Buffalo, NY — January 31, 2019 — Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and 43North, New York State’s startup competition that invests $5 million annually to attract and cultivate startups in Buffalo, NY, are partnering on a multi-year program to further develop and scale the Western New York entrepreneurial ecosystem. Together, Techstars and 43North will build a self-sustaining coalition of entrepreneurs, corporate partners, local and national investors, government and academic leaders, and startup enthusiasts within the community.
In addition, Techstars announces the formal launch of the Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program. The Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program offers economic and government leaders at the state and city level research, program management staff, and services to support the rapid injection of key ingredients into city infrastructure and leadership—all with the goal of driving economic development and job growth. Techstars is launching with Buffalo as the inaugural city for the Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development Program.
“Techstars sought a community that had a blend of passion, population size, and the organizational commitment to take their ecosystem and supersize it,” said Chris Heivly, vice president of Innovation at Techstars. “Buffalo already has a burgeoning ecosystem with strong players such as 43North, Launch NY, and University at Buffalo. While Techstars is partnering with 43North on this initiative, the Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program is a community-wide effort, and Techstars will focus on increasing the existing collaboration in the community.”
Techstars began its work on this initiative in the fall by researching the current state of the Buffalo entrepreneurial ecosystem through a series of interviews and surveys. Techstars officials then used this information and Techstars data on building ecosystems in other communities to create a roadmap for the future growth of Western New York’s startup community.
“I have long believed that in the modern era, you can start a scalable, high-growth company almost anywhere, and every metropolitan area with over 100,000 people should have a thriving startup community.” Brad Feld, co-founder of Techstars and partner at Foundry Group.
Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program for Buffalo includes providing mentorship to 43North companies and other Buffalo startups; coaching and facilitating interactions with Western New York mentors, community leaders, investors, and potential investors; producing year-round events and programming; forging connections with Techstars global network; producing and posting digital content about the Buffalo ecosystem; and conducting ongoing measurement of the progress of Buffalo’s startup community.
Techstars is currently seeking a Buffalo-based Executive Director who will work with Techstars executives, a small Buffalo staff, and the 43North team to execute the plan.
“Whether you’re looking at the number of startups, the volume of venture capital, or the engagement of our community’s leaders, Buffalo’s startup ecosystem is the strongest that it has ever been. While we are encouraged by our recent growth and success, we have an opportunity to double down on our efforts to build our entrepreneurial community into one that generates jobs and prosperity for generations to come,” said Eric Reich, 43North board chair. “Techstars is one of the world’s most respected organizations for supporting startups and building startup communities, making them the ideal partner to help Buffalo and 43North take the next steps on our journey. We are excited to welcome them to Buffalo and to work collaboratively across the ecosystem to deliver the results that this great community deserves.”
“Buffalo’s startup ecosystem has made significant progress, and the partnership between Techstars and 43North is a strategic commitment to support its continued growth and regional economic impact,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky.
The Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program in Buffalo is a partnership with 43North, with support from M&T Bank, National Grid, and others to be announced.
To learn more about the Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program, join Techstars and 43North for an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on Ecosystem Development on February 28, 2019, at 3 pm EST. The AMA will be recorded.
Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars founders connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporations to grow their companies. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, and Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,700 companies with a market cap of $18 Billion. www.techstars.com
43North is New York State’s startup competition that invests $5 million annually to attract and cultivate high-growth startups in Buffalo. 43North portfolio companies 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, Empire State Development and several other sponsors. For more information about 43North, visit www.43north.org.
Buffalo Startup Weekend enters its 7th annual run next weekend, September 29th through October 1st at Dig Buffalo, 640 Ellicott St. The 54-hour crash course on entrepreneurship explains how to grow a simple idea into a full-fledged, successful business.
The event kicks off with networking on Friday night at 6 p.m., where all guests are invited to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the ideas and from there the coaches mentor the groups on how to create a business model, design their website, and supporting marketing collateral, market validation, and coding basics.
“What we like to see is a lot of people who come to Startup Weekend who maybe don’t necessarily have an idea, but have the energy to put some creativity into it,” said Janae Pitts, Co-Founder OneTen Capital.
Startup Weekend brings together talented people. Each idea and team member brings a unique point of view and skill to the table. Attendees take their learnings from being able to freely express their thoughts among peers and really launch their entrepreneurial career.
Brendon Dever, co-founder of Heads Up Solution, won the competition in 2013. His takeaways from the event enabled him and his team to raise private and public capital funding, which was used to research the market and develop their technology to fit.
“Startup Weekend is an opportunity to take control over your career and life,” Dever said. “If you have a dream to chase, Startup Weekend is the perfect starting point.”
The event culminates with presentations on Sunday afternoon, when the winning teams are able to present their business plans to local leaders serving as judges.
Tickets are limited. Order today.
This article is by Tom Murdock – general manager of the WNY Innovation Hot Spot.
Things are good here.
With more than $16 billion in construction going on across Western New York, five construction cranes dotted downtown Buffalo’s skyline this year. Our entrepreneurs find themselves in a rapidly changing built environment, and as once-sleepy neighborhoods wake back up, they’re filled by dreamers, change agents and innovators.
Buffalo has long been home to innovation, giving the world inventions including air conditioning, pacemakers, jet aircraft, windshield wipers, crash test dummies, seat belts, and flight simulation.
These days, our innovators continue to start companies and turn heads the world over. Liazon, once an idea in an Elmwood Avenue coffee shop, was acquired by Towers Watson and now looks to add 500 jobs to its headquarters in a renovated creamery building. Synacor went public in 2012, and employs hundreds on Buffalo’s waterfront. Two University at Buffalo products, Campus Labs and Content Savvy, are expanding in place after attracting national and international buyers.
We’ll add 11 more high profile ventures to our region this month when 43North, the world’s largest business idea competition, announces its winners. Just an idea a year ago, 43North attracted more than 6,900 entrants – all looking to move their ventures to Buffalo and leverage cash prizes, mentoring, and free incubator space.
Then there’s the self-made multi billionaire and owner of the Buffalo Sabres, who just outbid Donald Trump and Jon Bon Jovi for the Buffalo Bills. He’s developing a 20-story hockey, hotel, and retail complex that has already attracted the 2016 NHL draft and 2015 and 2016 NHL scouting combines. And the proceeds from the sale of the Bills? Most of that money is going back into local charities.
If medical is your thing, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) launched in 2001 and is home to a frenzy of construction, collaboration, and new ideas. Currently employing 12,000, BNMC will host some 17,000 workers by 2017. Roswell Park, the world’s first cancer center, is finishing up a major addition, with a new medical school and new children’s hospital around the corner.
Many of these projects exist as a part of the Buffalo Billion, a bold plan to invest $1 billion in our economy. Other B1B initiatives include the IBM-backed IT Innovation and Commercialization Hub, the Genomic Medicine and Super Computing Project, the Medical Innovation and Commercialization Hub, and the Better Buffalo Fund to stimulate reinvestment in urban neighborhoods.
…And if that wasn’t enough, Elon Musk and Solar City are investing $5 billion to create a 3,000 job solar “gigafactory” – the largest such facility in the Western Hemisphere – right here in Buffalo.
Many locals see these projects as proof that our area has finally turned a corner. But you don’t need to take our word for it, because the Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post, and Forbes all seem to agree.
Add it all up, and it means that starting a business in Buffalo means claiming your leadership role in a rapidly changing city, and being surrounded by an ever-growing group of innovators and change agents.
Buffalo Startup Weekend is a great place to make that happen.