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43North contest narrowed to 113 entrants

The reduction of the 43North business plan competition to 113 semifinalists brought good news to local entrepreneurs Teo Balbach and John Batiste, who learned they had advanced to the next round.

Trimming the field down from the contest’s more than 2,600 qualified entries brought bad news to almost 2,500 others, including East Aurora inventor Robert “Bud” Duthie, who learned that his venture to make emergency water treatment systems didn’t make the cut.

For the surviving entrants, like Balbach, the chief executive of sports performance data tracker CoachMePlus, making the contest’s semifinals keeps his hopes alive that the Buffalo startup could walk away with one of 11 prizes, ranging from $250,000 to a top prize of $1 million.

“I was exceedingly happy to be chosen,” said Balbach, who would use the prize money to make a scaled-down version of his 11-employee company’s software, now used by professional sports teams and major colleges, for use by smaller colleges and schools that don’t require as much information as its pro clients. CoachMePlus, part of the Z80 Labs business incubator in Buffalo, already has raised $1 million from investors.

Batiste, a retired U.S. Army general who now is president of Buffalo Armor, an eight-employee business the makes a more advanced type of armor for military and commercial use, also was pleased, especially since more than 6,900 entrepreneurs initially entered the contest. Making it to the final 113 companies was an accomplishment in itself.

“I think we’ve got a pretty special thing going, but there was a lot of competition,” said Batiste, who would use the prize money to fund further development of his company’s armor products and expand production.

Most of the competitors didn’t make it to the semifinals. Duthie, whose water treatment system could be used to remove contaminants from water used in natural gas wells that are hydraulically fractured, said he wasn’t surprised his venture didn’t make the semifinals. He thinks the state’s moratorium on fracking may have worked against his venture.

The $5 million in prizes being dangled by the 43North competition is part of an effort to bring promising new businesses to the Buffalo Niagara region through Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative.

The contest’s goal is to bring more entrepreneurs to the region, where a lack of entrepreneurs and new business start-ups has been identified by local development officials as a major shortcoming.

The contest’s 11 prizes will go to entrepreneurs who the contest’s judges deem to have the most promising plans for a new business. Eligible are early-stage ideas and businesses just getting started. Winners are required to start and operate their businesses in the region for at least a year.

The grand prize winner will get $1 million, but six others will come away with $500,000 each, and an additional four entrepreneurs will get $250,000 apiece. At least one of the winners must be local.

In exchange for the money, the winners have to hand over a 5 percent stake in their businesses.

Winners also will receive rent-free space in an incubator site that will be part of the state’s Start-Up NY tax-free zone, meaning that those businesses won’t be subject to most state taxes and that employees won’t have to pay state income taxes for 10 years. The winning firms also will be provided access to other resources and mentoring services to help them turn their ideas into viable businesses.

Three of every 10 businesses that made it to the semifinals – 34 in all – came from Western New York, contest organizers said.

Now that the semifinalists have been named, those businesses will be required to submit more-detailed information by mid-August about their business plan and financial projections.

Once that’s done, organizers will evaluate them more intensely during 10-minute online presentations that will be held beginning in mid-August or September. Those sessions, which will not be available for viewing by the public but may be released later, also will include 10 minutes of questions by a panel of three judges selected for their expertise in the semifinalist’s field, said Peter Burakowski, 43North’s senior marketing manager.

After those presentations, the pool will be narrowed to a field of 11 finalists who will be guaranteed of receiving a prize, although the size of the award won’t be determined until the final stage of the competition, which will take place from Oct. 27 to 31.

The 113 semifinalists:

AccuTheranostics – Buffalo

Adiabatic Solutions LLC – Tonawanda

Analytical Informatics – Baltimore

Artwork Evolution – Rochester

Asana Medical – Hialeah, Fla.

Asarasi, Inc. – Woodland Hills, Calif.

