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3 early-stage companies you may not have heard of

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Buffalo Next

Startup spotlight: 3 early-stage companies you may not have heard of 

Western New York's startup ecosystem was on full display during Buffalo Startup Week. 

Investors, founders and employees from well-known startups such as ACV Auctions, Circuit Clinical and PostProcess Technologies took place in panel discussions and networking events. But lesser-known companies just starting out had the opportunity to show off their technology and products, as well. 

Here are three local, early-stage startups you may not have heard of before:

Made in WNY Expo

Tag Tappers CEO & founder Jacob Godfrey pulls up information on his computer at the Made in WNY Expo, which is part of Buffalo Startup Week in Buffalo on Nov. 15, 2022. 

Tag Tappers

When Jacob Godfrey left the Marine Corps, he didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. He worked in kitchens and in construction, struggled with drug addiction and spent time in jail. When he got out of jail, he decided to focus on something he'd always been passionate about: fashion. 

In 2019, Godfrey started Tag Tappers, a clothing company that embeds NFC chips into merchandise and accessories. Similar to a QR code, the NFC chips are linked to a website. When a user taps the tag with their smart phone – many of which come with built-in NFC readers – the link pops up on their screen. 

Godfrey believes his patent-pending technology can help curb overproduction in the fashion industry. 

"We're selling the digital asset first, then the production process of the physical garment happens. That way, we never overproduce our garments," he said. "I feel like if more people start trying to understand NFC's and blockchain, they can understand how if we bring that technology into something that's related to a physical good, we can really start changing utility around the world." 

Tag Tappers recently worked with the David Z Foundation, a California-based nonprofit that provides music education to underprivileged kids. Godfrey designed an NFC chip that linked to a donation page for the nonprofit. 

Innosek

Innosek is a Buffalo 3D printing company that takes an engineering approach to additive manufacturing.

The company focuses on partnerships with its customers to design, develop and produce components out of about 30 types of materials, said John Carbaugh, Innosek's business development executive. 

Innosek, located on Best Street in Buffalo, has three employees and 50 3D printers. The company is looking to double both of those numbers and move into a larger production space.

The company has more than 200 customers, Carbaugh said. One of the most well-known customers Innosek has worked with is ACV Auctions, Buffalo's online vehicle auction startup. 

Innosek helped create a component of ACV's Virtual Lift device, an imaging tool that captures photos of the underside of a vehicle using a smartphone. 

Working with ACV was "pivotal" for Innosek, Carbaugh said. 

Made in WNY Expo

At the end of their conversation, Fresumes CEO & co-founder Matt Morgan fist bumps Journo CEO & founder Manaswi Mancha at the Made in WNY Expo, which is part of Buffalo Startup Week in Buffalo on Nov. 15, 2022. 

Journo 

Manaswi Mancha, a junior studying computer science at University at Buffalo, lived in New York City during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, when hundreds of people were dying daily in the city. 

"In my community of color, a lot of these deaths were due to misinformation," Mancha said. "So, I really wanted to find a way to combat that. A lot of the news is so polarized, nowadays. There's a lack of trust in the news. So, I was thinking, is there a way to use technology, use artificial intelligence to bridge that gap and really find the middle point where Americans can trust the news?"

So, he used his computer science background to create Journo, a platform that uses artificial intelligence to generate news. Journo's algorithms scrape the internet and generate short, AI-generated articles sent out to subscribers in a daily newsletter. 

Mancha is targeting the Gen Z and Millennial generations by creating a one-stop shop for news delivered in a quick, easy-to-read format, he said.

Mancha is currently working with a mentor through Launch NY.  

– Natalie Brophy 

Want to know more? Three stories to catch you up:

• 3AM Innovations strives to keep first responders safe with tracking software

• Clarence startup CaHill Tech targets next generation of construction workers with app

• AireXpert aims to get planes fixed and flying again faster


Welcome to Buffalo Next. This newsletter from The Buffalo News will bring you the latest coverage on the changing Buffalo Niagara economy – from real estate to health care to startups. Read more at BuffaloNext.com.


Applications open: Future Innovators & Tech Trailblazers

Applications are now open for the Future Innovators and Tech Trailblazers program, aimed at college students interested in kickstarting future careers in technology and entrepreneurship. 

Through the program, students participate in professional development activities, such as hackathons, pitch contests and soft skills training. They will also have the opportunity to network within the community, find a mentor and shadow at a local company while learning about Buffalo's rich history and culture. 

The program starts in January and is sponsored by TechBuffalo, 43North and Forge Buffalo. 

For more information and to apply, visit info.techbuffalo.org/innovators-trailblazers


THE LATEST

Catch up on the latest news from the Buffalo Niagara economy:

The growing acceptance of remote work is making it easier for companies to weather big winter storms.

A massive warehouse on the site Amazon once targeted in Grand Island is coming up for municipal approval.

The dismissal of a lawsuit that aimed to reverse the sale of land for a solar farm at the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park was upheld by an appeals court.

About 500 Moog Inc. employees had a hand in the successful launch of the Artemis rocket.

Thermo Fisher is cutting jobs on Grand Island, but it's not saying how many.

Is a long-anticipated redevelopment project at Canalside about to get rolling, finally?

A former Southtowns convent is targeted for a conversion to senior housing.

Nonunion contractors vow to bow out of Bills stadium project. Here's why.

A federal judge has blocked New York's plan to issue the first round of cannabis retail licenses in portions of the state, including Western New York.

A company plans to beef up its battery research and development operations in Sanborn after its owner won a $117 million federal grant.

A new industrial park is in the works for Clarence, with about a dozen buildings and a solar farm.

Finding qualified workers to fill open jobs remains the top challenge for local businesses.

After years of rapid growth, ACV Auctions has hit a speed bump.

Perry's Ice Cream is planning an $18 million expansion of its Akron facility so it can make Greek yogurt novelties.


ICYMI

Five reads from Buffalo Next:

1. When Covid hit, it shut down professional sports. It also essentially shut down Delaware North's sports concessions business: No fans meant no one to buy hot dogs and beer. Now, fans are back, and Delaware North's Sportservice business is back, too.

2. 'We've had high caseloads nonstop': There is a critical need for mental health and addiction workers in Western New York, as told by two longtime employees in Warsaw.

3. The Buffalo Niagara housing market is cooling off: But it is not in decline as it is in other parts of the country as mortgage rates rise and the economy slows.

4. Big Wheelbarrow is growing in Western New York following 43North win: One of the main goals of Big Wheelbarrow, according to CEO and co-founder Sam Eder: To let farmers focus on farming by automating some of the administrative tasks that come with selling their products.

5. After a crippling pandemic, can one of Western New York's last independent hospitals stay on its own? Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center has been independent since it was founded in 1895, but top officials there are now weighing whether that model will be financially sustainable moving forward.


The Buffalo Next team gives you the big picture on the region’s economic revitalization. Email tips to buffalonext@buffnews.com or reach Deputy Business Editor David Robinson at 716-849-4435.

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