43North Winning Startups Making Significant Advancements

Winners generating investment and reaching important milestones; Year Three applications are submitted

BUFFALO, NY – 43North today shared exciting updates on the winning companies from its 2014 and 2015 competitions. The $5 million startup competition attracts entrepreneurs from around the world to compete for prizes that turn startups with high growth potential into funded enterprises in the Western New York region. The Year Three application period concluded on May 31, 2016.

“For the last two and a half years, 43North has worked hard to draw national and international attention to Buffalo’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, provide opportunities for businesses, create jobs and grow Western New York’s economy,” said John T. Gavigan, executive director of 43North. “43North is very excited to see our winners’ many recent accomplishments and we are proud of the important roles 43North and Buffalo have played in their progress. Each new milestone our winners reach serves as concrete evidence to startups near and far that the investment, mentorship, incubation and marketing exposure 43North provides have a large impact on the success of our companies.”

Some recent highlights for 43North’s winners include:

  • Genetesis has announced that it will receive a $350,000 investment from Mark Cuban via Radical Investment LP. This comes on the heels of Genetesis winning $10,000 as the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s national champion and representing the U.S. in the world finals of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in May in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Asana Medical Inc. has closed a $1.2 million offering of convertible promissory notes, for the development and commercialization of an innovative therapy to non-surgically treat Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
  • Painless1099 has been named to Entrepreneur’s Brilliant 100 list as one of the top 10 finance and capital startups to watch. The company launched the first automated self-employment tax platform in an open beta launch, following Tax Day 2016.
  • Medical Conservation Devices recently raised more than $1 million for its low-cost anesthesia machine.
  • HemoGenyx LLC recently raised $1 million via investor Bonsai Capital Ltd.


Additionally, the following 43North winners have been accepted to the START-UP NY program: DDG, Painless1099, Plum, Qoints, and Voiceitt.

In April 2016, past winners ACV Auctions, Painless1099, and Plum pitched their companies at the Collision Conference, representing Buffalo at one of America’s fastest growing tech gatherings.

In May 2016, 43North and Z80 Labs partnered to hold a “Demo Day” in New York City, which featured nine different Buffalo-based startups presenting at Forbes to a notable panel of venture capitalists and private equity investors. Participating 43North winners included ACV Auctions, CoachMePlus, Painless1099, Plum, Qoints, and VoiceItt.

May 31 also brought the conclusion of 43North’s 2016 submission period. 43North made the following significant changes to the application process this year, in an effort to move away from attempting to attract the largest number of submissions and, rather, focus on attracting a smaller set of highly-investable startups:

  • 43North changed the first round application from an eight question high-level business summary, as it had been in the past, to a 60-plus question deep dive, including financial information.
  • For the first time, 43North charged an application fee, which was $100 ($50 for those who submitted by March 31).
  • 43North incorporated learnings about the characteristics of the first two years’ strongest applicants to more finely target outreach to startups. The organization also worked closely with venture capitalists, angel investors, accelerators and incubators to generate high-quality referrals.
  • 43North adjusted its prize structure and terms and conditions to be more attractive to startups that have achieved greater traction.
  • Prizes in 2016 include six $500,000 awards, a runner-up prize of $600,000 and a grand prize of $1 million. In the past, prizes ranged from $250,000 to $1 million.
  • Winners in 2016 will also be in consideration for a cut of $400,000 in follow-on funding.
  • 43North built in language that allows for the dilution of 43North’s 5 percent equity stake in specific circumstances, a move that is winner-friendly.


As a result, the 2016 application period was tremendously successful, generating a class of 542 submissions that is densely packed with startups that have achieved significant traction and, in many cases, substantial investment. It also was an inclusive submission set, with 39 percent of submissions coming from founders who identified themselves as being of African-American/Black, Asian, Hispanic/Latino or other non-white ethnicity and 21 percent identifying as women, which is significant, given that the Center for Venture Research states that only 7 percent of annual U.S. venture capital funding is awarded to women (TechRepublic, July 2014).

“This year, 43North went all-in on a strategy to attract a smaller set of high-quality, investable companies, rather than the largest volume of submissions. By being laser-focused on startups with strong teams, excellent products and evidence of traction, we raised the bar for this year’s competition,” said Bill Maggio, chairman of the 43North board of directors. “I am ecstatic about the results of our efforts – the 542 submissions we received include many truly world-class startups, and I can’t wait to see which of them become 43North winners this October and bring their businesses to Buffalo.”

