7 Months in Buffalo: An Update On Our Year 3 Winners

It’s hard to believe, but our 2016 Winners have already been in Buffalo for 7 months! They’ve hit the ground running, hiring employees and interns, building partnerships with local businesses, and acquiring new customers.

Our $1 million grand prize winner, Oncolinx, even went to space! Well, they didn’t, but their cancer therapy did. Back in May, their immunotherapy was sent up to the International Space Station for testing.

But that’s not all. Asarasi became the first USDA certified organic bottled water. WeDidIt closed a $2 million deal with a non-profit that provides aid to animal shelters. And HigherMe became the exclusive hiring software provider for 400 White Castle locations.

There’s no doubt that each company’s presence is being felt in the Western New York community and beyond, and we’re excited to share an update on what they’ve been up to.


Asarasi has pioneered the world’s very first organic water by developing a renewable and sustainable water supply that comes from a plant-based source. The company is at the forefront of the recovery and bottling of maple permeate waters, which are currently a by-product of the maple sapping industries. Asarasi is a naturally pure, unflavored, tree-filtered water which has been certified USDA organic, and is the only organic sparkling bottled water on the market.

Asarasi will be in over 1,500 locations in the short time since it was launched. In addition, they have partnered with over 60 farms in New York and New England, creating the first maple permeate benefit Corporation in the United States. From a sustainability perspective, Asarasi is supporting the farming community and the environment for water conservation, while simultaneously providing consumers with a best-in-class bottled water product at a value price.

Bounce Imaging

Bounce Imaging’s 360-degree throwable camera gives first-responders an instant look at the dangerous space they’re about to enter through real-time video sent to their smartphone. This allows emergency crews to develop a proactive, rather than reactive, plan for the situation.

In the past six months, Bounce Imaging has signed deals with the FBI and US Marshals as well as local law enforcement agencies in Cheektowaga, North Tonawanda, and Amherst, and the NYS Troopers, and are establishing relationships in the industrial safety sector and the Department of Defense. The Buffalo Fire Department is participating as a test partner for utilizing the camera in a fire rescue setting. They’ve also established a partnership with Verizon.


Formarum has developed a turbine technology that allows for the creation of a self-powered and self-contained saltwater system to sanitize pools in a cheaper and more efficient way than any of its competitors. Their system, Dive, can be installed to convert chlorine pools into saltwater pools, providing them access to a rapidly growing market.

Since becoming a 43North Winner, Formarum has been working with a team of local and national advisors to bring their product to market by spring of 2018. They recently hired a full-time, Buffalo-based engineer to lead a beta testing program in Western New York pools this summer. They’re also looking to hire two additional engineers, one of whom will set up their assembly line to manufacture 1,500 units by March 2018.


HigherMe helps retail and hourly employers hire better employees faster through their suite of software. Companies like Dunkin’ Donuts, White Castle, and Panera Bread trust them with the most important part of their operation: their people.

HigherMe recently became the exclusive hiring software provider for 400 White Castle locations. They also began new pilot programs with Arby’s, Bertucci’s, and Six Flags. Already giving back to the Western New York community, HigherMe has partnered with Mayor Byron Brown and the City of Buffalo to offer their hiring software pro-bono to the Mayor’s Summer Youth Program, streamlining the application process for Buffalo youth. They are in the process of adding six new Account Executives to their Buffalo office roster. Interested individuals can access the application here.


Oncolinx is developing targeted cancer immunotherapies (called antibody-drug conjugates) in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute.

In May, Oncolinx’s cancer therapy successfully took off on the Orbital ATK Cygnus 7 Launch from Cape Canaveral for research at the International Space Station. Oncolinx also has selected two postdocs, one PhD student, and two undergraduate interns to work on their immunotherapy technology. One postdoc will work directly out of the National Cancer Institute, and the other hires will work in Dr. Dhavalkumar Shah’s lab at the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy.


PathoVax is commercializing RGVax, a low-cost vaccine to prevent all HPV-associated cancers in both genders. Current vaccines focus exclusively on some sexually transmitted types, resulting in low uptake from incomplete coverage and social stigma, but RGVax focuses on all cancer-causing HPV types, including those transmitted by skin contact that cause skin warts common in childhood – which helps position it as an early childhood vaccine.

Since moving to Buffalo, PathoVax has been working to establish academic collaborations with the University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and other organizations. PathoVax recently attended NewYorkBIO in New York City where they won The Best Pitch Prize Award in the PitchFest Competition. This prize, sponsored by Empire State Development, helped to finance their attendance at the Bio International Conference in San Diego, providing the team with further opportunities to pitch in front of venture capital investors and pharmaceutical executives from around the globe. They also presented at the MIT Venture Mentoring Service’s Demo Day to over 200 angel investors, and were recently on a China business roadshow to explore further funding opportunities with venture capital groups.

UltraCell Insulation

UltraCell Insulation makes high-performance building insulation from recycled corrugated cardboard. The company’s patented and proven process allows them to manufacture an advanced form of cellulose insulation that outperforms traditional cellulose, which is made from recycled newsprint.

The company has run a successful full scale pilot and has lined up millions of dollars in pre-orders. UltraCell Insulation plans to build out a full-scale manufacturing plant in the Buffalo area that would employ 35 people and generate hundreds of installation jobs. The company is currently seeking to identify an experienced VP of Finance and Mechanic/Production Operators.


WeDidIt helps nonprofits raise money and reach new donors online through a software that aggregates donor data. This takes the hassle out of online fundraising and makes donor research simple, allowing for more targeted fundraising campaigns.

WeDidIt recently hired a full-time Marketing Manager in Buffalo, and they plan to fill Business Development, Sales, and Product Management job openings later this year. They’ve brought on several new customers, including some large local nonprofits such as Explore & More Children’s Museum. In April 2017, WeDidIt closed a $2 million deal with Petlanthropy, an organization that supports over 900 non-profit animal shelters. Over the next 3 years, their shelters will use WeDidIt to power fundraising campaigns, donations and gift card transactions.


To learn more about all three years of 43North winners, head on over to our Winners page!