Taking Buffalo Niagara’s Message Global

selectusa map Invest Buffalo Niagara’s efforts to target foreign direct investment opportunities continued full-throttle last week at SelectUSA’s 2016 Investment Summit in Washington, DC.

SelectUSA is a federal initiative tasked with facilitating foreign business investment opportunities and raising awareness of the role foreign direct investment plays in the overall domestic economy.  Foreign direct investment influence on the United States’ economy is massive; economists from the US Department of Commerce Office of Trade and Economic Analysis estimate that approximately 12 million jobs nation-wide are directly associated with foreign direct investment.  Locally, Invest Buffalo Niagara has assisted 58 foreign-owned companies establish operations in the region creating nearly 2,200 new jobs and investing approximately $798,000,000 since 2010.

The Investment Summit is SelectUSA’s marquee event promoting foreign direct investment in the United States. This year’s gathering welcomed over 2,400 participants from 70 countries. The Invest Buffalo Niagara team, President/CEO Tom Kucharski, Vice-Chair Douglas Dimitroff, and I, met with dozens of companies seeking to expand their businesses into the United States at the “New York State of Opportunity” booth facilitated by our partners at Empire State Development.

Additionally, Invest Buffalo Niagara’s business attraction efforts were discussed with New York State Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and The Buffalo News’ Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski.  Summit participants also heard from key federal officials, mostly notably President Barack Obama, and participated in breakout sessions, including “Welcome to the United States: Visas and Beyond” on which Invest Buffalo Niagara President/CEO Tom Kucharski was a panelist.

Our mission is to help grow our local economy and bring new jobs and capital investment to the region.  We will continue to work with foreign direct investment opportunities from around the world to help them expand their businesses into Western New York.

SelectUSA picture

by Matthew Hubacher, Research Manager

Top 3 Reasons Sentient Science Found Success in Buffalo

30 sec. video: Ed Wagner, Sentient’s Chief Digital Officer talks about their success in Buffalo, NY

30 sec. video: Ed Wagner, Sentient’s Chief Digital Officer talks about success in Buffalo, NY

In early 2013, Sentient Science, on the cusp of commercializing their technology that had been over 10 years in the making, decided to open its commercial headquarters in Buffalo. Since that time, the company has experienced remarkable growth and success.

Sentient’s core technology, called DigitalClone, is a material science-based computational testing software as a service (SaaS) that allows companies to dramatically increase product testing, leading to increased product life, reduced failures and information leading to superior mechanical components. The company has grown to approximately 60 employees today and are projecting to grow to over 90 in the near future, fueled not only by increased revenue (the company now has over 18,000 wind turbines under contract around the world), but a recent infusion of capital.

In early 2016, Sentient announced that it had raised $17 million in venture funding from California-based Toba Capital. “This investment will support accelerated growth through added sales, marketing and product investments, along with international expansion,” Sentient stated in a press release.

So what are the top three reasons Sentient has found such success in Buffalo? We recently chatted with Ed Wagner, Sentient’s Chief Digital Officer to find out:

  1. Partnership with UB: when Sentient began scouting possible locations for its HQ, the first criterion was finding a top tier university partner. What they found in their partnership with the University at Buffalo (UB) was even more. “UB allows us to run high performance computing applications on their servers; that means I don’t have to pay to have my own computing facility,” Wagner said. “It’s symbiotic: as we gain more money, we make investments in the university to have more computing infrastructure and resources.” But that’s not all. By collaborating with UB’s high caliber faculty on governmental contracts, Sentient’s bids are that much stronger and are facilitating even greater growth for the company.
  2. Highly talented workforce: in an industry where quality people means everything, Sentient has found the workforce in Buffalo to be top notch. “The quality of people that we have met here by tapping into the universities, not just the University at Buffalo, but the other universities, has been very advantageous for us.”
  3. Affordability: more and more companies are realizing the benefits provided by locating in an affordable region. Buffalo, which boasts a cost of living approximately 4.7% below the national average[1], is a leading example of how that can positively affect a company’s bottom line. “It’s very expensive to start a new company; we could have been in a garage in San Francisco, but instead we’re in an amazing facility here in Buffalo. And more importantly, we’re in a place where the employees that we’re hiring can buy a home. That’s very important to us because we want these people to be successful in starting their careers and in growing as individuals and families. So being here in Buffalo, we’ve been able to not only attract some very high quality talent, but we’ve been able to make sure they’re housed well and they have the things that they want, which are affordable here and not affordable in places like San Francisco or Boston.”

