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43North welcomes its newest class

Chris Caya WBFO News

Several startups are beginning the New Year settling in to their new home on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Wednesday marked move-in day for the newest class of 43North winners. 

The top eight finalists, announced in October, will be working out of 43North's free incubator space on Ellicott Street for the next year. 43North Executive Director, John Gavigan says, the startups, from across North America, are bringing about 40 people to Buffalo.   

"But we also have open job posting for about 20 to 25 additional people for these companies alone," Gavigan said. 

Credit Chris Caya WBFO News
43North Executive Director John Gavigan talks to reporters on Move-In Day.

Along with cash prizes, Gavigan says, 43North winners get a business advisor and access to a range of professional services including legal and sales and marketing.
"You name it. So whatever the unique needs of our companies actually are we surround them with the proper resources to advance their success," Gavigan said.

The companies range anywhere from consumer products to life sciences. Bethany Desphande, CEO of SomaDetect, won the competition's $1 million grand prize. Deshpande says, moving to Buffalo, from New Brunswick, in Eastern Canada, is a great opportunity for her agricultural technology company.

Credit Chris Caya WBFO News
SomaDetect CEO Bethany Deshpande

"What I really felt at 43North was just such incredible support and recognition that what the company does matters. That people care about the food, where their food comes from, and the farmers that are producing that food. And that there's a whole group of people willing to stand behind us, believe in us, and support us. And I couldn't be more thankful," Deshpande said.

Five of the companies won $500,000, including California based TARA AI.
"TARA is an intelligent product builder. We help small businesses, startups, basically build out their software product," said Iba Masood, Co-Founder and CEO. She says the company already has customers in Buffalo and she's excited to be apart of the community.

Credit Chris Caya WBFO News
TARA AI Co-founder and CEO Iba Masood

"So one of the things we're excited about is being closer to not only customers here but also our customers on the East Coast. And also hiring as well. We have a lot of positions currently open in marketing and sales and in engineering as well. And so we're excited to get started hiring in the community," Masood said.  

During their stay at the Incubator, Gavigan says, 43North will also expose the winners to all of the region's assets to hopefully increase the chance of them "sticking around longer than just one year."


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