1. What criteria will judges use to score my application?

Judges will look over and score each application based on the following criteria:

  • The overall strength of team
  • Team’s knowledge of market
  • A rating of the viability of the product/service/technology
  • The product relative to the target market
  • Revenue and financing plans
  • Overall assessment of the opportunity

2. When can I enter?

43North’s application period for 2017 has closed. Stay in touch throughout the summer to see who ultimately joins our fourth class of winners!

3. Why should I enter 43North?

Could your startup use cash, to the tune of $500,000, $550,000, $650,000 or $1 million? How about mentorship, incubator space, tons of marketing exposure, connections to investors, freedom from state taxes and a whole lotta Buffalove? That’s what 43North offers.

4. How do I enter?

The application period for 2017 has closed.

5. Will I need to pay anything if I become a finalist?

Nope! We offer an all-expenses-paid trip to Buffalo, including flights, hotel room, etc.

6. What are the eligibility requirements for entry?

43North is open to applicants ages 18 and older from anywhere in the world, in any industry, with the exception of bricks-and-mortar retail and hospitality.

Is your startup scalable with the potential for aggressive growth? Now we’re talking!

7. How many rounds of judging are there?

There are 3 rounds of judging: an online written application, a live video pitch (summer 2017) and our in-person finals in Buffalo (October 2017).

8. Does 43North take equity in my startup if I am one of the winners?


43North winners, as a condition of their awards, must issue to 43North a purchase right or Warrant that enables 43North to purchase from the recipient a number of capital shares or membership interest equal to 5% of the fully diluted outstanding equity of the recipient at the time the Warrant is exercised. The Warrant will remain in effect for a period of ten (10) years following the date upon which the award is granted. The purchase price at the time of exercise will be the nominal amount of $100.00. For clarity, 43North would have the right to purchase a 5% interest in each recipient for $100.00 at any time during the ten (10) years following the date of an award.

43North will accept dilution of its 5% warrant coverage position only where an awardee is undertaking an equity financing based upon a valuation that exceeds the following thresholds:

In the case of a $1 million award winnerValuation in excess of $ 20 million
In the case of a $650,000 award winnerValuation in excess of $13 million
In the case of a $550,000 award winnerValuation in excess of $11 million
In the case of a $500,000 award winnerValuation in excess of $10 million

In the event that an Awardee’s equity financing meets that above criteria, 43North would reduce its percentage warrant coverage at the same rate as the percentage dilution accepted by the most senior class of shareholders, members or partners of the Awardee immediately prior to the closing of the equity financing. Each equity financing would be evaluated independently.

9. Does my startup need to relocate to Buffalo, New York if I win a prize?

Yep, and if you ask our past winners, they’ll say that Buffalo, itself, is a prize.

Our winners are required to relocate to Buffalo for a minimum of 12 months. In addition to cash prizes, 43North winners receive free incubator space in Buffalo, mentorship from experts related to their fields and access to other exciting incentive programs. Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information.

10. Will 43North provide guidance to winners as they relocate to Buffalo, NY?

Of course!

11. If I am one of the winners, how soon does my company need to locate to Buffalo, NY?

Our next class of winners will set up shop in Buffalo in January 2018.

12. Will your staff and judges sign confidentiality agreements?

No. Due to the sheer number of submissions received by 43North, none of its staff, agents, including judges, or assigns will enter into any confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement. Please thoroughly review our Terms and Conditions before entering 43North.

13. Can I enter 43North if I am not from Buffalo, New York?

Yes! 43North is open to applicants from anywhere in the world.

14. Is there a cost to apply?

The cost to apply by our April 12th, 2017 Early Bird Deadline was $50. From April 13th through May 24th, the cost was $100.

15. Why do you charge a fee to apply?

Simply put, we’re looking for startups that are serious about their companies and our competition.

If you cannot afford our application fee for any reason, please let us know at [email protected] and we’ll work it out.

16. Who should I contact if I’m having a technical issue?

Our apologies for any inconvenience, but we’re here to help! Please send an email describing your issue to [email protected].

17. What is there to do in Buffalo?

Buffalo is a city on the rise. This laid-back, creative, welcoming city is home to world-class modern and contemporary art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan and H.H. Richardson; parks by Frederick Law Olmsted; Buffalo Bills NFL football, Buffalo Sabres NHL hockey and Buffalo Bisons Triple-A minor league baseball; a vibrant, historic waterfront; a hip music and nightlife scene; and incredible food options that range from chicken wings to farm-to-table fine dining.

18. Who are the judges and mentors?

43North has a team of judges and mentors from throughout New York State and the United States who are content experts in various fields.

19. Can I be both an applicant to 43North and a judge?

No, you may not be both an applicant and a judge in the same competition year.

20. If I applied in any of the previous competitions, but did not win a prize, can I apply again this year?

Yes. The competition is open to applicants from previous years.

21. How do I become a sponsor?

This is our favorite type of question!

Please reach out to Peter Petrella, our Director of Development, at [email protected] or 716-860-4485. To see our list of sponsors, please click here.

22. Who should I contact with a media request?

Please contact Peter Burakowski, our Director of Marketing, at [email protected] or 716-259-2838.

23. Is the application open to every business?

The following businesses are not eligible for the Competition:

(1) retail businesses with brick and mortar storefronts,

(2) residential real property business,

(3) investment vehicles that invest in the securities of other entities,

(4) sports venues,

(5) gaming and gambling businesses,

(6) places of overnight accommodation,

(7) past 43North cash-prize winners ,

(8) entertainment-related establishments.,

(9) single-purpose entertainment or event productions (e.g. movies, albums, concerts)

For this purpose, “retail business” means a business that is primarily engaged in making retail sales of goods or services to customers who personally visit such facilities to obtain goods or services.  In addition, generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, roll-ups, real estate syndications, tax shelters and franchise-based outlets.

24. What does the application timeline look like?

  • April 12: Early bird deadline.
  • May 24: Application period closes.
  • Early June: First round of judging begins.
  • Late June: Applicants will be notified of their standing, and those moving on to 43North’s Semifinals will be assigned a date in mid-July to perform live video conference pitches to a panel of judges.
  • September: Semifinalists will be notified of their status and whether they are being considered as Finalists.
  • October: Finalists will come to Buffalo, NY and pitch live in front of our panel of judges and audience. Eight of the finalists will become 43North Winners.
  • January, 2018: Winners will move to Buffalo, NY and begin 43North’s incubation program.