Additional updates on the winning companies from the 2014 and 2015 competitions include the following:


ACV Auctions

ACV Auctions continues extending across the Northeast, launching territories in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts to network with a maturing New York market.  A newly activated insides sales team has raised the employee total to 29.  With a strong spring driving company performance, ACV Auctions relishes the opportunity to ramp their geographic expansion strategy.


CleanSlate UV has grown into their product team and completed the design of their 2nd Generation product. CleanSlate UV will be pilots in six hospitals this summer, including several Western New York hospitals and a flagship academic study with a NYC health system. They have secured terms with four financial institutions to bridge working capital needs, and are in the midst of closing a $500,000 seed round to fund manufacturing tooling and early product assembly.


CoachMePlus continues to expand its software offering and sign professional and NCAA sports teams. The company also entered into a strategic partnership with Fusionetics, an Atlanta-based company providing movement analysis and other sports science services to teams in the NBA, NHL and more.


Cytocybernetics has hired Mark Nowak as a research scientist. Founder and CEO Glenna Bett presented at the SUNY Academic Industry Roundtable, was named “Member of the Month” at the Canisius College Women’s Business Center, and won the Infotech Niagara’s BETA Award for Women in Technology. Cytocybernetics also gave two presentations and chaired a session at the Biophysical Society Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, CA.


DDG and its Rapid Assessment of Malaria (RAM) device were featured on CNN.com in early June.

DDG is in discussions with one of the largest healthcare providers in India and Tata Trusts to obtain funding and access to sites with large surveillance populations. The company was among the winners in the 2016 Tata Social Enterprise Challenge and the 2016 SPIE Startup Challenge. DDG was named a global finalist in The Venture competition and will again compete in July 2016. DDG has also successfully completed product development of its prototypes and R&D is currently underway in UB CBLS. DDG received phase 1 of the EU Horizon 2020 SME grant, won the grand prize at the Elevate Pitch Competition, received third place at M2D2, and was named a finalist for the Startup Health Competition in India and the J&J Labs Quickfire Competition in Toronto, ON.

Energy Intelligence

Energy Intelligence Founder & CEO Daniel Shani was recognized on the 2016 Forbes “30 Under 30” in the category of energy. The company recently took home the top prize in Harvard Business School’s Launching New Ventures Pitch Contest. The company was also awarded first place and the People’s Choice Award in the Eastern Foundry’s Foundry Cup. Energy Intelligence also won the IET Innovation Awards in the category of Intelligent Systems.


Infonaut has entered into partnership agreements with local entities including CUBRC, EmergenceTek Group, IBM Buffalo Innovation Center and the University at Buffalo, building on multinational partnerships with groups like Zurich North America. The company sponsored and attended the UK Infection Control 2016 Conference, and has since been invited to return in September 2016. Meetings with healthcare innovation accelerators and investors continue. Infonaut was named Best Emerging Tech Company at the 2016 Infotech Niagara BETA Awards.


Plum is pursuing pilot projects with three local universities.


Qoints has made significant progress on the development of its flagship digital marketing intelligence product, and has received interest from a number of agencies leading to product demonstrations with very positive conversations around pilot projects and shared thought leadership resulting from those demonstrations. The company has also established relationships with the Canadian Federal Trade Commissioner and Deputy Consul General of Global Affairs Canada, and the provincial Trade Commissioner for Ontario, which have resulted in connections to global IT and media conglomerates who are strong potential partners and distributors for the Qoints platform. The company was recently accepted into the prestigious Next Founders program.


Voiceitt’s Talkitt application won the 4th annual Medica App competition. Voiceitt has also participated in the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, was selected as one of three winners by ECHAlliance to showcase and pitch at the Mobile World Conference, and was selected as one of eleven startups to pitch in the SXSW Pediatric Pitch Competition. They were also invited to have a booth at TechCrunch DISRUPT in New York City in May 2016. Voiceitt is also now a certified B-Corp.

To learn more about the 2014 and 2015 winners, click here.


About 43North

43North is the $5 million startup competition, awarding cash prizes to some of the best entrepreneurs and startups from around the world. 43North winners also receive free incubator space in Buffalo for one year, guidance from mentors in related fields, and access to other business incentive programs such as START-UP NY. 43North operates through the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative and grants of $6 million from the New York Power Authority and $1 million from Empire State Development. Additional support comes from National Grid, EY, the State University of New York at Buffalo and several other sponsors. For a full list of sponsors and more information about 43North, visit www.43north.org.