43North has announced the winners of its competition based in Buffalo, New York, which included three Canadian companies.
“This competition has generated an overwhelming interest in Buffalo from entrepreneurs here in the U.S. and around the world,” said Western New York Regional Economic Development Council co-chair and University at Buffalo president, Satish K. Tripathi.
Out of 11,000 applicants from 117 countries, only 11 companies could compete as finalists for a pitching competition that boasted a $1 million prize—and the three Canadian companies that made it represented Canada well.
“There are pockets of funds available in Canada, but it’s primarily micro-seed or growth dollars. There seems to be a gap in the $50,000-$250,000 range.”
While no Canadian company took the top prize, CleanSlate, a Toronto-based company that creates a tabletop rapid device sanitizer for infection control, took one of six $500,000 prizes. Plum, a Waterloo-based company, snagged $250,000 for its turnkey cloud software solution that uses behavioural science to predict high potential applicants for jobs. Toronto-based Qoints also took home $250,000 for its digital marketing data solution.
Qoints founder Cory Rosenfield said his company’s participation in 43North was partially due to a current seed funding gap in the mother country. “There definitely are pockets of funds available in Canada, but it’s primarily micro-seed or growth dollars. There seems to be a gap in the $50,000-$250,000 cheque range,” said Rosenfield. “We needed to find alternative sources of seed capital south of the border as the risk appetite is more accepting of enterprise startups.”
There was another reason, however: on top of the cash prize, startups can also take advantage of free 43North incubator space in Buffalo for one year, guidance from mentors in related fields, and access to other business incentive programs like START-UP NY. “Most of our sales opportunities are in the US and the new office serves as a launching pad for us,” said Rosenfield.