Rep Your City in this Startup Throw Down

collision

Last April I spent four days in Las Vegas, the first two meeting with site selection consultants at the Business Facilities LiveXchange and the following two days at the Collision Conference encouraging dynamic tech startups to apply to the 43North Business Plan Competition. Two days suite and tie, two days sport coat and t-shirt. Two very different atmospheres. While I had attended LiveXchange before, it was really exciting to experience Collision. Forbes calls it a “burgeoning schmoozefest of startups, investors, influencers, and next-gen business and technology leaders,” and it most certainly is. Well organized, well attended, it’s a great event for any tech startup – – and a great place for investors to find that diamond in the rough.

Collision is jam packed with energy, from the compact exhibit floor (called ALPHA) featuring 1,000 of the world’s top startups (companies must apply for the chance to exhibit), to the various stages (both large and small) showcasing some of the most influential investors, tech giant leaders as well as up-and-comers. The media presence is huge, with all major outlets represented. Last year, USA Today’s Jon Swartz wrote “Buffalo’s tech scene reboots the city” after 2014 43North winner triMirror’s Jenny Tcharnaia and I met him at Collision and told him all about Buffalo.

And what happens when so many high-profile and high-energy people gather for three days in one city? Parties. Lots of them. Schmoozing your way into the right party at Collision can mean access to investors you’d otherwise have been dreaming about.

This year, Collision (April 26-28 in New Orleans) has a new feature: the Launch Pad PITCH competition, in which 24 companies from eight rising markets will compete on the Launch Pad Stage with the opportunity to present in front of 10,000+ attendees and a chance to be named Best Startup at Collision. Buffalo has been selected as one of these eight rising markets, presenting WNY startups with a huge opportunity.

But you MUST APPLY BY JANUARY 31!

Applicants must have raised less than $3M in private capital. Three Buffalo companies will be selected to represent our great city in NoLA against the best our competing “Rise of the Rest” cities have to offer.

Apply HERE!

By Alan Rosenhoch, BNE Business Development Manager

What Holds Back a Canadian Company from U.S. Expansion?

Alan Rosenhoch, BNE Business Development Manager with Jim Anastasiadis, John Petri and Bill McCormick of Magic White.

Alan Rosenhoch, BNE Business Development Manager with Jim Anastasiadis, John Petri and Bill McCormick of Magic White.

Sometimes it’s as simple as finding the right place to start or someone to show you where that starting line even is located. That was the case with Magic White Inc., a company I met last spring at the Restaurants Canada trade show in Toronto. In just a couple short months, a brief conversation with company president Jim Anastasiadis on the trade show floor culminated with the establishment of Magic White USA, Magic White’s first formal U.S. presence here in the Buffalo Niagara region.

Magic White Inc. is a provider of commercial dish washing chemicals and equipment, primarily to the restaurant industry. The company has developed a strong business model in which it provides its customers full service offerings including leasing dish washing equipment, supplying chemicals and servicing equipment in a very timely manner. The company has had a strong track record of success in Canada operating out of the Greater Toronto Area for over 40 years.

The company’s leadership had long recognized the U.S. as a prime market for opportunity, but with no clear path and a business to run Jim and his team had not undertaken the first steps toward this expansion. That’s where BNE came in. In a short period of time, we set up a slew of cross-border due diligence meetings and walked the company through the process. The company utilized its own connections to identify suitable warehouse/office space and moved to lease it, taking occupancy on May 1. With BNE’s assistance, the company was able to successfully establish its first U.S. location in less than two months. Magic White plans to create 11 jobs and invest approximately $120,000 over its first three years.

magic white van

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

Four New Life Science Startups will Call Buffalo Home

43North Pitch and Awards Ceremony at Shea's Performing Arts Center on October 28, 2015

43North Pitch and Awards Ceremony at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on October 29, 2015

The world’s largest business idea competition, 43North 2015, culminated last month with 11 winning companies who will now call Buffalo their home. Four of those companies will add to Buffalo’s burgeoning Life Sciences sector. With the growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, it’s clear why so many biotech and medical device companies are looking to Buffalo Niagara as a great region to grow their company. These startups are among good company as seen in this year’s featured video: We Make Buffalo.

