A month before the winners are selected for this year’s 43North business plan competition, the contest received the bulk of the funding it needs to hold the entrepreneurial event again next year.
The New York Power Authority on Tuesday approved $6 million in funding for the 43North contest – enough to pay for nearly three-quarters of its $8.2 million in estimated costs next year.
The funding, which comes from a pool of money created by the sale of unallocated electricity from the Niagara Power Project, puts 43North on solid financial footing heading into its third year, although the group has been prodded by some members of the local panel that hands out money from the power fund to move faster toward becoming financially self-supporting.
The 43North contest has received $17.4 million in funding from the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board – slightly more than half of the $34.1 million it has awarded for economic development projects over the past three years.
The 43North organizers also said they have picked the eight judges who will pick the contest’s winners during the event’s finals to be held on Oct. 29.
The judges include:
• Andrew Kau, a clean technology and semiconductor expert who is the managing director, USA for Walden International and a director at Buffalo-based Synacor Inc.
• Michael Lazerow, a technology investor who founded social marketing software company Buddy Media and was a former chief strategy officer at Salesforce.com.
• Daniel Lewis, the founding partner at investment firm Orange Capital.
• Lauren Maillian, the founder of marketing company LMB Group and the founding partner of early stage venture capital firm Gen Y Capital Partners. She also will appear on a startup-focused reality TV show, Create Your Day Job, on the Oxygen network next year.
• Sandra J. Miller, an expert in entrepreneurship education who now works at Accenture to help technology start-ups and research universities develop new ideas and products.
• Lacarya Scott, the chief financial officer of Buffalo-based biotechnology firm Empire Genomics.
• Gary Vaynerchuk, an angel investor and venture capitalist who also is the CEO of VaynerMedia, a digital marketing firm.