Top 10 tech startups blooming in Buffalo
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Photo courtesy: Visit Buffalo Niagara

It’s New York but not THAT city in New York, way off to the west but still with startups funded in the eight and nine figure range

 

Buffalo New York is almost Canada, which you can see across the Niagara River (Niagara Falls is just a few miles to the north). That’s the river that links Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, and marks the boundary between the US and Canada. Yes, Buffalo Wings were invented here in then Anchor Bar.

Perhaps the famous civility of Canadians rubbed off on the Buffalonians, because they work together well in startups. Multiple industries support innovation, as does the 43North organization that sponsors prizes of up to $1 million for new startups in the area.

Believe it or not, Buffalo with about 260,000 residents is the second largest city in New York, but a distant second to New York City in population. The Erie Canal helped Buffalo grow thanks to shipping in the 1800s. Steel and automobile factories moved away in the mid-20th century, but financial services, technology, and biomedical engineering have risen to replace those jobs and added many more.

Athenex Inc.

Photo courtesy: Athenex

 

Extended life spans are wonderful, but that gives cancer more time to catch up to us. Athenex is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and providing new therapies to treat cancer.

Starting under the radar in 2004, the first funding for Athenex came in February of 2010 for just over $4 million. Three placements in 2011, 2012, and 2013 added nearly $10 million more. That money must have been put to good use, because two private equity placements, $40 million in May 2014 and $48.1 million in May 2015 brought their funding total to $102.15 million.

Synacor

Photo courtesy: Synacor

No user has enough bandwidth and no provider has enough content, portals, and marketing hooks to get enough other users. That’s where Synacor comes in, with their online content, portal, and comprehensive front-ends that enable telecommunications companies to find, nurture, sell, and support more users every day.

Starting fairly early in the portal content delivery business, in 2001, Synacor got a confidence boost in the spring of 2003 with a total of $10 million in two separate funding rounds. Seven investors jumped in during the October 2006 round of $17 million. That plus two rounds in 2004 adds up to a total of $33.46 million.

Liazon

Photo courtesy: Liazon

Do you have good healthcare benefits? If so, it may be because your company participates in a private benefit exchange run by Liazon. Working the over 150 carriers, including 60 medical carriers, Liazon provides clients thousands of plans across the country.

Founded in 2007, Liazon received their initial funding round in April 2011, when four investor groups dropped $12.6 million onto the table. Another four investors did a similar Series D round in April 2012 for another $18.2 million for a total of $30.8 million.

ACV Auctions

Photo courtesy: ACV

Americans love cars, or at least we love buying new ones with that lovely “new car” smell. But what about cars with an “old car” smell? That’s where ACV Auctions comes in: they leverage various mobile technologies to provide new B2B solutions displaying live mobile auctions for new and used car dealers.

ACV had their new company smell back in 2014, and in April 2015 received $600k in venture funding. Two rounds in 2015 and 2016 added $6 million. The big sale was a fully-loaded, including floor mats, Series B round in March of 2017 for $15 million. Seems the only thing people love more than their cars is their smartphones, and ACV mashed the two together for a total of $21.6 million in funding.

Sentient Science

Photo courtesy: Sentient Science

Buffalo has a proud manufacturing history providing services of all kinds for much of New York State. Turning Buffalo’s rust belt reputation upside down, Sentient Science uses software to model the microstructure of critical components in physical devices to predict and therefore avoid failure. Examples include wind turbines and engine and transmission components of fleet vehicles.

Starting their product development back in 2001, Sentient Science suffered from their non-glamorous market and went it alone until a grant for $499.3k was given in October 2011. Another grant of almost a million followed 18 months later, and then the venture groups noticed them. In January 2016 they received $17 million in venture funding, followed by a $199.l96k grant a month later.

PostProcess Technologies

Photo courtesy: PostProcess

Don’t let the hype surrounding 3D Printing fool you – the proper term is actually “Additive Manufacturing” and making things makes a mess that must be cleaned. In the case of printed parts, supports, frames, and rough edges must be eliminated. That’s where PostProcess Technologies comes in to clean up with their special proprietary software and patent-pending machines.

Founded in 2012, the company bagged $4 million in seed investment from New York Ventures, Rand Capital, and Richmond Capital Partners in April, 2017. Those are serious business investors, which gives PostProcess some extra credibility. Add in the $90,000 grant from the New York Power Authority earlier in 2017 and you can see the trend line heading upwards.

Decision Pace

Photo courtesy: DecisionPace

Big Data, number crunching, business intelligence and other analysis tools are great, but miss a critical feature: visuals. Charts are one thing, but explanatory graphics that inform while being easy to develop sell the information in ways spreadsheets never can. Add in easier access and lower cost via the cloud, and you have Decision Pace.

The company started back in 2009 because the founders, Alan Lash and Jay Moeller, saw the developing world of Big Data lacked easy visualization tools. Their strategic vision earned them $1 million in seed money in June of 2013, and another $300k venture round in August 2014.

OnCore Golf Technology

Photo courtesy: OnCore

Golfers are almost a complete subset of high-income individuals, so anything that catches the golf world’s attention can hit it big (pun intended). And hitting bid describes OnCore Golf Technology and their two new balls, the Avant and Caliber.

Started in March of 2009 (just before golf season), OnCore Golf Technology received equity crowdfunding of an undisclosed amount in September 2012 (just about the end of golf season in Buffalo). Two years later another $140k rolled into the cup, and they hit a birdie in March 2015 with $2 million in Series A funding.

Empire Genomics

Photo courtesy: EmpireGenomics

Buffalo’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute was the breeding ground for Empire Genomics, which got its start in 2006. Focused on genome-wide analysis to determine the underlying mechanisms of diseases, a focus on molecular diagnostic services for various cancers has pushed them to the forefront.

Serious research and lab results garnered their first investment of $1 million in July of 2014 from Rand Capital and Z80 Labs Technology Incubator. BroadOak Capital Partners jumped in with another $1.75 million in May of 2016.

ENrG Incorporated

Photo courtesy: ENrG

Everyone wants clean energy but the details can be tricky. That’s where ENrG comes in with their focus on research into critical ceramic components for such devices as fuel cells, gas separation membranes, thermal management components, and advanced ceramic batteries. You won’t see these components, but you’ll see the positive results.

Beginning research activities in 2003, ENrG was a little early with their technology so research grants became their funding source. Starting with their initial grant of $300k when they started, they have received 10 more grants for a total investment of $4.86 million.

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James Gaskin

About James Gaskin


James writes books, articles, and jokes about technology, and consults for those who don't read his books and articles.

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