Each company must establish an operation in the Buffalo area for at least 12 months. They will also receive free incubator space, guidance from mentors related to their field and access to other exciting incentive programs such as START-UP NY. One of the winners is Cyto Cybernetics, which is a spinoff from the University at Buffalo, founded by two extraordinary faculty members.

Take a look at the newest members of Buffalo’s life sciences community who impressed the panel of All-Star Judges enough to earn them $500,000 each!:

CleanSlate

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The CleanSlate UV system is a tabletop rapid device sanitizer for improved infection control. It sanitizes smartphones, tablets, glucometers, thermometers and a range of other portable electronics using UV light. Using RFID tags, the CleanSlate provides infection control staff with accurate compliance data on device sanitization reports.

Cytocybernetics

Hometown: North Tonawanda, NY

Cytocybernetics has developed novel technology to improve drug safety screening. It will ensure that new drugs brought to market do not cause cardiac arrhythmias as a side effect. This technology will increase the speed and reliability with which Pharmaceutical companies can navigate the FDA approval process for all new drugs.

DDG

Hometown: Boston, MA

DDG is focused on screening, tracking, and diagnosing highly infectious diseases that benefit from ultra-low cost and rapid early-stage diagnosis, potentially saving millions. Our platform technology has yielded portable and reusable devices capable of quantitatively assessing diseases from a drop of blood, in a minute, at ultra-low costs.

Voiceitt

Hometown: Jerusalem, Israel

Their service, Talkitt, aims to revolutionize the way people who have speech disabilities due to various motor, speech and language disabilities communicate, enabling them to use the most natural means there is, their own voice.

 by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

Can Buffalo Startups Stay in Buffalo?

TROVE Predictive Data Science

TROVE Predictive Data Science

Buffalo business leaders are backing their community; some are developing venture capital firms to back scalable companies in Western New York and others are supporting seed-stage investment funds. But acquiring capital is a big hurdle nearly all startup face. Can startups in Buffalo secure outside funding and maintain their location in Buffalo? As the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Buffalo receives more attention and build-out, the question is becoming even more salient.

A recent case study can be found with TROVE Predictive Data Science. TROVE was spun out of not-for-profit CUBRC, a leading Research, Development, Testing and Systems Integration company located in the Buffalo Niagara region, which had developed a novel technology in the field of data fusion. As a young startup, the core team of (now former) CUBRC employees was focused on bringing their new technology to market and securing the capital to do so.

That capital ended up coming from two key corporate partners, significant players in TROVE’s primary industry vertical. Both of these partners were located on the West Coast and were initially convinced that the company’s development and growth should take place in their own backyard.

BNE staff worked directly with the TROVE leadership, putting forth a strong, data-driven argument as to why the Buffalo Niagara region is the ideal location for TROVE to grow. BNE provided an extensive data package, comparing the Buffalo region to that of Spokane on a series of levels, particularly focusing on the abundance of talent coming out of the region’s multitude of colleges & universities. Additionally, BNE coordinated the incentives process, culminating in an offer from Empire State Development of up to $600,000 in fully refundable tax credits.

When presented with this compelling information, the new investor team fully bought into the idea that TROVE’s technical team can and should be built out in Buffalo. This model can be repeated.

Trove staff

As we saw in late September when Steve Case and his Rise of the Rest tour came through Buffalo, there are some investors that fundamentally believe that their portfolio companies can and should succeed where they are best positioned, regardless of proximity to the fund. So often a situation like this means the demise of the local workforce and its economic spinoff, but we were able to secure the project in Buffalo, providing opportunities for nearly 40 highly skilled future employees in an exciting new field.

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

MEDTECH 2015 Comes to Buffalo, NY this Fall

The largest gathering of executives and senior leaders of New York State’s bioscience and medical technology industry converge in Buffalo this coming October. MEDTECH 2015 comes to the brand new HARBORCENTER at the heart of Buffalo’s burgeoning Canalside district on October 14-15 for two days of top-level networking, keynote speakers, panels, workshops and exhibitors.

I have attended MEDTECH for several years and have found no better forum for networking with and learning from the leaders of this exciting and important industry. Each year, I look forward to reconnecting with colleagues and meeting new ones from across the State, hearing about their latest technologies, how new policies and programs are affecting the industry, and making connections that prove valuable in many ways.