[1] Source: Council for Community & Economic Research; Cost of Living Index (Annual 2015)

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

Growing Business through US Expansion

Expanding business in the US: Nutrablend, Amdor, Welded Tube, Outfront Portable, Fichman Furniture

Nutrablend Foods, Amdor, Welded Tube, Outfront Portable Solutions, Fichman Furniture

Since 1999, Invest Buffalo Niagara (formerly Buffalo Niagara Enterprise) has worked to attract more than $4.4 billion in new business investment to the region. With 81 Canadian-based expansion projects during that time, significant investment has come from north of the border. There are many reasons for a Canadian company to expand into the US such as “Made in US” requirements, reaching a market 10 times the size of Canadian market, growing US sales, bridge delays, and raw materials coming from the US.

It just makes sense for Canadian business to consider the Buffalo Niagara region for their US operations. It’s proven that they can thrive here.  We have the right resources to help them succeed and being in close proximity to their headquarters is a significant benefit. Here are a few updates on companies that we helped navigate the economic development landscape in Buffalo Niagara to build their business:

Nutrablend Foods –  today with more than 150 employees working three shifts, and growing

Headquartered in Cambridge, ON, Nutrablend Foods is a leading manufacturer in the sports nutrition and nutraceutical industries.  They opened their first US manufacturing facility in Lancaster, NY in October 2009.  The company pledged to create 40 new jobs in the first five years and invest $1M in the building and equipment.  In 2014, the company was running two shifts daily and employed 134 people.  Today they have 150+ employees operating on three shifts and are looking to expand their presence in Buffalo Niagara.

Welded Tube – today with 70 employees operating two shifts

Welded Tube of Canada is headquartered in Concord, ON and in October 2012 they announced their newest US location to be built and located in Lackawanna NY.  Welded Tube USA is a leading manufacturer of cold formed tubing products.  In 2012 the company pledged to create 121 new jobs and invest $48,250,000 into this new facility.  Today, the company remains strong as the oil and gas industry and prices fluctuate.  Currently they have 70 employees and are operating two shifts.

Fichman Furniture – adding new equipment and expanding sales

Fichman Furniture manufactures custom made wooden radiator covers.  The business started in Scarborough, ON and in June 2012 they purchased their first US industrial building on Main St, in Holland NY.  With the new building the company pledged to create 15 new jobs over 5 years and invest $3M into the new facility.  Today the company has 6 employees, has invested another $225k in new equipment and installation and now has sales over $1.25M.

Amdor – expanding their facility, in order to expand their business

Amdor, a division of Whiting Group, specializes in the design and manufacturing of roll-up shutter style doors for emergency and other specialty vehicles.  In July 2014 the company purchased a 21k sq. ft. building on 8 acres in Lancaster, NY.  They have invested more than $5 million in this location to complete a 10k sq. ft. expansion and install specialized equipment.  Today the company has 9 employees working onsite but expect to grow to 28 employees over the next 5 years.

Outfront Portable Solutions – adding new employees and new niche markets

Headquartered in Beamsville, ON, Outfront Portable Solutions, investigated US business expanding during 2010.  They provide retail display solutions to garden centers, grocery chains and mass merchandise stores across North America.  In 2012, the company purchased an existing Buffalo-based business which included a 50k sq. ft. metal fabrication facility and 8 employees.  Today, Outfront Custom Built is their US company and has grown to 37 employees in Buffalo.  The new operations manufacture custom build food trucks, salad bars and food buffets, and are a tier 3 auto supplier.

