Auto app wins Buffalo’s $5M biz contest

Buffalo’s ACV Auctions was the grand prize winner of this year’s 43North business plan competition, which bills itself as the richest biz contest in the world.

And maybe it is: ACV won $1 million, with another $4 million going to top winners, including three Canadian firms that have agreed to move to Buffalo for the minimum one-year stay stipulated by the rules. Other winners are from Israel, Virginia and Boston.

ACV is a live wholesale marketplace for dealer-only automobile auctions. Conducted via a smartphone application, ACV creates round-the-clock liquidity for wholesale inventory, including trade-ins and new cars that never moved. An intuitive five minute registration process requires only a few photos and a brief vehicle description, before putting the vehicle in front of thousands of registered buyers.

Other winners include:

CleanSlate

Prize: $500,000
Hometown:
 Toronto
Industry: Healthcare
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

Prize: $500,000
Hometown: 
North Tonawanda
Industry: Biotechnology
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

Prize: $500,000
Hometown: 
Boston
Industry: Healthcare
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.

Painless1099

Prize: $500,000
Hometown: 
Richmond
Industry: Computer Services
Painless1099 helps independent contractors (think: freelance designers and real estate agents) save for tax season. Through a smart bank account, Painless1099 automatically withholds taxes based on user information and then deposits what is safe to spend directly into a user’s personal checking account.

UMA Bioseed

Prize: $500,000
Hometown:
 Ithaca
Industry: Agriculture
Uma Bioseed has developed a patented, enzyme-based, and organic seed-treatment solution that protects agricultural seeds from pathogens (virus, bacteria and fungus) both on and around the seed during its critical germination phase, enabling the possibility of significantly enhanced crop yields and greater food security.

Talkit

Prize: $500,000
Hometown: 
Jersualem
Industry: Education
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.

CoachMePlus

Prize: $250,000
Hometown: 
Buffalo
Industry: 
Computer Services
CoachMePlus manages data that coaches and athletes use to optimize athletic performance. Athletic teams at all levels use the system to track athlete health, manage workouts, and improve game day readiness. Our NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA and NCAA clients illustrate our ability to support athletes, coaches, and front office personnel.

GetGems

Prize: $250,000
Hometown: 
Tel Aviv
Industry: Consumer Products
GetGems is the first digital currency startups to link mobile payments on the blockchain with a social networking platform. Unlike other messaging apps that offer payment functionality, GetGems reaches beyond those currently banked to those without a bank account or debit card. Blockchain technology enables this transfer of value.

Plum

Prize: $250,000
Hometown: 
Waterloo, Canada (home of Blackberry)
Industry: Computer Services
Plum is a turn-key Cloud software solution using modern behavioral science + predictive analytics to instantly identify high potential applicants for success & fit. The results are scientifically matched up to the employers’ needs, for each role, creating an invaluable shortlist. You know your company. Plum reveals the greatness in candidates.

Prize: $250,000
Hometown: 
Toronto
Industry: Internet/Ecommerce
Qoints aggregates digital marketing data. Less than 25% of brand marketers use data to justify decision making – Qoints helps brands and agencies evaluate the performance of their digital campaigns by comparing against industry benchmarks.

Alternate winners, in case one of the above ultimately refuses to move to Buffalo, include:

Toronto’s Infonaut, a health care startup that saves lives by preventing hospital acquired infections, which kill more people annually than breast cancer and car accidents combined.

Baltimore-based PathoVax, which has developed a next-generation HPV vaccine that covers all cervical cancer-causing HPV types at lower costs, addressing the imperfections of the $2 billion U.S. market and overseas regions lacking access to Pap screening that results in more than 500,000 deaths each year.

43North also provides a year’s worth of incubator space for winners, who also agree to give the program warrants worth 5 percent of equity that can be exercised at any time over the following 10 years.