This year’s edition of MEDTECH, titled Convergence: Building Momentum for Growth, is aptly named as it comes to the Queen City at a time of growth and momentum not seen in more than half a century. I am so excited for the State’s BIO/MED community to come see firsthand the evolution Buffalo is undergoing. Please join me in October.

Save 10% off non-member rate with code: CONVERGE10. Earlybird registration ends Sept. 11th. Register early and save $75.

See agenda and speakers at http://medtech.org/events/medtech2015

By Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

OmniSeq LLC: A Unique Approach to Personalized Medicine

Dr. Carl Morrison in Roswell Park Center for Personalized Medicine

Dr. Carl Morrison in Roswell Park Center for Personalized Medicine

By Alan Rosenhoch, Featuring Carl Morrison, MD, DVM

Dr. Carl Morrison is founder, president and chief scientific officer of OmniSeq LLC – a recent Roswell Park Cancer Institute spinoff genomics firm. At Roswell Park, Dr. Morrison continues in his roles as Executive Director of the Center for Personalized Medicine, Clinical Chief of the Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Department, Director of the Molecular Pathology Division, Director of the Pathology Resource Network and Professor of Oncology.

I recently had the opportunity to ask Dr. Morrison a few questions:

Q: What is personalized medicine, and how do you see it changing the way we approach the prevention and treatment of disease?

A: Personalized medicine is the understanding of a patient’s individual genetic profile and using that information to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. In some diseases, such as cancer, this information is already helping us understand what happened in a cell to cause the cancer and what treatment will give the patient the best chance of a positive outcome with the fewest possible side effects. The potential this approach has in cancer and other diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, is endless.

Q: How specifically does OmniSeq’s technology play in the personalized medicine space?

A: For patients diagnosed with certain types of cancer, OmniSeq Precision Medicine Technology unlocks genetic information in the tumor and then matches this information to specific drugs or clinical trials that will best help that particular patient. We’re able to learn about their particular cancer so we know not only which therapies are most likely to be effective, but which ones are not likely to work. That can save precious time for cancer patients, and it cuts down on wasted resources too.

Q: Many nationally recognized cancer institutes across the US are taking advantage of personalized-medicine approaches to fight cancer; what sets Roswell & OmniSeq apart?

A: There are two key elements that distinguish our approach. For one thing, we focused exclusively on testing those genes that are linked to a targeted therapy. OmniSeq testing won’t give oncologists pages and pages of sequencing results they can’t do anything with; it will analyze and report on only those genetic abnormalities that we can match up with a targeted therapy. It’s the only test in the U.S. to be focused exclusively on actionable information. And the other thing that’s unique about OmniSeq is that we use a dual sequencing platform that uses the two primary sequencing approaches in use today to generate reports. That gives us much greater accuracy and sensitivity in our analyses.

 Q: What were the largest hurdles you encountered on the road towards commercialization and how were they overcome?

A: There were many hurdles that we had to clear to bring this groundbreaking technology to patients. One of the most significant was ensuring that the technology design and test validation met New York State Clinical Evaluation Program (CLEP) standards – generally accepted as the most exacting standards for diagnostic testing in the nation. Due to the support of Roswell Park and their commitment to the RPCI Center for Personalized Medicine, we built a test that achieved NY CLEP approval in July 2014. This milestone put our company on an accelerated trajectory to commercialization.

 Q: What are the next steps in OmniSeq LLC’s development?

A: OmniSeq’s commitment is to bring new hope to patients battling cancer — patients in Western New York and across the United States. We have a team of 21 people today and are aggressively expanding the size of our team to accomplish this objective. The next steps will be expanding OmniSeq testing for patients with colorectal cancer, melanoma, and gradually to all cancers, as new genetic targets are identified and additional targeted therapies developed.

Q: What do you think are Buffalo Niagara’s greatest strengths & assets as they relate to the life sciences industry?

A: We’ve got some outstanding medical research going on at Roswell Park and the University at Buffalo. I love getting together with my colleagues and talking shop – I hear some of the most creative ideas about how to tackle clinical problems, how to get around the survival mechanisms that make a disease like cancer so hard to treat. It helps me stay hopeful about the progress we’ve made. And it’s great to see the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus expand with new spinoff companies and niche biotech firms to help us do what we do.

