VIDEO: 43North serves as bullhorn for Buffalo's tech community
By Dan Miner
Buffalo Business First
At its beating heart, 43North is an economic development program that seeks to attract world-class startup founders to Buffalo and then to sell them on staying here.
The state-funded organization held annual competitions for seven straight years until this year’s event was canceled because of the pandemic. In those competitions, a collection of startups competed for $5 million in startup cash, giving up 5% of their company and pledging to operate from Buffalo for a year in exchange.
Think of it as a year-long sales job. The companies come here and are connected with everything from mentorship to potential customers to public subsidies.
And since earlier this year, they also get free office space in 43North’s incubator in Seneca One Tower, in the midst of a massive redevelopment in and around Buffalo’s tallest building by developer Douglas Jemal. Surrounded by apartments, retail and restaurant amenities, co-working space and neighbors such as M&T Bank’s technology hub and Odoo’s East Coast headquarters, those founders now get a daily reminder of the tech economy Buffalo is trying to build.
“You come and work out in the morning, you spend your day working here, and everything you need or want out of Buffalo will be very close by,” said Colleen Heidinger, 43North president.
The competition may be shelved for the time being, but 43North’s work continues. A growing portfolio of past winners are enacting major expansion plans in Buffalo, from ACV Auctions to HiOperator to CleanFiber and several others.
Heidinger said the success of those companies has given 43North a bullhorn well beyond Western New York, capturing the attention of investors and startup leaders across the U.S.
“Over time, due to the success of our program with job creation, raises from companies put through the program, the attraction of companies from other programs, it has become an easier sell for folks to consider Buffalo,” she said.
This article originally appeared in Buffalo Business First.