Attend LLC – Cazenovia

AudioStreamTV – New York

BioBots – Miami

BioNET Sonar – Buffalo

Boss Vaccination Medicine, Ltd. – Buffalo

Braverman Consulting – Rochester

Buffalo Armory LLC – Buffalo

CHAR Technologies – Mississauga, Ont.

Clerisy Corp – Pittsford

CoachMePlus – Buffalo

Codagenix – Blauvelt

COMAND Center, LLC – Buffalo

Contap – Boston, Mass.

Continuous Technology – Havertown, Pa.

CrowdBouncer – Buffalo

Cytocybernetics – Buffalo

Dhama Innovations Private Ltd – Jubilee Hills, India

Dimien LLC – Lancaster

Docugen – Buffalo

EcoBreeze – Taiwan

Empire Genomics, LLC – Rochester

Energy Harvesters LLC – Rochester

Energy Intelligence – Boston, Mass.

Eulysis UK Limited

EZCoaching LLC

FlowMed – Haifa, Israel

Genetesis LLC – Mason, Ohio

GoRightIn Corp – Toronto

Graphenix Development – Buffalo

Graphmasters AG – Switzerland

Green Machine Inc. – Buffalo

HarkerBIO – Buffalo

Health Care Originals – Rochester

HemoGenyx, LLC. – New York

HEVO Power – New York

HugHeart – Haifa, Israel

Hydrobee SPC – Seattle

iClinical – India

Illuminating Diagnostics – Youngstown

InfraSonic Monitoring – Vestal

Integral Information Systems, LLC. – Buffalo

Intugine Technologies Private Limited – Bangalore, India

iRemitt – Queens

Jammster – Latham

KeepUp – New York

Laboratory Analytics, Inc. – Chicago

LifeGlo – New York

Lionano – Ithaca

MagnePath – Perth, Australia

Medical Conservation Devices, LLC – Batavia

Medical Spotlight, LLC – Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Mezmeriz – Ithaca

Mindful Scientific – Halifax, Nova Scotia

Miranor – Haifa, Israel

MOG National LLC – Grand Island

MycroNews – Los Angeles

MySky Aircraft – Port Orange, Fla.

New York Protein Biologics – New York

Niagara Nuclear Frontier – Buffalo

Niche Video Media LLC – Cumming, Ga.

Notabina – San Mateo, Calif.

Novel Material Technologies – East Amherst

Ogmenti – Israel

OnCore Golf Technology – Buffalo

Our Ability – Glenmont

Ovitz Corp. – West Henrietta

Perception Analytics & Robotics LLC (Pearl) – Ann Arbor, Mich.

Precision Scientific Instruments (PSi™) – Buffalo

Programmable Equipment Company LLC – Buffalo

Project Alberta – Hamburg

Qidni Labs

QuaDPharma, LLC – Clarence

Raland Therapeutics – Fairport

Refulgent Software LLC – Buffalo

RIDAR Technologies – Israel

Riddle Institute for Regenerative Medicine – Tomball, Texas

RMT-Epigenomex – Buffalo

SavvyDox – Ottawa

Second Look Radiology – Charlottesville, Va.

SemanticMD – Pittsburgh

Sensorcon – Buffalo – Mountain View, Calif.

SmartDialysis – Rochester

SmarterPills – Buffalo

Solstice Power – Manlius

SoundBetter – New York

SponsorPitch – New York

STC Architectural Products LLC – Buffalo

StealthForce – New York

StylePuzzle – Champaign, Ill. – Clarence

Talking Pictures – Stone Ridge

TeraPore Technologies, Inc. – Rochester

The Fourth Branch – Brooklyn

The Worldwide App, Inc. – Buffalo

theBIKEproject – Toronto

TheraPeptides – Niagara Falls

TimberFish LLC – Buffalo

Todos Medical – Israel

Track2Quit – Burlington, N.C.

triMirror – Toronto

Undercover Colors – Raleigh, N.C.

VetNOx LLC – Buffalo

WeeeApp – Calistoga, Calif.

WhateverComesNext – Lockport

WhiteBox – New York

Z Lens LLC – Slingerlands