43North + Uber Launch UberPITCH – Award $5,000 to Buffalo Startup

On January 25th, 2017, we officially kicked off our partnership with Uber! Here’s what the day looked like and what happened during “UberPITCH.”

Uber car

To prep for the day, Uber reps started working out of our incubator at 7am.  The real fun started though at 11am when the Uber drivers all arrived. At this time, any person within Buffalo proper that had the Uber app downloaded on their phone would receive a pop-up notification that would allow them to signal one of the Uber drivers to their location.

Once connected and in the vehicle, each participant had the opportunity to deliver a 7-minute pitch to a venture capitalist (VC) or business leader who was also inside. After the pitch was over, the VCs gave the riders valuable and insightful feedback on their business idea as well as suggestions for the future.

The event closed at 3pm, and after much deliberation, we collectively arrived at the top four pitches of the day and determined who would pitch later that night for a shot at $5,000:

  • Pretty + Grit (Casey Kelly) – Pretty + Grit is a jewelry company that falls in the space where beauty meets meaning. Kelly wants these pieces to serve as a meaningful personal reminder for the wearer and also a token of beauty as a way for strong women to express inner strength and beauty.
  • Cleaning Essentials (Mike Robinson) – Cleaning Essentials wants to help individuals reduce the amount of chemicals in their homes by selling durable and eco-friendly bottles with recipes for natural cleaners. These recipes comprise of ingredients commonly found in the average person’s home.
  • FabUbus (Kirsten DiCarlo) – FabUbus strives to combine the convenience of a nail salon or home spa with the luxury of a day spa. The company outfitted a 40-foot bus with areas for hair styling, manicures, pedicures and even massages. It’s perfect for parties, corporate wellness, or even a quick fix.
  • Automito (Brian Quaranto) – Automito is working on a new device to make autologous mitochondrial transplantation easier and more widely available. This aids those patients whose mitochondria stopped creating energy after a major health failure such as a heart attack.

The top four contestants then had the opportunity to give a final pitch to our panel of judges (Mayor Byron Brown, Bill Maggio, Somak Chattopadhyay, Alex Fernandez) in Dig at the Innovation Center in the hopes of winning $5,000!

Pitches started promptly at 7pm, and after all four pitches and much deliberation, the judges awarded Mike Robinson of Cleaning Essentials with the $5,000 prize!


We want to thank everyone who participated and helped with this event, and we hope that UberPITCH sparks a little bit of inspiration in you to continue building Buffalo’s burgeoning startup scene!