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$1 million 43North Competition Winner – SomaDetect

The latest $1 million 43North competition winner was awarded last evening. The coveted top prize, announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, went to SomaDetect,  an agricultural technology company that is able to detect problems within cows that can affect the quality of milk. 

Altogether, $5 million worth of cash prizes were awarded. The winners are also provided with incubator space for one year, and assistance from esteemed business mentors. Eight awardees are also offered access to additional business incentive programs.

“43North continues to drive Buffalo’s resurgence by showcasing the breadth of opportunity and resources available in Western New York and attracting top-notch entrepreneurs and businesses from across the globe,” Governor Cuomo said. “We welcome these forward-thinking, creative men and women to New York and look forward to all of the 2017 43North winners supporting the continued growth of Buffalo’s economy.”

“43North is the one of the true symbols of the transformation that has taken place over the past six years because of Governor Cuomo and the Buffalo Billion,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “A region once defined by its place on the rust belt is now a hub of innovation, one that is rapidly becoming a national destination for start-ups and young, creative entrepreneurs with a vision for the future. I congratulate tonight’s winner and look forward to watching their success stories, and Buffalo’s, continue to unfold.”

The Winners of the 2017 43North Competition are:

$1 Million Winner: SomaDetect

Hometown: Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

SomaDetect is an agricultural technology company that provides dairy farmers with key milk quality indicators. With SomaDetect, farmers are intimately connected with every cow they milk, enabling them to identify problems early, make informed decisions and produce the best possible milk.

$650,000 Winner: Squire

Hometown: New York, NY

Squire is OpenTable for barbershops.

$550,000 Winner: Qidni Labs

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Qidni Labs Inc. develops renal replacement therapies (artificial kidneys) that fit in the palm of your hand, which can be used by millions of patients with kidney failure.

Five $500,000 Winners

Femi Secrets

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Femi Secrets provides the ultimate protection to women of all ages during their monthly menstrual cycle. Femi Secrets specializes in eco-friendly, healthy and savvy options for women and their premiere product, Pretty Panty, guarantees no leaks. They are keeping women beautiful, comfortable and confident.


Hometown: Long Beach, CA

Kangarootime is the first modern mobile and web operating system for childcare centers, schools and camps. They provide a full document management strategy to make schools paperless and create workflows to ensure that students, parents, staff members and management are always up-to-date.

Burner Fitness

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Burner is a platform for mind and body training. They make it affordable for anyone to train with the best fitness professionals and wellness coaches.


Hometown: San Jose, CA

TARA is an intelligent product builder, using AI to speed up the software development of products through automated project scoping, assignment of vetted contractors and performance management.


Hometown: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Suncayr‘s product, SPOT, is a smart indicator of UV light to help everyone be safer in the sun. SPOT shows sunscreen users when their sunscreen is no longer protecting them using a simple color change.

People’s Choice Award:


Hometown: Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

43North expert judges included:

Bonin Bough – @boughb | Host | Cleveland Hustles

Melissa Bradley – @bradleyml and @Project500DC | Director | Project 500

Toby Corey – @tobycorey | Stanford University Lecturer, Entrepreneur & Former Tesla Executive

Virginia Giddings – Sr. Director, Advanced Technology & Innovation | Stryker Neurovascular

Eric Hippeau – @erichippeau | Managing Director | Lerer Hippeau Ventures

David Jakubowski – Director, Publisher Solutions | Facebook

Jill Thompson – @theJoLTGroup | President | The JoLT Group

43North Board Chair Bill Maggio said: “Tonight demonstrated the continued validation of our competition’s commitment to quality of our applicants. I’d like to congratulate our eight tremendous winners, especially SomaDetect our grand prize winner. We welcome them to Buffalo.”

John R. Koelmel, New York Power Authority Chairman and Buffalo business leader said, “I want to congratulate all of tonight’s winners, who distinguished themselves from among more than 500 submissions, and welcome them as the newest member of the Buffalo business community.NYPA is very proud to sponsor this extraordinary competition again this year and we look forward to seeing their bold new entrepreneurial spirit that will further energize Buffalo and Western New York.”

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership, this is another historic day for Western New York. The 43North competition continues to attract world-class talent to the region’s growing startup community, today adding eight of the world’s best and brightest startups to join Buffalo’s fast-growing entrepreneurial community.”

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and SolEpoxy Inc. President Jeff Belt said, “For the fourth straight year, this competition demonstrates – beyond a doubt – that Buffalo is open for business. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s vision, 43North has made this city a destination for startups and entrepreneurs to grow their business. We welcome this year’s winners to Buffalo, and look forward to working with them to help realize their businesses’ promise.”

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and President of the State University of New York at Fredonia Dr. Virginia Horvath said, “43North continues to invigorate Western New York’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. We look forward to the contributions from this year’s winners in advancing its continued success.”

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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