BUFFALO, NY - Bill Maggio is a busy man. Between juggling responsibilities with Immco Diagnostics and Lorraine Capital he sits on the board of directors for the Jacobs Institute, West Side Rowing, the BPO and more. The Buffalo natives commitment for the Queen City seemingly speaks for itself.
Maggio was named the executive director of 43North in January, and changes to the competition started almost immediately.
"The first couple years we saw tens of thousands of applications," Maggio said, "I think this year was more about the quality of the applications."
This year, an application fee was instituted and the number of applicants dropped down to half of last years.
Over the summer one-hundred forty-two semifinalists were named. Twenty-five startups from the Buffalo area were named, ultimately one of them, Abcombi Biosciences, were named a finalist.
The quality of the finalists in this year's 43North competition, according to Maggio, are in better shape financially than in years past.
"If you look at the money raised by year one and year two companies versus the year three applications, it's far different," Maggio explained.
43North winners must stay in Buffalo for at least one year, they're given space to work at the Innovation Center on the medical campus and New York State is able to claim 5% equity in the company.
One of the issues facing the Buffalo startup ecosystem is creating an environment in which these companies decide to stay.
Only six of the eleven year one 43North winners stayed in the Queen City. The year two winners will be fulfilling their year-long obligation, as part of the 43N prize, in Buffalo and will be deciding to stay or go in the coming weeks. There are indications that some may leave continue their growth.
Maggio spoke last night at a StartupGrind Buffalo event, held at DIG Buffalo. One hundred twenty people packed the co-working space to listen to his vision of a growing Buffalo startup scene. The challenge he issued to those in
"Prop up these young companies, support these young companies, give them a chance," he said.
The finalists of this years 43North competition will pitch to 30 venture capitalists on October 26th, and the winners will be announced October 27th at Shea's.