From Fighting Cancer in Space to Helping SWAT Teams Fight Crime, 43North Year 3 Winners Are Making Strong Progress

Companies have been operating in Buffalo since January, hiring new employees, acquiring customers and building partnerships

New Incubation and Mentoring Program Pays Dividends for 43North Winners

Buffalo, NY – In the seven months since moving to Buffalo in January 2017, 43North’s Year 3 Winners have rolled up their sleeves and gotten down to business. Whether it’s landing large new customers or sending their research into space, these eight ambitious startups have been reaching significant milestones. This year, 43North launched a new mentorship and incubation program that pairs winners with an adviser in their industry, offers workshops and trainings and brings startups together through a virtual network.

43North’s winners from 2014 and 2015 have also seen a great deal of success this year, ranging from new investments to product development.

Each year, as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, 43North provides its winners with cash investments totaling $5 million, along with mentorship, incubator space and access to the START-UP NY program, where they can be free of New York State taxes for up to 10 years.

“43North surrounds our winners with funding, an expanded mentorship program, incubator space and tax breaks to help them succeed,” said 43North Board Chair Bill Maggio. “I applaud our winners on the milestones that they’ve reached so far in 2017, and I look forward to seeing how they will continue to grow with the support of the Buffalo community.”

“I’m very encouraged by the progress 43North’s winners have made since arriving in Buffalo at the start of the year,” said 43North Executive Director John Gavigan. “As always, Buffalonians have embraced our winners and contributed to their development as employees, customers, suppliers, service providers and mentors.”

Learn about the progress of 43North’s winners below and read more about 43North’s portfolio at

2016 Winners


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 soon be in over 1,500 locations in the short time since it was launched. In addition, they have partnered with more than 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 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.

Past Winners

ACV Auctions:

ACV Auctions leverages the power of mobile to modernize dealer-to-dealer auto auction operations. ACV’s all-in-one mobile app allows users to buy and sell in live 20-minute auctions and facilitates post purchase financing and logistics.

ACV Auctions was the $1 million grand prize winner in the 2015 43North competition and has since raised $20 million in additional funding. They employ 101 people full time, with a majority of those in Western New York, and plan to hire an additional 100 full-time employees in new markets and within its headquarters in Buffalo, NY.

CleanSlate UV

The CleanSlate UV solution is a countertop ultraviolet sanitizer. It allows hospitals and food processing facilities to sanitize smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices used by staff and visitors, reducing the risk of cross-contamination from these devices and enabling proper hand hygiene.

CleanSlate UV, a 2015 43North winner, has moved into an office space in the Olmsted Center for Sight facility on Main Street in downtown Buffalo. They are now up to 9 full-time employees, including 4 in Buffalo.


CoachMePlus allows organizations to track athlete information with one centralized system. This software allows users to quickly uncover performance trends to evaluate readiness and lower injury risk.

2015 Winner CoachMePlus made headlines during the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals for working with both the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins. Now working with a third of professional teams in North America and over 200 university sports teams, they have expanded their reach beyond elite sport. This includes high school athletics and a recent contract with the U.S. Navy to optimize sailor fitness, nutrition, wellness and performance at sea and ashore.

Efferent Labs:

Efferent Labs developed a Living Biosensor System that monitors biological signaling and cellular responses in real time. It is a unique system because it employs living cell lines – a powerful tool to assess cellular function in-vivo.

To further develop their Living Biosensor System, Efferent Labs entered into a multi-year agreement with Evotec AG, a drug discovery alliance based in Germany.


Plum is a turnkey Cloud software solution that uses behavioral science and predictive analytics to identify high-potential applicants for success and fit.

Plum boasts a number of loyal, local customers, and has recently hired a new Buffalo-based employee as their Digital Marketing Designer.


Qoints is a knowledge management and performance benchmarking platform that consumer brands are using to drive actionable intelligence out of their digital marketing data.

The company recently joined IBM’s Global Entrepreneurship Program and is now operating out of an IBM Innovation Space. Qoints has raised $230,000 in follow-on funding so far in 2017.


Voiceitt aims to revolutionize communication among people with various motor, speech, and language disabilities, enabling them to use the most natural tool there is – their own voice.

Voiceitt recently secured $2 million in seed funding from investors, including the Buffalo Angels. As part of their beta test program, they plan to offer more than 100 local individuals with impaired speech the ability to test their product through local service providers. They also received a $900,000 grant from the Israeli-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation.

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 from Empire State Development and the New York Power Authority. Additional support comes from National Grid and several other sponsors. For more information about 43North, visit