Rep Your City in this Startup Throw Down

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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

Buffalo Niagara: Looking Back at 2015

Buffalo Niagara is a region on the rise. We are enjoying incredible new venues and amenities at locations like Canalside and Larkinville and Business First recently reported that Buffalo Niagara is the hottest construction market in the northeast according to latest employment figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Buffalo, is up 28.6% from 21,000 construction jobs in October 2010 to 27,000 jobs in October 2015.

For those stuck on the adage, you must see it to believe it, we certainly invite you to visit and see all we have to offer. But this year we’ve had the good fortune to have our region’s momentum and efforts recognized in leading publications. Here is a look back at just some of the national press received in 2015:

Millennials Are Moving To Buffalo & Living Like Kings   |  gothamist, January 28, 2015

“If moving to New York City is like dating the most popular kid in your high school only to discover ‘all the blemishes that aren’t visible when gazed upon from a distance,’ then Buffalonians will tell you that moving to their city is like dating the girl next door who’s undergoing a She’s All That-style transformation.”

“Starting a business, like paying rent or buying a drink is also less daunting in Buffalo.

 

Elon Musk’s Boldest Bet Yet: Buffalo NY, Solar Hub  |  YAHOO! Finance, June 29, 2015

“Henry Ford had River Rouge; Musk and SolarCity have a Buffalo solar panel manufacturing plant named Riverbend.”

“SolarCity’s plant is part of a construction push in the Nickel City unlike any in memory . . .”

 

Entrepreneurial Spirit Is Driving Buffalo Forward  |  The Huffington Post, June 11, 2015

“Buffalo is channeling its legacy of hard work – dating back to its heyday as a turn-of-the-twentieth-century giant – into a new push for entrepreneurial progress.”

“This concept of exacting change through entrepreneurism is what’s driving Buffalo forward. It’s a bold venture for a city to bet on bright ideas and put them into action. But it’s a critical step, with potentially high reward, in restoring the brightness to America’s City of Light.”

“A number of factors including [Buffalo’s] access to an international border, a strong labor force, and low operations cost are gaining attention.”

 

The Wind and Sun Are Bringing the Shine Back to Buffalo  |  The New York Times, July 20, 2015

“…the Queen City of the Lakes is suddenly experiencing something new: an economic turnaround, helped by the unlikely sector of renewable energy.”

“The effort has capitalized on the city’s unusual strengths in renewable energy — think Niagara Falls — and the infrastructure that was built to harness it.”

“One result of the investments is newly vibrant neighborhoods, many with reused buildings hosting apartments, shops and restaurants that have attracted young workers from other cities.”

 

Buffalo’s Tech Scene Reboots the City  |  USA TODAY, August 23, 2015

“…this western New York city of 261,000 is slowly transforming into an attractive destination for tech entrepreneurs.”

“…reasonable real estate prices, a thriving university system and medical research facility pumping out talented graduates, and its proximity to New York and Toronto to draw young entrepreneurs.”

“…the city of “Good Neighbors” is shedding its decades-old image, and in the process is drawing comparisons to Austin on steroids, brimming with funky culture and Art Deco architecture that can leave visitors slack jawed.”

 

Why Buffalo is Rising (Again), and Why It’s Only the Start |  Huffington Post, September 19, 2015

“The local economy’s current turnaround is happening because people of all ages, backgrounds, experiences, and areas of influence — sole proprietors and CEOs, state and local officials, artists and academics, economists and environmentalists — have come together to make it work.”

“…the greatest melding of vision, strategy, creativity, and cooperation that this city’s ever known…”

2015 was a good year for Buffalo Niagara but we are even more excited for what is to come. As Steve Case discussed when he visited during the Rise of the Rest Tour, now is the time to double down – and we are taking that challenge to heart.

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Director, Marketing

Buffalo Niagara Saves Travelers Time and Money

As Thanksgiving approaches in Western New York the temperatures drop outside, but the warm feeling of celebrating with loved ones can tame even the coldest breeze off Lake Erie.  There are many things for which to be thankful this holiday season: family, friends, community, Buffalo Niagara’s local economic resurgence, and Jack Eichel are tops on this author’s list.

Visitors to Buffalo Niagara – whether they be expats returning home or first-timers making their maiden trip – can also be thankful for the relative ease and cost-effectiveness in arriving in Buffalo Niagara.  Nearly 5 million passengers traverse the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BNIA) annually and those travelers enjoy air fares that are among the lowest in the nation.  At $190.80, the average market round-trip fare in Buffalo ranks 10th least expensive of the nation’s largest 70 metro areas according to the US Department of Transportation’s Domestic Airline Consumer Airfare Report.

