43North, the $5 million startup competition based in Buffalo, awarded eight winning companies prize money during their Finals event at Shea’s Performing Arts Center.
The company winning the grand prize of $1 million was SparkCharge. The startup makes portable chargers for electric vehicles and allows those to be ordered on-demand through an app and partnership with AAA's roadside service. The company projects to have 90 employees by the end of 2019.
Seven other companies were awarded prizes of $500,000.
LegWorks is an InBN win, relocating from San Francisco to Buffalo last January with the help of our free project management services. LegWorks makes durable and affordable prosthetic knees, often for those in the developing world who don’t have access or cannot afford the devices they need to live comfortably.
Their co-founders Emily Lutyens and Brandon Burke, who lost his leg to cancer, pitched to the celebrity judges and sold-out crowd of 3,000.
“Brandon is walking in the exact same product that we’re sending out to Cambodia, Fiji, Zambia, and to South Africa,” Lutyens said.
The company has research and development operations in Toronto, so Buffalo provides easy access between the two locations. Buffalo also offers affordability, supply chain advantages, shorter commute times, and top talent, of which LegWorks has already begun to hire.
“Our business makes sense in Buffalo,” said Burke to close out LegWork’s afternoon pitch. “We are LegWorks. We don’t help people walk again, we help them live again.”
The eight winning companies will now relocate their operations to Buffalo for at least one year, creating jobs in the region and contributing to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The companies receive free incubation space for one-year, mentorship, and tax exempt status for 10-years as well.
43North is a Buffalo Billion initiative from Governor Andrew Cuomo.
To the winners: Welcome to Buffalo! We're so excited for you to move in, fall in love with our region, and contribute to our booming entrepreneurial ecosystem.