empire Genomics, LLC – Rochester
Energy Harvesters LLC – Rochester
Energy Intelligence – Boston, Mass.
Eulysis UK Limited
FlowMed – Haifa, Israel
Genetesis LLC – Mason, Ohio
GoRightIn Corp – Toronto
Graphenix Development – Buffalo
Graphmasters AG – Switzerland
Green Machine Inc. – Buffalo
HarkerBIO – Buffalo
Health Care Originals – Rochester
HemoGenyx, LLC. – New York
HEVO Power – New York
HugHeart – Haifa, Israel
Hydrobee SPC – Seattle
iClinical – India
Illuminating Diagnostics – Youngstown
InfraSonic Monitoring – Vestal
Integral Information Systems, LLC. – Buffalo
Intugine Technologies Private Limited – Bangalore, India
iRemitt – Queens
Jammster – Latham
KeepUp – New York
Laboratory Analytics, Inc. – Chicago
LifeGlo – New York
Lionano – Ithaca
MagnePath – Perth, Australia
Medical Conservation Devices, LLC – Batavia
Medical Spotlight, LLC – Bryn Mawr, Pa.
Mezmeriz – Ithaca
Mindful Scientific – Halifax, Nova Scotia
Miranor – Haifa, Israel
MOG National LLC – Grand Island
MycroNews – Los Angeles
MySky Aircraft – Port Orange, Fla.
New York Protein Biologics – New York
Niagara Nuclear Frontier – Buffalo
Niche Video Media LLC – Cumming, Ga.
Notabina – San Mateo, Calif.
Novel Material Technologies – East Amherst
Ogmenti – Israel
OnCore Golf Technology – Buffalo
Our Ability – Glenmont
Ovitz Corp. – West Henrietta
Perception Analytics & Robotics LLC (Pearl) – Ann Arbor, Mich.
Precision Scientific Instruments (PSi™) – Buffalo
Programmable Equipment Company LLC – Buffalo
Project Alberta – Hamburg
QuaDPharma, LLC – Clarence
Raland Therapeutics – Fairport
Refulgent Software LLC – Buffalo
RIDAR Technologies – Israel
Riddle Institute for Regenerative Medicine – Tomball, Texas
RMT-Epigenomex – Buffalo
SavvyDox – Ottawa
Second Look Radiology – Charlottesville, Va.
SemanticMD – Pittsburgh
Sensorcon – Buffalo
sluce.io – Mountain View, Calif.
SmartDialysis – Rochester
SmarterPills – Buffalo
Solstice Power – Manlius
SoundBetter – New York
SponsorPitch – New York
STC Architectural Products LLC – Buffalo
StealthForce – New York
StylePuzzle – Champaign, Ill.
syr.indi.care – Clarence
Talking Pictures – Stone Ridge
TeraPore Technologies, Inc. – Rochester
The Fourth Branch – Brooklyn
The Worldwide App, Inc. – Buffalo
theBIKEproject – Toronto
TheraPeptides – Niagara Falls
TimberFish LLC – Buffalo
Todos Medical – Israel
Track2Quit – Burlington, N.C.
triMirror – Toronto
Undercover Colors – Raleigh, N.C.
VetNOx LLC – Buffalo
WeeeApp – Calistoga, Calif.
WhateverComesNext – Lockport
WhiteBox – New York
Z Lens LLC – Slingerlands