Avanti Advance Manufacturing – seeking 2nd facility to accommodate growth

Victory Manufacturing is an injection molding company based in Waterloo, Ontario.  The company’s first US operation, Avanti Advanced, opened at 201 Dutton Ave in Buffalo in December 2011.  The company specializes in customized injection molding projects with the capability to go from concept to prototype to end product with significant speed.  In 2011, the company pledged to create 15 new jobs over 5 years and invest $400k in their new facility.  By 2014, the company employed 6 people and was looking to add 3 more.  Today the company has purchased and installed additional equipment based on new contracts and customers and is investigating a larger manufacturing building to accommodate their expanding business.

For more information on this topic and business expansion, contact Invest Buffalo Niagara.  Carolyn Powell – 716-842-1357 x104 – cpowell@buffaloniagara.orgwww.buffaloniagara.org and http://www.buffaloniagara.org/Doing_Business/Canadian

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

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

Allegany County: Connecting Agriculture and Industry

Land for future development along the I-86

Land for future development along the I-86

In November, members of BNE’s team had the opportunity to tour the many aspects of Allegany County to visit firsthand the resources and assets it has to offer.  Hosted by Allegany County’s Department of Planning and Development, we met with leaders from the county’s Chamber of Commerce, real estate owners and brokers and college officials.

A stop during our tour was Alfred University, home to the Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology, a leader in ceramics engineering and R&D.  The BNE team toured Incubator Works, a resource for business start-ups that need manufacturing and lab space while their product goes through the commercialization process.

The county also has the advantage of being home to Alfred State College, one of the most advanced technical colleges in the nation.  A drive through its Wellsville Campus highlighted the academic programs in the trades that the school has to offer and the hands-on work experienced by the students.

Other visits during our tour were a number of available real estate options, with some properties in proximity to the Wellsville Airport.  Other notable stops on our tour include the Beef Haus Restaurant, a Wellsville landmark and Northern Lights Candle, an employer of more than 200 people and a supplier of candles to major retailers nationwide.

In the end, BNE left the visit with a better understanding of the real estate options, academic resources and infrastructure assets that are available in the county.  Most importantly, it gave us a renewed connection with our partners and the knowledge to help businesses grow and expand there.

Constuction of the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing Center at Alfred State College

Constuction of the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing Center at Alfred State College

Lufkin manufacturing facility located in Wellsville, NY

Lufkin manufacturing facility located in Wellsville, NY

by Lorrie Abounader, Business Development Manager

Development Opportunities in Buffalo Niagara

DTDev-thumbs

Buffalo is a City on the Rise. The growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and significant development projects such as SolarCity and IBM are driving demand for new amenities and residential living.

Buffalo will add over 12,000 new employees by 2018, the vast majority of whom will locate downtown. The Central Business District’s 97% occupancy rate is driving Mayor Byron Brown’s goal of completing 2,000 residential housing units in the downtown area during this time frame. Close proximity to major employers, access to public transit, a vibrant restaurant scene and many entertainment offerings make downtown an attractive housing option.

To view development opportunities – including over 20 unique parcels ready for redevelopment – please see the 2016 Downtown Development Guide.

Sponsored by National Grid, the guide is the result of a collaborative partnership between Mayor Byron Brown, Chairman of the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, CBRE Buffalo, and Buffalo Place.

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Director Marketing & Communications

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

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

Buffalo Niagara by the Numbers

EconGuideCover

Site selectors and corporate real estate executives look to match business with locations that meet specific project criteria. Communities need to have comprehensive and accurate data readily available to respond to such opportunities.

We developed the Buffalo Niagara Economic Guide to provide a snapshot of our region and feature some of the data most frequently requested by companies locating investment projects including:  major employers, new companies, average salary by occupation, average cost of sites, infrastructure, education, quality of life and more.

Click here to download the 2015 Buffalo Niagara Economic Guide

Click here to generate demographic reports on the Buffalo Niagara Commercial Listing System

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director