Stephen T. Watson | The Buffalo News

The organizers of the 43North business plan competition have named the seven judges who will award $4.6 million in prizes during the final round of the international contest later this month in Buffalo.

The panel of judges will listen to pitches from over the course of two rounds on Oct. 27, first in the morning from the full group of 10 finalist start-up founders and then in the evening from a group of three selected to compete for the top prize of $1 million. In addition to selecting an overall winner, the judges will hand out a $600,000 runner-up award and six $500,000 awards.

The seven judges are: Soraya Darabi, co-founder of Zady, a fashion e-commerce site; Thomas Lynch, managing director of Goldman Sachs; John M. McMahon, founder and CEO of V2K Medical, a medical device company;  Ambarish Mitra, founder and CEO of Blippar, an augmented reality app; Erik Moore, founder and managing director of Base Ventures, a venture capital fund; Matthew Ryan, global chief strategy officer for Starbucks; and Tracy Valorie, senior vice president and general manager of the United States pharmaceutical business at Bausch + Lomb.

The pitches and the selection of the winning companies will take place Oct. 27 in Shea’s Performing Arts Center. The Office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also announced that former NBC News correspondent Luke Russert, the son of the late “Meet the Press” host and Buffalo native Tim Russert, will serve as emcee of the evening’s activities.

43North Week begins on Oct. 20 with a full roster of activities leading up to the final day of judging for the competition, which began with 542 entries. Registration for all events is now open at

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