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State Announces 43North Winners


Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday announced the winners of the ninth annual 43North Finals, New York State’s $5 million startup competition held in Buffalo, in which five revolutionary companies were each awarded a $1 million investment. This year’s competitors came from across the country and as far as London to make their best pitch in front of a distinguished panel of judges and a packed house at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Each of the winners will relocate their companies to Buffalo and work out of the 43North incubator at Seneca One, bringing new jobs and ideas to Buffalo’s growing innovation ecosystem.

“New York is committed to spurring the growth of innovative and creative new startups, and the 43North competition is just one of the ways New York is working to find revolutionary solutions to today’s challenges,” Governor Hochul said. “I congratulate the five enthusiastic winners who will be bringing their game-changing businesses to Western New York, hiring staff, raising capital, and investing in property and equipment. Thanks to New York’s continued investment in 43North, we are adding five new businesses that will only help to amplify Buffalo’s stellar reputation as one of the fastest growing startup cities.”

The Winners of the 2023 43North Competition are:

Guidesly – Topsfield, Massachusetts

  • Guidesly is a vertical SaaS platform serving the $40b outdoor recreational guide marketplace with a consumer marketplace.

KAV – Redwood City, California

  • KAV makes award-winning custom helmets designed to save lives and reduce brain injuries.

Kredit Academy – Miami, Florida

  • Kredit Academy is a comprehensive financial literacy platform offering white-label, credit-based solutions, aimed at empowering consumers, particularly teens and young adults, with knowledge and tools to build sound credit, while also providing financial institutions an effective means of engagement and growth.

Stepwise – Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • Stepwise makes home electrification, specifically for EV charger and heat pump installations, cost effective for homeowners while futureproofing the electric grid.

StoreCash – San Jose, California

  • StoreCash is a mobile payment solution for users to pay cheaply and easily via QR codes at now over 200,000 locations, earning maximum cash back at their favorite stores.

43North’s winners were selected by the following Finals Judges:

  • Sutian Dong, Partner at Multitudes and Co-founder of Global Women in VC
  • David Hall, Managing Partner at Revolution and its Rise of the Rest Seed Fund
  • Sandra Moore, Managing Director and Chief Impact Officer at Advantage Capital
  • Yancey Spruill, Buffalo Native and Chief Executive Officer of DigitalOcean
  • Jenny Fielding, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Everywhere Ventures

In addition to the $1 million investment, each company receives invaluable mentoring services, access to expertise, office space, and interaction with an extensive network of investors. Over the past nine years, 43North has invested in a diverse, industry portfolio of 64 companies, nearly 60% of which have a continued presence in Buffalo, 46 percent of which have founders of color and 26% having female founders. Earlier this year, 43North reported that its portfolio companies had collectively created more than 1,100 jobs in Western New York.

This year, in addition to the five top $1 million awards, a $25,000 People’s Choice award, funded by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, went to Kredit Academy.

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