Q: What brought you to the Buffalo Niagara region?

A: I came to Western New York 8 years ago because of Roswell Park, one of the premier centers for cancer treatment, research and education in the country. That’s what brought me here. What’s kept me and my family here is good schools and great quality of life, fun activities for our kids. I’m originally from Kentucky, and my family lives on a farm in Chautauqua County. I need my solitude and that connection with animals and the natural world, so I wouldn’t trade living there for anything.

My life works in Buffalo Niagara because in my time here I’ve had the opportunity to build a Center for Personalized Medicine from the ground up and see it bridge out into a spinoff company with enormous potential and enormous opportunity to improve the lives of cancer patients. And my family is happy and thriving here. – Dr. Carl Morrison

 

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Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), America’s first cancer center, is dedicated to understanding, preventing and curing cancer. Founded in 1898 by Dr. Roswell Park, the Institute is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named by the National Cancer Institute as a comprehensive cancer center.

Healthcare Software Start-Up Launches in Buffalo Niagara

Dr. Steven Buslovich, founder, Patient Pattern and Margaret Sayers, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner at capacity of UB’s Center for Computational Research (CCR)

Dr. Steven Buslovich, founder, Patient Pattern and Margaret Sayers, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner at U.B.’s Center for Computational Research (CCR)

The growing complexity in navigating the health care system, particularly for elderly patients, is compounded by the lack of specialists in the industry to diagnose and assess geriatric needs.  Buffalo, NY will be home to a new company, Patient Pattern that will address this issue.  Patient Pattern has developed a web-based application giving doctors, home health care providers, health care advocates, family members, and in some cases even the patients themselves, a platform to develop highly customized and comprehensive care plans, ultimately resulting in greater control and optimal outcomes.  Patient Pattern provides their services to local care management companies, post-acute care programs, hospitals and home care agencies to help them understand how to best care for their complex patients.

Patients, with input from medical professionals and caregivers, undertake a validated assessment through a smart survey, which learns from each response and tailors subsequent questions based upon those responses. The end product is a Comprehensive Care Plan that summarizes the current situation, tracks progress or decline and delivers recommendations along the way to improve decision-making and preparedness.

Patient Pattern was originally founded in western Connecticut and operated virtually as it refined and developed its software.  As the company considered locations for launching the product, they were attracted by the Start-Up NY Program and the potential to align with the University at Buffalo.

Buffalo Niagara Enterprise supported Patient Pattern in its relocation to the region by introducing the company to Start-Up NY and other potential incentive programs, and also by assisting with site selection and facilitating introductions to potential local partners in the healthcare sector.

Patient Pattern will hire 20 people and invest $355,000 at its new location in the University at Buffalo’s Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS) on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The high-level computational capacity of U.B.’s Center for Computational Research (CCR), as well as opportunities to collaborate with the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences for clinical trials, were key factors driving Patient Pattern’s desire to partner with U.B.

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

Three Ways Buffalo, NY Impresses Brazil-based Start-up

Joox

As one of the most rewarding parts of my job, I play host to companies when they visit Buffalo Niagara undertaking due diligence in their site selection process.

Recently, four representatives from Joox, a Brazil-based technology startup, spent six days in the region as they prepare to establish their first US location. The group shared with me their thoughts on the Buffalo Niagara region:

Impressive start-up community – on the day the team arrived, the University at Buffalo (UB) hosted its Commercialization Lecture Series, featuring a panel of seven companies that have found success through New York State’s Start-Up NY tax incentive program. The program offers companies significant tax benefits, but also the opportunity to partner with academic institutions. Joox is approved for Start-Up and this panel provided ideas and insight for their collaboration with UB. Over their weekend stay, the group attended – and presented at – Buffalo Unconference, a gathering for people to share and learn in an open environment. Unconference gave the Joox team another look into the flourishing start-up community that calls Buffalo home. They expressed how excited they are to become members of this burgeoning community.

Welcoming business community – as a primary part of their visit, the Joox team met with nearly a dozen companies in the Buffalo area to explore potential partnerships and collaborations. The team was thrilled by the high caliber of private sector companies, and also with how excited each company was to represent not only themselves, but the talent, expertise and creativity of the region. The Joox team commented on the discernible pride that each of these individuals showed in their community.

Great place to live – Whether showing the livable, walk-able community that is the Elmwood Village, bustling with great restaurants and retail, or experiencing the power of Niagara Falls for the first time, there is nothing more rewarding than hosting people in our region, especially when they come from different parts of the world. Two of the company employees are moving from Brazil to Buffalo and bringing their families. They had a chance to tour neighborhoods, enjoy local fare, and experience the spectacular sites and attractions they can enjoy when they move here.

Buffalo was one of four stops on the Joox’s team’s trip across the US. Here is what one of the team members emailed after their visit:

We are in San Francisco right now, we´ll be heading back to Brazil Tuesday afternoon. We had some really good meetings here and in other cities, but nothing compared to what we´ve achieved in Buffalo. I am happy to see that Buffalo offers the best options for the partnerships that we need for this beginning. Buffalo, in many ways, is the best city I have visited in the US so far (and I have been to at least 10 great ones).

All indications are that they will be setting up their office here in the Buffalo Niagara region sometime this year. Their time spent here was productive and welcoming thanks to our supportive start-up and business community.

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

START-UP NY Creating Jobs and Investment in Buffalo Niagara

Click to learn more about Buffalo Niagara's START-UP NY approved academic institutions

Click to learn more about Buffalo Niagara’s START-UP NY approved academic institutions

START-UP NY continues to thrive in the Buffalo Niagara region, as more colleges and universities formalize their campus plans and open doors to collaborating companies.  The brainchild of Governor Andrew Cuomo, START-UP NY was launched in January 2014 and has approved 83 companies statewide (as of March 17, 2015).

The clear leader across the state has been the University at Buffalo (UB), which can claim 37 of those 83 companies as its own, accounting for 1,452 jobs pledged and $45,122,422 in investment planned. But UB is not the only player in the region, as several more academic institutions are now participating. Nine additional institutions, both public and private schools, have had their plans approved and are ready to work with companies interested in partnering.  Buffalo’s Canisius College received its first company approval: Simply Natural Clothing.   This business, which makes clothing using organic materials, has located at the college’s Women’s Business Center, pledging to create 16 new jobs and invest more than $1 million.

Most recently, Niagara University and Villa Maria College had their respective plans approved.  Niagara offers a 22-acre plot of land that could be developed for the right collaborating company as well as flexible office space on campus. Villa Maria has designated over 2,300 square feet of space on its campus located on the border of Buffalo’s East Side and Cheektowaga.

“This is the beginning of a great opportunity not only for the college, but for our students and the surrounding community to receive additional investment from businesses,” said Dr. Ryan Hartnett,
Villa Maria’s assistant vice president of academic affairs.

BNE works with companies interested in expanding, relocating or starting up in the Buffalo Niagara region, offering expertise in programs like START-UP NY and all aspects of doing business in the western region of New York State.

Here is a list of all ten institutions that are approved in the eight-county region of Buffalo Niagara, with links to their respective campus plans, which include their designated space as well as their target industries:

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

New York State’s Newest Early Stage Capital Fund

Accessing capital at the early stages of a company’s evolution can mean the difference between success and failure in bridging the so-called valley of death. A brand new fund is aiming to make the Empire State more attractive to such companies. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, the New York State Innovation Venture Capital (NYSIVC) Fund has been formally launched, making $50 million of much-needed capital available to NYS companies.

The Fund is intended to make both pre-seed investments of up to $100,000, as well as seed and early-stage investments of $100,000 up to $5,000,000. All investments require at least a 1:1 match from private sources. Administered by Empire State Development (ESD), the fund will be managed by Brian Keil, a highly experienced venture fund manager, previously with Neilson Audio, as well as managing a $250 million fund sponsored by NBC Universal and GE Capital.

In addition NYSIVC, the Innovate NY Fund  (launched in 2012) continues to make early stage investments, giving companies even more options when seeking capital. A key difference between the two funds is the new NYSIVC will be administered directly by ESD, whereas the Innovate NY Fund is administered by several private designees across the State.

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager