This year’s 43North winner will be from outside Buffalo with field down to 10

Dan Miner | Buffalo Business First

The only Buffalo-based finalist has been eliminated from the competition, but the founders who remain in the running say they’re excited about bringing their startup to Buffalo.

The field is down to 10.

A panel of investors from around the country whittled down the 18 finalists in the 43North competition Wednesday after they gave pitches at the Rich Product Corp. atrium.

Today, those 10 startups will again be pared down during a series of events at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, with a $1 million grand prize winner, a $600,000 runner-up and six $500,000 awards.

Wednesday’s cutdown offered one disappointment for local fans of the state-backed business plan competition: the only locally-based company, Abcombi Biosciences, was not among the 10 chosen companies.

But generally, the day offered public validation of what 43North organizers have been saying for months, that this year represents a considerably more mature field of contestants.

HigherMe CEO Rob Hunter, for instance, said that his company recently closed two enterprise accounts for its recruitment service/platform, pushing the company to a projected $1 million in annual revenue to go along with a recently closed $1.5 million seed round.

Hunter’s company is based in Boston but he’s a native of London, Ontario, and said after his pitch that he was excited to move closer to his mother and mother-in-law, and to participate in a startup ecosystem that is emerging along with a new generation of young companies.

HigherMe was among the 10 that moved on to today’s finale. It wasn’t the only company that sees 43North as a homecoming for its promising startup company: Arthena is run by Grand Island native, Sacred Heart Academy graduate and Manhattan resident Madelaine D’Angelo, 29, who said that both her grandmother and mother had founded successful companies in Western New York.

D’Angelo said that New York City will always be an advantageous place for a company in the art world, but said Buffalo represents a strong opportunity to build out engineering, sales and other technical talent.