Plus, the relative ease of getting around the region is apparent (and appreciated).  The “20-Minute City” moniker is no joke as commuters spend a mere 21.3 minutes during the average journey to work.  Once visitors touch down at BNIA, it does not take them very long to get to their true final destination; chances are it won’t take much longer than the 1st Intermission.

Thanks in part to inexpensive air fares and quick commutes, visitors to Buffalo Niagara are able spend quality time with friends and family during Thanksgiving, as opposed to staying at home or being stuck in traffic, something for which to truly be thankful.

by Matt Hubacher, Research 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

Hey Buffalo Niagara, Opportunity Knocks…

Do you have a dynamite business idea? Do you want to be part of the new Buffalo momentum?  Check out these incredible opportunities that reflect the changing tide and join the growing community of entrepreneurs who are living their dreams, contributing to the region’s renaissance and growing jobs in Buffalo Niagara.

Applications are open for not one but TWO amazing investment opportunities:

RISE OF THE REST TOUR

During the nationwide “Rise of the Rest” tour, Steve Case — cofounder of AOL and CEO of Revolution — will visit Buffalo to discuss the importance of startups to the city and invest $100,000 in a local startup during a pitch competition.  Case will also host a happy hour celebration for supporters of the startup community.

If you are interested in pitching your startup to win the $100,000 investment from legendary entrepreneur Steve Case on September 30th, start your application today.

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Get busy!  The application deadline is Sunday 9/13 at 11.59pm EST.

For further details and to start your application visit: https://www.f6s.com/riseofrest/apply

To learn more here is a recent Buffalo News piece on Rise of the Rest, and here is a blogpost from Steve Case announcing the upcoming tour.

BRIGHT BUFFALO NIAGARA

University at Buffalo will host the Seventh Annual Bright Buffalo Niagara Entrepreneur Expo on October 28, providing business owners the opportunity to present live pitches and make connections with venture capitalists at the entrepreneurial trade show. This dynamic forum, designed to increase exposure for startup businesses and develop valuable relationships, will feature Daymond John, founder and CEO of the FUBU (“For Us, By Us”) clothing line, and star of ABC’s business reality show “Shark Tank.”

If you are interested in pitching your startup to venture capitalists at Bright Buffalo Niagara, start your application today.

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You can apply here: http://www.brightbuffaloniagara.com/

The application deadline is Friday 8/14 at 11.59pm EST.

But these events aren’t for startups only. You can support the growing startup community by registering to attend the Rise of the Rest pitch competition and cheer eight startup finalists as they compete for the $100,000 in prize money.  Come see why and how entrepreneurs and the startup community are vital to the success and future of our region.

And if that’s not enough excitement, we hope to see you October 29 when 43North Finalists pitch for $5 million in prizes! 43North is part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative and operates through the support of the New York Power Authority.

By Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

Buffalo Niagara Real Estate Primer for Canadians – Part 2

Following up to Buffalo Niagara Real Estate Primer for Canadian Companies – part I, below are additional frequently asked questions:

Q1: Can we reduce our ‘real estate costs’ by expanding into a less costly market, without jeopardizing our profits or business model?

A1: For many companies it is a resounding yes.

Average net asking sale price ($/sf) industrial real estate:

  • Toronto GTA (Greater Toronto Area) : $113.57 psf. *
  • Buffalo/ Erie County: $36.60 psf. ** = savings of approx.   68% per square foot.

Average land cost for fully serviced industrial land:

  • Toronto GTA: approximately $597,000/acre*
  • Buffalo/Erie County: approximately $45,000/acre = savings of approx. 92% per acre.

Q2: Can we potentially reduce not just our real estate costs but our ‘overall occupancy costs’ including but not limited to utility costs, real estate taxes, sales taxes, employee wages and costs, through available economic incentive programs?

A2:  Yes! In the United States and specifically in the Buffalo Niagara region companies of all different sizes can apply and potentially qualify for incentives programs to assist with utility costs, real estate taxes, sales taxes, employee wages and costs.  Most of these programs’ main criteria are based on the number of new jobs being created, the projects’ costs and plans, and the specific industry the company operates in.  Companies need to complete an application process and potentially compete for some of these programs.

by Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager

Buffalo’s New View

Recently, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise had the opportunity to tour the facility currently under construction at 250 Delaware Avenue courtesy of property owner Uniland Development Company.  High above the busy intersection of Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street, you can experience wonderful new views of the city thanks to the 12-story structure. The building will offer 330,000 square feet of the most modern and dynamic space for office, retail and hotel use. It also provides a five-level parking garage, including underground parking. 250 Delaware will serve as the new world headquarters for Fortune 500 company, Delaware North, Inc., which is scheduled to be the first tenant to occupy the building in the Fall. Enjoy the photos below featuring views both of and from Buffalo’s newest commercial development in the Central Business District.

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by Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

Benefits of a Foreign Trade Zone

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Do you import raw materials and goods from overseas?  Do you buy these goods in bulk and then resell them?  Do you add value to the imported components or raw material before they are sold again?  If you answered yes to any of the above, then a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) might save your company money and give it a competitive advantage.

The purpose of an FTZ is to stimulate international trade and create jobs and investment in the United States rather than abroad.  In the U.S., an FTZ is a defined geographic space that is next to or within a short commuting distance from an official U.S. port of entry.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervise the Zones, but do not run them.  The space is secured and operated as a public good under a license agreement with the U.S. federal government.  In foreign countries, FTZs are typically referred to as Free Trade Zones.  Both U.S. and foreign goods can be moved into a Zone for storage, exhibition, assembly, manufacturing and/or processing.

There are multiple benefits to using an FTZ, but each company must research which specific benefits would apply on a case-by-case basis.  In doing so, they must consider: 1) what is being imported; 2) the volume and frequency of the imports; 3) will the imported goods be changed into something else; 4) whether the final good will be exported or enter U.S. customs territory; 5) what is the normal duty rate, if any, of the imported good, etc.  Generally speaking, an FTZ will provide the most savings to a company that imports a high volume of goods, the goods are not typically duty-free, and many of the goods will ultimately be exported out of the U.S. to the end user. Continue reading

CFA One-Stop Access to $750M in State Funding

Consolidated Funding Applications (CFA) are due 4:00 pm on Friday, July 31st!

The signs of summer are in full affect in Western New York. The days are getting longer, the grass is getting greener (and longer), and the Consolidated Funding Application submission period is open!

As part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative, the Consolidated Funding Application has streamlined and expedited the grant application process by allowing interested parties to apply for over $750 million through 20 economic development assistance programs offered by state agencies and authorities.

The online CFA portal is now open to applicants across New York State.

Businesses, community organizations, not-for-profit groups and any other stakeholders interested in learning about the CFA process and accessing state economic development assistance are encouraged to attend one of the scheduled public workshops hosted by the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council.

The workshop schedule is as follows:

Monday, June 15th
1:30-4:00pm
Jamestown Community College – Cutco Theatre
260 North Union Street, Olean NY 14760
Register here

Monday, June 29th
1:30-4:00pm
Niagara Falls Conference Center – Cascades Ballroom
101 Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls NY 14303
Register here 

The workshops will include an overview of available funding programs, eligibility and selection criteria, and instructions on how to use the online CFA application systems.  Further, the 2015 CFA Resources Manual, the 2015 Regional Economic Development Council Guidebook and other important information can be found on the REDC website.

by Matt Hubacher, Research Manager

 

Growing by Takeoffs and Landings

As both an economic development professional and lifelong Buffalonian, watching the companies that I help establish a business in our region grow and succeed is incredibly exciting and rewarding. Each company that we assist is unique; some begin with a large scale operation while other companies start small and grow their business over time.

Headquartered in Kansas, Executive AirShare is fractional ownership aircraft company that began with regional hubs in the central U.S.  In 2009, they decided to establish a northeast location to expand their business and reach new markets.  A successful location needed to meet four major criteria:

  • Appropriate space for both corporate aviation services and back office operations
  • A potential customer base
  • Available workforce, including pilots
  • Available incentives to assist with first year expenses and startup costs

BNE assisted Executive AirShare with the coordination of potential incentives and helped facilitate discussions for runway services and leasing hanger space.  In 2010, the company leased 26,000 square feet of hanger and office space at 485 Cayuga Rd, Cheektowaga, NY.  BNE was then able to assist them with their marketing efforts for a grand opening event and the launch of their first northeast location.

Since October of 2010 Executive AirShare has refurbished an 8,300 square-foot private aviation terminal and 53,000 square-feet of hangar space, doubling the size of its operations at Buffalo in less than three years.  Much of the added hangar space is being used to support demand for jet aircraft management services for a growing list of Western New York-based companies. The Buffalo based aircraft now totals seven in the fractional and managed fleet, with one or two additional aircraft that rotate into Buffalo from central U.S. bases.  This facility operates with 17 full-time employees based in Buffalo and supported by additional flight crew from other locations as needed.

by Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager